With the constant flurry of tree trimming, gift wrapping and cookie swapping going on this month, the added task of preparing a big holiday dinner can quickly become overwhelming. Take some of the stress out of the season with the help of these easy appetizers that take just 10 minutes to prepare or assemble. Start off with Food Network Magazine’s colorful Walnut-Pepper Spread, which balances earthy toasted walnuts and roasted red peppers with honey and a pinch of red pepper flakes for subtly sweet heat. As an added holiday bonus, this dip can even be made a day in advance and refrigerated.
Watercress Salad with Dried Fruit and Almonds: For a fresh last-minute starter, Tyler tosses hand-torn watercress in a simple red-wine vinaigrette before topping it with tangy dried cranberries and toasted almonds.
Spicy Potato Chips: Dress up a store-bought bag of plain chips by sprinkling them with chili powder, paprika and ground mustard and baking them for a few minutes until fragrant.
Spinach-Ricotta Dip: Whirl a box of frozen spinach in the food processor along with garlic, ricotta and toasted pine nuts for a flavorful dip that’s ready in a flash.
Pistachio Cannoli Bruschetta: For holiday guests with a pre-dinner sweet tooth, try serving this vanilla-laced ricotta spread over baguette toasts with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and shaved chocolate.