29 Recipes to make before December is over

Dec 19, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. ET

With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, picking up the phone for delivery or hitting up the drive-thru on the way home seems a whole lot easier than cooking. But I promise, if you can muster the energy to spend a little time in the kitchen, our favorite recipes from December will not disappoint. From dreamy, creamy, cheesy comfort food to luscious treats, they're worth the effort.

Breakfast

1. Apple-gingerbread pancakes recipe

apple gingerbread pancakes

Fluffy pancakes with a hint of seasonal gingerbread? I'd get out of bed for that.

2. Homemade blackstrap molasses bread recipe

homemade molasses bread

This molasses bread is ready in under an hour. It would probably take me that long to put my pants on and drive to the bakery. So... no more excuses about making homemade bread.

3. Baked mini frittatas with peas and ricotta recipe

mini frittatas

Flipping a huge frittata is scary. Avoid the angst with these adorable mini versions.

Snacks, lunch, appetizers

4. Cheese board tostadas with fig jam recipe

cheese board tostadas

All your favorite cheese board accoutrements, piled high on a tostada for a perfectly easy gourmet lunch.

5. Quince and red currant jam recipe

quince jam

Stop walking by the quince at the farmers market. This jam could be in your future.

6. Kiwi caipiroska salad recipe

kiwi boozy fruit salad

This boozy fruit salad version of the classic Brazilian cocktail, the caipiroska, looks like my new favorite way to kiwi.

7. Mini chicken and waffle bites recipe

chicken and waffles

That perfect combination of sweet, salty and savory: chicken and waffle bites. And you can eat way more because they're miniature, right? Right.

Soups

8. Gnocchi chicken soup recipe

gnocchi chicken soup

Substituting gnocchi for noodles in classic chicken soup sounds like a great idea to me.

9. Homemade SpaghettiOs soup recipe

homemade spaghettios soup

Homemade SpaghettiOs? Kids today have it good.

10. Spicy Asian chicken noodle soup recipe

asian chicken soup

I would like to put in my order for a huge bowl of this spicy chicken soup next time I'm sick. Thanks.

11. Black bean and sausage slow cooker chili recipe

slow cooker chili

For 15 minutes of prep time, you get to come home to this hearty bowl of chili.

Sides

12. Sautéed fennel, clementines and pistachios recipe

sauteed fennel salad

If you got suckered into buying that 90-pound bag of clementines and don't know what to do with them, it's this.

13. Bourbon and browned butter garlic mashed potatoes recipe

brown butter bourbon mashed potatoes

Bourbon, browned butter, roasted garlic? The only thing that could possibly make these mashed potatoes any better is bacon. But then, I might have a slight bacon problem.

Dinner

14. Lasagna pouches with kale, pancetta and cheese recipe

lasagna pouches

Lasagna pouches. For the lazy lasagna maker. Genius.

15. Baked black bean and green chile taquitos recipe

black bean taquitos

Meatless Monday looks pretty darn good when these black bean taquitos are in front of you.

16. Malaysian-inspired super-spicy lamb stir-fried noodles recipe

Malaysian lamb stir-fry

If you're a lamb newbie, then this quick, spicy stir-fry is a great place to test the water.

17. Turkey enchiladas with quinoa and cheese recipe

turkey quinoa enchiladas

Would you believe these cheesy enchiladas have under 300 calories per serving? Believe it. And go make 'em.

18. Slow cooker Indian butter chicken recipe

slow cooker Indian butter chicken

Confession: As much as I adore butter chicken, I have never made it because I thought it sounded like too much work. I was way wrong.

19. Winter butternut squash fettuccine Alfredo recipe

butternut squash Alfredo

Here's a sneaky way to get the kids to love squash: Turn it into creamy Alfredo sauce.

20. Ricotta gnudi with brown butter-sage sauce recipe

ricotta gnudi

Forget gnocchi. Gnudi, in all its cheesy goodness, is where it's at.

21. Easy chicken verde enchiladas recipe

chicken verde enchiladas

If you've got 20 minutes, you've got dinner. It doesn't get much easier than these verde enchiladas.

22. Pear, prosciutto and watercress pizza recipe

pear prosciutto pizza

Seasonal pears + salty prosciutto = mouthwatering pizza.

23. Salt-crusted baked potato with ground beef recipe

salt-crusted baked potato with ground beef

This drool-worthy specimen of a baked potato is a meal in itself. You can skip the veggies for one night — I won't tell.

24. Creamy one-pot vegan Mexican macaroni and cheese recipe

vegan Mexican mac and cheese

Even as a non-vegan, I would do some serious damage to this creamy, dreamy bowl of mac and cheese.

25. Pizza upgrade: The Italian special

frozen pizza upgrades

Believe it or not, this was once a lowly frozen pizza. Upgrading takes only minutes.

Dessert

26. Hot apple pie rolls recipe

hot apple pie rolls

For those times when you're craving apple pie hard but just don't feel like going to all that trouble, these bad boys are ready in 20 minutes flat.

27. Pumpkin cheese pie puffs recipe

pumpkin cheese pie puffs

It's perfectly acceptable to eat pumpkin in December, especially when it looks like this.

28. Hot cocoa cookie mugs recipe

hot cocoa mug cookies

These cookie mugs fall into the "too cute to eat" category, except that I totally would eat them. All of them.

29. Gluten-free sweet potato pie with quinoa-walnut crust recipe

gluten-free sweet potato pie

The classic sweet potato pie gets a gluten-free makeover with a nutty crust.

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