White Bean and Pumpkin Bisque with Sage PestoStart with canned pumpkin (for rich, smooth flavor) and canned white beans (for body), and you end up with a speedy first course that's crowned with a flavor-packed pesto. Make the soup a few days ahead, but do the pesto only shortly before serving so its color stays vibrant.
Slow-Cooker Blood Orange Fizzy Mulled WineThe slow cooker offers great convenience here, keeping the stovetop open for meal prep. Pouring the soda into the hot wine right at the time of service brings the temperature down enough to drink immediately. Change out the orange slices for fresh when serving to punch up the look.
Cranberry-Orange RelishIn place of traditional cranberry sauce, try a faster relish. The flavor is bright, crisp, not too sweet, and ideal with turkey and trimmings. Make up to 3 days ahead.
Sweet and Sour Brussels Sprout SaladWe love Brussels sprout salads but wanted a quicker approach than the tedium of pulling apart the leaves. The food processor slices each sprout nice and thin with lightning-fast speed.
Browned-Butter RollsUse store-bought refrigerated bread dough to make pretty knotted rolls that you can gussy up with your favorite toppings.
Creamed Spinach Phyllo Cups
Turn a beloved side dish into a cute and savory appetizer. Frozen phyllo shells speed prep time, as does bagged baby spinach (rather than frozen). Toasting the phyllo cups keeps them crisp longer after being filled.
Brie with Jeweled Fruit Compote
This lovely appetizer is about as quick and easy as it gets--as tasty, too. You don't even need to let the cheese come to room temperature first; the warm fruit that goes on top will soften it up. Serve with crostini or crackers.
Easy, Cheesy Potato GratinRerigerated presliced potatoes slash tons of prep and cook time. The combo of Gruyère and Parm-Regg cheeses is delicious, but you can use all one type if you prefer.
Carrot-Apple Spice Cake with Browned-Butter GlazeWe challenged ourselves to come up with a showstopping dessert that uses boxed cake mix as a starting point--and we succeeded. Fresh carrot and apple plus a splash of bourbon boost the flavor of the layers, while the browned-butter glaze is, well, the wildly delicious icing on the cake.
Make-Ahead Layered SaladPrechopped veggies and precooked bacon and eggs help you pull this charmingly retro dish together in a flash. You can assemble the salad, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
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