Have I told you how amazing you are recently?


You. All of the amazing, incredible yous that read this blog. The ones with the good ideas and the awesome advice and the brilliant opinions. You actually helped me write this post.


You see, today is all about pantries and organization and what to stock it with to make this holiday season a better place.

Peace on earth.

Starting with the pantry.

Today is DAY 2 of “Twelve Days of Getting Ready for Christmas.”

I’m sharing 12 days of ideas with my friend Leslie from My 100-Year-Old Home to help you get ready for Christmas and today is all about getting your kitchen ready for December.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about ideas for stocking your pantry for unexpected guests and shared a few ideas. And then? I asked all of you for advice. Over 100 of you wrote in with tons of simple recipes and easy dishes to share with family and friends. I’ve referenced that post so many times over the years and made a list of all the ideas and recipes.

So today I want to share those ideas with you. I categorized some of my favorites into appetizers, drinks, main dishes and desserts. I’m also sharing one of my favorite bread recipes I make ahead and freeze so I can pull it out whenever I need a hostess gift or something to serve with coffee or even a last-minute snack.

Are you ready?

You’ll want to bookmark this post.

Trust me.

Here’s what to stock your pantry with for the holidays.



  • In the fall my go-to for company is a combination of equal parts cream cheese and caramel syrup in a cute bowl, and cut up apples on a beautiful, fall plate. It’s such a yummy dip and very fast and easy. ~Barbara
  • My go to is the perfect cheese plate. Two cheeses (smoked Gouda, cheddar, havarti or whatever I have on hand), Carr’s water crackers, Craisins, walnuts and a small bowl of pepper jelly. How easy is that! ~Lisa
  • Lil smokies and crescent rolls! Cut each triangle section of a crescent roll into thirds~ use that third to wrap up a lil smokie and place into oven and cook according to directions. Add a white bowl of mustard and ketchup for dipping.~Carrie
  • Little smokies in bbq sauce. Plop it in a sauce pan, heat it up and eat! Velveeta cheese and Rotel. Heat in saucepan and serve with taco chips. Sausage, cheese and cracker platter. We keep this in the fridge all the time! Add grapes if you want and wine of your choice. Sour cream, add Lipton onion soup mix,stir and serve with potato chips. ~Sherry
  • Charcuterie boards are what I put out. We all have cheese, crackers, fruit and some kind of meat and nuts. It doesn’t have to be fancy or Pinterest worthy. Just some nibbles to nosh on. I used my wood cutting board to put my items on. ~Cheryl
  • I always have a roll of hard or garlic sausage. Just a few slices some cheese too if you have it and a few ritz crackers and it is time to munch and visit. Nothing to cook and you can slice the sausage while you are at the counter visiting and sipping on your tea.~Marty
  • Brie cheese lasts forever, you can buy either a wedge or a wrapped round at any store. I put it on a pretty plate, sprinkler with craisins and sliced almonds (both last in the fridge because they aren’t appealing to ‘snack’ on alone to the fam 🙂 and warm it up in the micro for 45 seconds. Serve with water crackers or pita chips. ~Julie
  • My two favorite dips are… a jar of Old English Cheese with an 80z. block of cream cheese. This is great with any veggies and/ or crackers. We even have it with sliced sausages our favorite is Hickory Farms Summer sausage. Our favorite fruit dip is easy as well… 8 0z. block of cream cheese with 70z. container of Marshmallow cream and a bit of juice from a jar of maraschino cherries or even lemon juice if you prefer. ~Debbie
  • A block of regular Havarti cheese and a can of crescent rolls makes this super easy appetizer. Mold the cheese into a ball then cover the ball with the crescent roll dough and bake per directions on can. Remove from the oven and serve with green apple slices, crackers or alone. It’s sooooo good!!!!! I promise! ~Suzanne

Simple snacks

  • Nuts and a tin of really good cookies. Or M& M’s. I do keep cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream and a few dip mixes in the pantry at all times just in case. Also when we travel I always seek out gourmet shops and bring back some kind of treat I can use for just such an occasion. Example: specialty crackers, mixes, nuts, jarred fruit or jams (GREAT on topping cream cheese) anything regional that will be a treat for homies. That way you get to share a bit of your travels with friends and family. ~Loryl
  • How about Hummus and veggies?! Super good and easy. We keep on hand a bag of cut up already washed and ready to go veggies that we get at Sam’s Club. Broccoli, Cauliflower and baby carrots. Since last June we’ve been trying to eat healthier. Less chips etc and more veggies. ~Lynn
  • Lately, I’m loving the look of several different cheeses, assorted crackers, walnuts and almonds, dried cranberries and apricots, some kind of savory spread in a small ramekin (think Stonewall Kitchen) with decorative spreader, and pumpkin seeds (to compliment the white ramekin), all nestled together on a thick cutting board. If I know in advance, I buy little packages of fresh thyme and rosemary and place the sprigs festively between the groups. ~Peg
  • Super simple, delicious, and 2 ingredients will keep in refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Garlic and herb Boursin cheese put on a plate, spread Bonne Mamman raspberry jam puddled over the top, serve with water crackers. ~Karen

Main dish ideas

  • A block of Velveeta and a jar of salsa melted together is tasty and easy if you keep tortilla chips on hand, which isn’t so easy in this household.. Red potatoes keep well, and serving up a little impromptu baked potato bar is easy enough… nuke your ‘taters, then offer cheese, sour cream, salsa, whatever else you might have in the fridge. Quesadillas are great quick and easy, too, but flour tortillas are hard to keep on hand without spoiling.~Lily
  • The premade phyllo dough cups in the frozen food aisle. They come ready to fill and already baked. I’ve put shrimp or chicken salad in them as well as a ready-made artichoke & jalapeno dip sprinkled with a little parm cheese and broiled for a second to melt the cheese. Of course, you can use them for desserts as well just filling with ready made lemon curd or pie filling. I also frequently serve cream cheese smothered in cocktail sauce with salad shrimp on top of all that with sturdy crackers – always a hit. ~Deb


