Oh, how I love the holidays. No doubt, some of the best holiday memories revolve around food and like many families, we go big. So big that we have leftovers for a week. But at least the food is delicious enough that we don’t mind eating it for a week!
Today, I want to help you make holiday memories easy, right from the heart of the home – the kitchen. I have a couple of super simple recipes that are perfect for any occasion and so easy, I guarantee you’ll add them to your holiday menus.
~This post is sponsored by McCormick®, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.~
During the holidays, many of our family memories are made in the kitchen. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years. All 3 generations are in and out of the kitchen working on, and sampling, our favorite holiday recipes.
Since I was a kid, McCormick® has always had a presence in my home. Just look at this snippet from my spice cabinet. And that’s just what I found on the bottom shelf!
So, I find no better way to kick off holiday cooking, than a trip to Walmart to make sure McCormick® “makes it home” for the holidays. First, I check my cabinets, because as you can see, McCormick® needs its own shelf in my house. I make a list of what I need to stock up on and then head around the corner to Walmart to pick up the McCormick® herbs, spices, extracts, and gravy mixes I’m missing.
I already know everything McCormick® is located on Walmart’s spice aisle, and as soon as I turn the corner, it’s easy to spot exactly where. It’s near impossible to miss the bright red labels.
What does this have to do with holiday memories made easy? Because so many holiday memories are made in the kitchen, I’m going to share with you 2 ridiculously easy recipes that require minimal ingredients. And while the ingredients may be minimal, their flavors are outrageous. I’m telling you…if you make these recipes over the holidays, there will be nothing but smiles in your holiday memories.
About those minimal ingredients…
On my most recent trip to Walmart, the only McCormick® products I needed to pick up for the 2 recipes I’m about to share, were McCormick® Rubbed Sage and McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract. And because McCormick® spices are always in alphabetical order, it was easy to find the exact ones I was looking for.
Ready to dive into those recipes? Let’s do it!
Considering most families already have their favorite traditional holiday entrees and side dishes, I thought I’d share with you an easy appetizer or snack. Waiting until dinner to enjoy all of the amazing flavors, is the hardest part of holiday cooking. Why not please the crowd with something while they wait? Plus, it will keep those pesky family members who pick at and snack on the food while it’s cooking, out of the kitchen.
Gooey Garlic & Sage Baked Brie
One appetizer that the adults in my family really enjoy is my Gooey Garlic & Sage Baked Brie. The kids aren’t the biggest fans because of the advanced flavors, but it’s still a huge hit at family gatherings nonetheless. With just 3 ingredients and 15 minutes of bake time, this recipe will easily hold everyone over until dinner’s ready.
- 1 Brie Round
- 1 tsp of minced garlic
- 1 tsp of McCormick® Sage (Rubbed or Ground)
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Completely unpackage the Brie and place it in the middle of the aluminum foil.
- Using a knife, score the top rind of the Brie into a crosshatch pattern. Add the garlic to the top of the Brie, pushing some down into the score marks. Use the knife to slightly open up the score marks if you need to. Repeat this with the McCormick® Sage, sprinkling it overtop and into the score marks of the Brie.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving dish, and serve warm with crackers or crostini.
Sage is one of those flavors that I feel doesn’t get the attention it deserves and I couldn’t imagine my Brie without it. I absolutely adore this Gooey Garlic & Sage Baked Brie, and personally, I love getting pieces of the top rind. Yes, don’t forget you can eat the rind! That extra garlic and sage flavor melted to the top makes all the difference.
Now that we have an appetizer covered, how about a dessert?
Creamy No-Bake Vanilla Cherry Cheesecake
With all of the baking and cooking that happens during the holidays, I find it necessary to have some sort of no-bake recipe. The kitchen is already hot enough from the stove and oven. Not to mention, every dish we serve during the holidays is hot, maybe with the exception of dessert. Well, certainly with the exception of this dessert – Creamy No-Bake Vanilla Cherry Cheesecake.
Cheesecake is my favorite dessert of all time. I don’t need a reason to make a cheesecake (hello, inner Golden Girl), but if you’re the type of person who has to justify it, then the holidays are all the reason you need.
- 1 box of graham crackers (you’ll need about 20 sheets total)
- 2 Tbsp of sugar
- 1 cup of butter (melted)
- 16 oz. packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
- 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp of McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 21 oz. can of cherry pie filling/topping
- Using a food processor, finely crush the graham crackers. Pour them into a medium sized mixing bowl, and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix until everything is well-incorporated.
- Dump the graham cracker mixture into a 9” springform pan. Press the graham cracker mixture 2” up the sides of the pan and all across the bottom. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- While the crust is setting, using a mixer, beat the cream cheese into a smooth texture. Slowly mix in the sweetened condensed milk and lastly, the McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pan and spread it evenly over the graham cracker crust.
- Cover with clear wrap or aluminum foil, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I like to make mine the day before we plan to have family over, that way I know it’s good and ready.
- Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and add the cherry topping. Serve cold.
I’ll tell you now, this Creamy No-Bake Vanilla Cherry Cheesecake is not firm like traditional cheesecake. Instead, it has a melt in your mouth, creamy goodness.
Not a fan of cherries? You can easily leave the cheesecake as-is. The vanilla flavor is so perfect, it really doesn’t need anything else. I happened to grow up with cherry cheesecake, so those tart little red berries almost always go on mine.
You could also try adding strawberry topping or even fresh fruit. Whichever direction you take, everyone’s going to love it – so long as you share. Like I said, cheesecake is my favorite and I don’t need a reason to make one, but when I do, I have a hard time sharing.
If you’re looking for some new recipes to try during the holidays this year, these are the ones! I guarantee if you make them for Thanksgiving, everyone is going to ask for them at Christmas. Lucky for you, there’s nothing better than crowd pleasing recipes that are quick and easy on your end.
And if you didn’t already know, I try to share family recipes as often as possible. The kitchen is where many family memories are made, after all. To be one of the first to know when a new recipe has been posted, be sure to join the Making Time for Memories Community.
Will McCormick® “make it home” for your holiday celebrations?
*This is a sponsored post on behalf of McCormick®. As always, opinions are still 100% my own and in no way influenced by the brand. Any claims or statistics should be confirmed with the brand. Please see this blog’s full policies and disclosure here.