At the Table: Easy entertaining

Christmastime in the kitchen shouldn’t be a chore. Try these dishes that utilize simple combinations of complimentary ingredients for hassle-free holiday entertaining.

Recipes by Alex Ugolini | Photography by Brandy Angel

Honey Feta cubes

  • Block of Feta, cubed (substitute aged white sharp cheddar if you’re not a fan of feta.)
  • Pistachios, chopped finely
  • Honey

Dip cubes of feta in honey, allowing excess to drip off. Roll and coat with finely chopped pistachios. Add tooth picks, if desired, and garnish with chopped red bell peppers and flat Italian parsley (optional).

Zucchini Fritters

  • 2 medium zucchinis
  • 3 oz. cheese (I prefer Pecorino for this. Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano are fine equivalents.)
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Panko Crumbs (substitute gluten-free and this whole recipe becomes gluten free)
  • ½ TBS course ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 of shallot, chopped finely
  • 2 green onions, chopped finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped finely

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 roasted jalapeno or chopped pickled jalapeno (if you’re not into the spice, substitute green onion.)

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees. Cut and remove seeds from jalapeno as oven approaches 300. Place jalapeno on a small baking sheet or piece of tinfoil. Remove from oven once blistered. Mix yogurt, olive oil, and chopped jalapenos (or green onions) to finish dipping sauce. Grate zucchini and squeeze dry with paper towels. Grate pecorino and transfer both to a mixing bowl. Add egg, panko, shallots, green onions, garlic and pepper and mix it all up. (If you’re not a fan of garlic and onions, this recipe will work without them.) Place 2-3 oz. portions of mixture on a greased baking sheet and flatten. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until they are a delicious golden brown.

Cranberry Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground pork extra lean
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (sub gluten-free and this whole recipes becomes gluten-free)
  •  2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 small onion,  chopped finely
  • 1 small onion,  chopped finely
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • 3 green onions, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste


  • 2 1/2 cups cranberry sauce, homemade or store bought
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 TBS brown sugar, packed
  • 1  lemon, freshly juiced
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • course black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and combine all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well. Form the mixture into medium or large sized meatballs. I like to use a 1 oz. portion scoop. You should end up with about 30 or so meatballs for cocktail size, 20 or so for a dinner meatball. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees). While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet add all the sauce ingredients, stir and cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Turn down the heat and stir in the meatballs. Cook until heated through. Garnish with parsley or green onions

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