If you’re anything like me, you’ll skip the potatoes this year at the holiday table and head straight to what counts: The appetizers and desserts. I’d rather pile my plate high with those than fill up on pasta salad and stuffing, any day.

There’s just one problem: I love to eat, and I enjoy putting out a good spread for my family and friends, but I hate standing over a hot stove and cooking all day. With that in mind, I’ve curated a list of delectable delights that are incredibly easy to create — no real culinary skills required.

Easy Appetizers for Your Holiday Table

Here are my favorite go-to appetizers when I’m hosting a party:

  • Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

All you need is thick-cut bacon, a can of water chestnuts, and toothpicks. Wrap a half slice of bacon around a water chestnut, pin it in place with the toothpick, put them in a dish. Bake at 350 degrees in the oven until the bacon is crisp – and yum!

  • Roasted Garlic Parmesan Shrimp

Start with a bag of medium-sized shrimp, tails on, and toss them in a mix comprised of about two tablespoons of olive oil, 4 minced cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of dried basil, and ¼ cup of grated Parmesan. Put them on a non-stick baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 340 until the shrimp are firm and pink (about 9 minutes).

Simple Holiday Desserts You Can Share

My favorite holiday desserts are the kind you can eat a handful at a time and share, including:

  • Chocolate-Peppermint Popcorn Munch

You need plain, unbuttered popcorn to start, a handful of crushed peppermint candies or sticks, and some chocolate to make this work. Spread wax paper out on the table, and spread out the popcorn. Sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (slowly) and pour over the popcorn. Stir to thoroughly mix. Add more salted popcorn once the chocolate hardens and you’ll have a delightful snack.

  • White-Chocolate Oreo Fudge: 

If the idea of making fudge scares you, relax. This no-bake recipe is very easy. Take one, a softened package of cream cheese, mix in four cups of confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon of colorless vanilla extract, and 12 ounces of white chocolate chips (melted). Beat until smooth. Add a couple of handfuls of crushed Oreos, stir, and chill. Once it sets, you can cut out bite-sized pieces.

That’s it! You now know my secrets, and I hope you’ll enjoy them with your family over this holiday season.

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