Soon, Christmas is coming! It’s time for the last minute meal preparations. Hosting a holiday meal can seem overwhelming. You can make a great meal quickly with a few simple tips. These ideas will help you make a meal that tastes good without wasting your time with unnecessary steps. Check out some tips that have made a big difference for me this year.

5 Tips for a Quick Holiday Meal

1.) Buy an awesome food box.

Skip the long lines in the grocery stores this holiday season. Food boxes can provide everything you need to cook a full meal. Buy a food box that ships ingredients so you can save time in the grocery store.  Recently, I tried out the Hello Fresh Food Box, and I was so impressed. The food arrived packaged in three separate boxes for each of the three meals. Cooking with high quality ingredients made a huge difference. I prepared a teryaki sauce from scratch with chicken and coconut rice, a ciabatta burger and arugula salad with homemade salad dress, and a flatbread with Brie and fig preserve with arugula. My whole family was impressed. You can check out my experiences with the food box on my Instagram account. This food box made enough food for all four people in my family. It was so simple to have the ingredients delivered to my door, and I was really happy with the quality of the ingredients.

5 Tips for a Quick Holiday Meal - Featuring @hellofreshusa - at Theresa's Reviews - #cooking #meals #food #holidays

2.) Purchase pre-made desserts.

Baking desserts can be incredibly time consuming. Instead of baking a multiple layer cake with homemade icing, buy one at the store. To appeal to everyone in your family, Inspired by Happiness gluten-free, three layer cakes. The taste is incredible. I tried out four cakes, and I was very satisfied. Each layer was soft, and the icing had just the right amount of sweetness. I have a hard time picking a favorite flavor because they all taste so good. Bake your trademark holiday cookies, but leave the multiple layer cake to the professionals. You’ll save a lot of time, and you won’t mind at all when you’re eating a truly delicious cake.

5 Tips for a Quick Holiday Meal - Featuring Inspired by Happiness cakes - at Theresa's Reviews - #cooking #meals #food #holidays #glutenfree

3.) Bake simple recipes that only use a couple ingredients.

Skip the gourmet-inspired recipes that call for many ingredients. For appetizers, cook dishes that only require a couple ingredients to save time. For a simple homemade dessert treat, use Crunchies mixed fruit to make a delicious chocolate berry bark. Check out a recipe from A Taste of Dawn Magazine. First, you melt the chocolate in a double boiler so it won’t burn. Then, pour it on a non-stick surface, like parchment paper. After smoothing the chocolate out, add the freeze-dried fruit. When the dessert cools, the result is delicious! My kids love eating the mixed fruit by iteslf, so this is an easy recipe to toss together for company.

5 Tips for a Quick Holiday Meal - Featuring @crunchiesfood - at Theresa's Reviews - #cooking #meals #food #holidays

4.) Use the ingredients you already have in the cupboard.

Cook with what you already own. This will save you time at the store. We always have some Crunchmaster crackers in our cupboard. Remember when I wrote a review of the crackers in my Smart Snack Ideas for Summer article? I’ve been hooked ever since. It turns out that you can make some awesome appetizers with their crackers, like mini cheese balls, and desserts, such as cranberry tarts. When I plan my grocery shopping list, I start with what I already own, and I write down everything else I need. The food in my cupboard is a huge inspiration for my cooking.

5 Tips for a Quick Holiday Meal - Featuring Crunchmaster crackers - at Theresa's Reviews - #cooking #meals #food #holidays

5.) When baking, use pre-made mixes instead of baking from scratch.

If you are going to bake, make a simple recipe that comes from a mix. Every minute counts during the holidays. With a mix, you can bake a quality treat in less time. You can even find mixes for Paleo treats, like Chocolate Chip Cookies from Simple Mills. The taste is very authentic, and the mix is easy to make. You can also make Pumpkin Muffins, are Paleo friendly, dairy free, and gluten free. I’ve made a lot of Paleo meals from scratch, and I’ve found that the amount of ingredients needed can be overwhelming. These mixes make baking for people with varied diet requirements simple.

5 Tips for a Quick Holiday Meal - Featuring @simplemills - at Theresa's Reviews - #cooking #meals #food #holidays

What are your tips for making a quick holiday meal? Share below in the comments!


I received a free item, but it in no way affected my opinion!

About The Author


Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

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19 Responses

  1. Hannah

    Using simple recipes is always the way to go. I do like throwing out the mixes and premade stuff though and doing simple recipes from whole natural ingredients

  2. Huub Ricardo

    I’m not a great cook, but when I invite people over, I do love to prepare the foods. So I find the baking with little ingredients to be perfect for me. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. Melissande

    My mother in law does paleo and I always have to think about that when she is coming. I try to cook healthy, but a lot of the time I feel like I forget certain aspects of the diet. I had no clue that there are mixes geared towards Paleo. So glad to know this!

    • theresa

      So glad to be able to help! Paleo is such a hard diet for that reason, but these mixes make it really simple! I’m excited to use the pizza mix to make a flatbread this week. If it’s anything like the cookies, it’s going to be great. 🙂

  4. Bev

    Great tips! I wouldn’t have thought to buy a food box to make a holiday meal, but I imagine it can save a ton of time! I also like the idea of making food with just a few ingredients. I made oreo truffles the other day that taste super decadent but only require three ingredients.

    • theresa

      I know, I wouldn’t have either, but it’s a huge help during the holiday season. Plus, it would make a great gift for a busy family.

  5. Susannah

    These are some REALLY great tips! Anything to make the holidays easier, right? I might have to look into a food box like you mentioned in the first point!

    • theresa

      I can’t wait to order from the company again! They’ve got some great coupons for a certain amount off on the first purchase, so I think I’ll try one of those for my next order.

  6. Sara

    I love these ideas! Buying premade desserts can really save time. Starting a dessert with a mix is also a great time saver!

  7. Leslie Soto

    These are all great ideas! I love the idea of getting a food box! I’d never thought of that before. I try to make everything from scratch and usually end up stressing over everything getting done in time!

  8. Samantha

    It’s so easy to get carried away and make a huge giant meal from scratch, but then you end up spending all day in the kitchen missing out on all the fun. Thanks for the great tips!

  9. Kelly

    That certainly helps make things quicker and easier! I’ve heard of Hello Fresh but haven’t tried it yet!

  10. Elanor

    Great tips, my old flat mate used to get a vegetable box delivered by a local farmer every two weeks, but I’d never really considered it before 🙂


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