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The Ultimate Holiday Planner: Recipes, Cocktails, Party Ideas and More...

The Ultimate Holiday Planner: Recipes, Cocktails, Party Ideas and More...

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Looking to plan a themed-holiday party, family dinner or a cocktail party this season? Instead of searching the web for hours, find everything you could ever need right here, in one place. We have cocktail recipes with blood orange and tequila or a Japanese twist on the classic hot toddy. Need simple roasts, healthy sides, or even breakfast ideas for Christmas morning? We've got that too. Everything from appetizers to desserts and more, with recipes for novice and advanced cooks. And, not to exclude anyone during the holidays, find raw, vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian recipes as well.

It's all here in The Daily Meal's Ultimate Holiday Planner.

Happy Holidays!

Appetizers and Salads

Sweet balsamic balances the naturally bitter radicchio that softens when grilled. Wonderful as an appetizer salad or served alongside grilled meat.

A citrusy vinaigrette coats the shaved, tender pieces of brussels sprouts while the marcona almonds give a buttery crunch to each bite.

These light-weight appetizers are a great party snack.

An easy salsa from Colman Andrews that's great as a dip or on nachos.

For the more adventurous eater, try this tender tartare with crisp crackers.

A light and refreshing herb salad with a classic French bistro dressing.

Anita Lo's simple salad with crispy duck and hot dressing.

A great health salad with radicchio, prunes, dates, cabbage, herbs and other dried fruit.

A quick, crowd-pleasing salad for a starter or even a side dish.

A simple and creamy salad from the queen of local fresh food.


The perfect soup for cold, winter nights that's loaded with vegetables.

Smoky flavors, sweet apple and hard cider make this an ideal winter soup.

Slightly sweet parsnips, pureed with onion, celery root, fennel and thickened with pasta makes a great appetizer or main course with a hearty loaf of bread.

A seasonal soup that uses firm French lentils that won't soften or become mush when cooked.

A vegetable-packed chili recipe that's great for a crowd.

Classic French onion soup from a Paris-based cook.

Main dishes

As nights get colder, deeply-flavored foods like prunes and bacon blend together beautifully with the bright, piney-flavor of berries.

A hearty main dish for a holiday dinner served with some of the sides below.

The dark beer infuses the apples with its bitter-sweetness while the apples and pear add a sweet component that works perfectly with the fatty flavor of the pork chops.

Hedgehog Mushroom and Turkey Pot Pie
A hearty and comforting twist on traditional chicken pot pie.

A vegetarian main dish that zucchini and eggplant haters will love.

Kid-friendly and parent-approved, this dish works well as a weeknight meal or a holiday dinner centerpiece.

An 1874 recipe from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser that still works today.

Instead of just roasting butternut squash, turn it into a great vegetarian pasta with these nutty, fresh flavors.

A wonderful and tasty healthy main course from Chef Nikki Cascone.

Perfect for a large group or holiday party, these well-spiced and silky scallops will be a hit.

Fresh, fun and perfect for a group dinner.

A moist and flavorful roast chicken from the New Iron Chef.

Halibut with Tomato-Jalapeno Salsa

An easy, delicate fish that pairs beautifully with the cooked tomatoes.

Side dishes

Much easier than they look, this rich and creamy dish is perfect with thick, toasted bread.

Flavorful and packed full of nutrients, this dish works wonderfully with cooked vegetables and meats.

A warming and filling dish that uses sparkling instead of still for a twist on classic risotto.

A hearty winter dish that's a good alternative to creamed spinach.

A perfect winter accompaniment to any meal.

An easy side dish that's perfect for the holidays, or year round with roasted chicken or fish.

A seasonal side brightend with red pomegranate seeds.

Gluten-free holiday bread from Elana Amsterdam.


A crunchy and sugary crisp that's great right out of the oven with some cold ice cream on top.

Erin Swing worked hard to develop this delicious gluten-free pudding that's a sweet end to a great meal.

A holiday favorite with thick, creamy frosting from Boston's Flour Bakery + Café.

For coconut lovers and key lime pie aficionados, this is the ulitmate dessert.

Colorful candied-treats on a stick are great for cocktail parties and kids love them.

A soothing end to a meal with the densely-rich flavor of prunes contrasted with the sweet, creaminess of mascarpone.

It almost doesn't get better than this: the rich chocolate-hazelnut spread mixed into the cookie batter and baked.

Decadent chocolate cake topped with a childhood favorite: sticky, sweet marshmallows.

A creamy, nutty dessert with crunchy hazelnuts and espresso-infused cream.

A classic French cake with gently-whipped vanilla-kissed cream and fresh strawberries.

The next time you can't decide between dessert and a cocktail, make one of these spiked treats.


A fizzy sunset-red cocktail that will make your mouth tingle.

A bright, invigorating cocktail to snap you out of the winter blues.

A warm seasonal cocktail that's perfect for this time of year.

A sweet, creamy cocktail with brandy and dark crème de cacao

Inspired by the Cosmopolitan, this refreshing electric-green cocktail has savory dill for an earthy kick.

A classic hot chocolate is spiced up with cinnamon sticks and vanilla.

A seasonal flip from PDT bartender Jim Meehan.

John deBary used bright elderflower liqueur, bitter amaro and pear-infused Cognac as savory, bittersweet accents in his Peruvian Pisco-based cobbler featuring the seasons’ final fruit.

Always great for a crowd, this sake version is no exception.

A creamy, peppermint cocktail made with Godiva's chocolate raspberry vodka.

The Japanese version of a hot toddy is made with a good-quality sake that warms your insides.

Christmas Morning

A crispy, sweet breakfast from Chef Laurent Tourondel.

Raw pancakes that can be eaten anytime of day.

A healthier version of buttery blueberry scones.

A light vegetable-filled frittata makes a filling breakfast.

A perfect way to use your overripe bananas in this delicious breakfast bread.

A simple and filling omelette with creamy California avocados.

Party Ideas

Dig up your red velvet jackets, that itchy, green reindeer sweater and encourage your friends to do the same for this ugly sweater-themed party.

Make some spicy or sweet treats for you guests, depending on whether they’ve been naughty or nice, while you play a mean game of Dirty Santa (a.ka. Yankee Swap).

The 12 days Christmas translated into 12 dishes? Sounds like the perfect potluck party.

Cut, bake and decorate cookies with your friends, then have a neutral partygoer judge the winner for a special prize!

Happy Holidays!!


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