Christmas is all about tradition, but that doesn’t mean cooking the same exact meal each year, or making complicated recipes.  Easy recipes are sometimes just as gourmet and delicious as complex recipes.

Here are some easy recipes and easy ideas adapted from my interview with the Green Bay Press Gazette. You can read the article here, or you can click on the links to see the easy recipes or find out where to buy ingredients.

Be creative with appetizers. To avoid grumpy and ravenous dinner guests its a good idea to have some pre-dinner snacks.  One of my favorite easy recipes is to put out some jarred cranberry chutney (like Wilderness Cranberry Chutney), cheese (goat cheese or brie work well here), and some crackers .  It tastes gourmet but its super easy, and you can use the chutney in place of cranberry sauce so it covers two bases at once (less work!).

Add a twist to old recipes. For a truly Wisconsin holiday meal, try adding bratwurst to your stuffing, or instead of pumpkin pie, try a pumpkin trifle (click for recipes).

Give the bird a makeover.  One of’s most popular items for the holidays is the smoked turkey.  It tastes a bit different from a roasted turkey, but it is easier to prepare because it is pre-cooked.  All you have to do is warm it up, or you can even serve it cold.  If you are feeling adventureous you can try smoked duck or pheasant instead.

Trying new dishes at the holidays can be fun for hosts and guests alike.  Friends and family will be impressed with a host that tries new dishes. Who knows, you might discover an easy recipe so good that it becomes a new tradition.