Skip to Content

Healthy Kitchen Hacks #30 – Holiday Entertaining Shortcuts

Healthy Kitchen Hacks #30 – Holiday Entertaining Shortcuts

*Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses * Easy Way to Clean Stuck-On Pans * Santa Tomatoes * Wonton Appetizer/Dessert Cups * Roast Winter Fruit *

Continuing with the theme of homemade holiday (without the hassle), this week’s Healthy Kitchen Hacks serves up 5 shotcuts for holiday entertaining. I love attending and planning parties this time of year – even if they’re as low-key as tea and cookies with friends – while the kids make graham cracker gingerbread houses in the other room.

And it’s not too late! If you’re still planning to do a few DIY presents, check out Deanna’s 5 Healthy Kitchen Hacks for easy homemade foodie gifts …all of which are made with 3 ingredients or less! (And if you are a baker, don’t miss our previous Baking Edition of Healthy Kitchen Hacks to save time in the kitchen.)

1) The Trick to Making Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses Stick
via Risa @Restless Risa

The Easy Trick for Making Graham Cracker Gingerbread Houses to Stick #HealthyKitchenHacks | @TspCurry

Graham cracker gingerbread houses sound like a simple idea. Until you try to get all those crumbly corners to stick together. I’ve tried all the tricks to make them stick: Homemade icing, purchased frosting, even glue gunning them to little milk cartons.

But this caramel ‘glue’ from Risa actually works – even though that bubbling pot of caramel looks a little scary at first. It’s not. It’s actually really fun working with the molten sugar – that turns to cement. But the best part: It’s not only edible, it’s yummy.

2) The Easy (and Safe) Way to Clean Stuck-On Pans
via @The Kitchn and @Stain Removal 101

#HealthyKitchenHacks - The Easy Way to Clean Pots Using Baking Soda

If you make candy or caramel (like for the gingerbread houses) this trick from TheKitchn for cleaning molten sugar caramel out of your pot is magic – and just uses water!

And for cleaning burnt-on-black or goopy-anything, you will need this from StainRemoval101 at least once during this holiday season of washing dishes. I originally learned it from my mom – and thus, (despite several sticky situations) I have the same pots I received for my wedding 15 year ago. Plus, no chemicals are used; only ingestible baking soda.

3) How to Roast Winter Fruit
via Min @The Adventures of MJ & Hungryman


Min gives a simple equation in her how-to post on roasting winter fruit:  Roasted citrus = nutrient-packed candy! These colorful fruit – including clementines and grapefruit in Min’s photo above, along with kiwi and grapes – turn out chewy and beautiful. They are perfect for tucking into a plate of homemade treats or for a holiday cookie exchange. I set out a plate of roasted lemons for tea served to friends.

And for a sweet gift for PB & J lovers, make Deanna’s Honey Roasted Grapes with Peanut Butter Granola.

4) Make Wonton Appetizer/Dessert Cups
via Katie @Healthy Seasonal Recipes

#HealthyKitchenHacks - How To Make Wonton Appetizer/Dessert Cups | @TspCurry

Katie’s post is a great how-to tutorial. I’m bringing her Wonton Appetizer/Dessert Cups to my daughter’s class for her birthday treat. My little girl’s birthday falls just days before Christmas vacation when kids are sugar saturated. And moms are frazzled. No worries. These take like 6 minutes to shape and 9 minutes to bake 24-48 cups.

For the kids’ class treat, I’ll fill with yogurt and top with red berries and green kiwi and call it a ‘Fruit Tart.’ (The test run – pictured above – was a hit as an afterschool snack!) Katie has beautiful pics of the cups with savory appetizer fillings.

5) Last Minute Appetizer: Santa 
via @ALDI

How to Make Tomato Santas | @TspCurry

I saved this ALDI recipe flyer from 2014. And it came in handy when I needed a last minute party appetizer. But I simplified the original Tomato Santas. Here are my adaptions:

Any entertaining shortcuts you have? How are you getting by with less hassle and frazzle? Please share – we’re always looking for ideas! HoHoHO!

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House Tips #HealthyKitchenHacks | @TspCurry

GiGi Eats

Thursday 17th of December 2015

Love those little Santa Appetizers!! ha ha!

Serena Ball

Thursday 17th of December 2015

Thanks GiGi! They are the 'funnest' to make. (:


Thursday 17th of December 2015

You know I've never made a gingerhouse before. Never! I hear it's pretty fun and stressful at the same time ;). Thank you so much for including my roasted citrus! I'm just loving those tomato santas!! Will def take it to my upcoming Christmas party ;)

Serena Ball

Thursday 17th of December 2015

LOVE your roasted citrus. (Although, one time when I made them, I told the kids I was making citrus candy. When I took them out of the oven, my 3 y old said, "That doesn't look like candy!" She was expecting colorful candy wrappers! Sidenote: She did like chewing on the orange wheels!)


Thursday 17th of December 2015

Thanks for sharing these terrific ideas that make life around the holidays easier. Love the Santa appetizers and I am motivated to roast some winter fruit!

Serena Ball

Thursday 17th of December 2015

Thanks Diane. Will you be having holiday celebrations on the beach? That's what I picture when I think of Cape Fear!


Wednesday 16th of December 2015

The gingerbread house hack is genius - I will be trying it out next year! And the roasted winter fruit looks so good - I have never thought to roast fruit. I think my hubby and toddler would love it!

Serena Ball

Wednesday 16th of December 2015

Let us know how your family likes the roasted citrus. One note - when I made the roasted lemons for tea - I did sprinkle a little sugar on them. They made the tea extra special!

Comments are closed.