  • I love puff pastry. You thaw it in the refrigerator and roll it out top with any jam you Ike, I love apricot, roll it up like a cinnamon roll, slice and bake. I also make a savory one with different fillings, cheddar cheese for cheese straws, herbed cream cheese, plain sugar, etc. Yum! Your imagination is the limit here because you can make any filling you like inside, just make sure you don’t overfill or use anything too wet. I often spend 10 minutes making several of these and then popping them back in the freezer to individually refreeze so that I may have yummy snacks on hand.
  • Keep a roll of cookie dough (either homemade or store-bought) in the fridge/freezer. Thaw, slice and bake.~Carleen
  • I make cookie dough, scoop it out with a small scoop, and freeze them on a cookie sheet. When firm, I remove them from the cookie sheet and place them in a gallon freezer bag to bake as needed. ~Debi
  • An 8 oz. block of cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and some toffee bits(found in the baking aisle) and you’ve got an amazing apple dip! Super simple, super easy and super delicious! ~Joy
  • Here’s another one for cannoli dip. Mix one block cream cheese with powder sugar, add a little vanilla, and mini chocolate chips. Serve with broken up waffle cones. ~Therese
  • I make a dip by mixing a small yogurt container with a little cool whip or cream cheese. Then I cut a frozen Sara Lee pound cake (do you have that in TX?) into cubes, add some fruit on a pretty plate. I have also melted some choc chips with some half and half as a dip as well. ~Cheryle

Drink ideas

  • When it’s not mealtime, I think it’s easy and nice to simply offer hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, with some Walker’s shortbread, or another crispy sweet danceable cookie of your choice. Put the focus on what’s important – your friendships! A hot cuppa and a sweet bite is simple and takes no time. ~Jenny
  • In the fall and winter… hot chocolate with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Chips with rotel and velveeta cheese is a mainstay in my pantry. Of course, it’s all served with sweet tea with lemon! ~Beth


  • This has literally changed my life: the crescent roll sheets! OMGoodness! Roll that puppy out, butter it and sprinkle cinnamon sugar liberally. Roll it up, cut in slices and bake until it’s done. The glaze is easy. Put some confectioner’s sugar into a bowl and SLOWLY add whatever liquid you like–orange juice, milk, water, you name it. Stir until desired consistency is reached. If it’s too runny, just add some more sugar. Glaze those rolls, sprinkle on some nuts (in my freezer all the time) and serve. ~Mary Alice

And this.

To help get your kitchen ready for December? This is the YUMMIEST bread ever.

It’s Walnut Raisin Pumpkin Bread.

You can see the recipe here.

The raisins and nuts add the perfect amount of texture. A friend of mine in Kentucky gave me the recipe and it’s one of my favorites. And the best part? It’s a friendship bread recipe. It makes two loaves….one to eat and one to share.

I freeze it (quickly or it will get eaten at my house) and pull it out for company.

One quick tip that my mother taught me that makes it even yummier. Before you add the bread dough to the pan? Grease and sugar the sides and bottom of the pan. It makes a crisp, light, sugary crust that makes the bread even yummier.

And now?

Be sure and head over to Leslie’s. She is an AMAZING cook and has the best ideas to stock your pantry for the holidays.

PS If you missed DAY 1 of “Twelve Days of Getting Ready for Christmas?”

You can read all about how to repurpose last year’s Christmas decor here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Colleen Rademacher Colleen Rademacher

    Awesome and I will definitely save these great ideas! I think I gained 10 pounds reading all the great ideas. ):

  2. Image for Bab Bab

    A lot of great ideas and recipes. Have you tried little smokies wrapped in bacon, then rolled in brown sugar and then cooked in a slow cooker? Totally amazing and addicting! We don’t make them very often you know since they’re so healthy for you 😉

  3. Image for Lyn Lyn

    Fabulous ideas. Here's a general pantry stock up idea - our American treasure, Ina Garten, suggests buy two of an item when you shop. Especially if it is an item that you regularly use. It's an easy way to build a great workable pantry. Sometimes I buy 3 or more. My shopping routine has changed over the years. I used to shop at just one particular store every Thursday after work with meals plans, etc. for the next week. Now, I shop 3 stores but not every store every week. My husband says that every store has it's niche. I buy multiple sale items - like organic chicken breasts, or beef, pork, when they are a good price one particular store. Their general prices are a bit high - but their sale prices are fantastic. Another store has great seafood, and a third store has speciality items. My pantry is stocked, and I can make almost anything I want whenever I want - and then simply shop for fresh produce, bakery products as needed. I think my grocery bill is lower as a result, and I do not believe in running all over town to shop every week because that's counterproductive. You continue to inspire us every day. You are a lovely girl.

  4. Image for Juliet Juliet

    Oh yes, bookmarking this post! A holiday cookbook in one blog post! Such a great idea to stock up and be prepared ... before the holiday grocery rush begins. I'm so motivated to get ready for the holiday! xo

  5. Image for Loryl Loryl

    Thank you rockstar for including my idea under simple snacks! I did bookmark this because EVERYONE needs good ideas in a pinch😉

  6. Image for Jean Jean

    I love the photo of your dry goods pantry. Now show me how to organize all my canned goods. And potatoes, friut, bread, etc.

  7. Image for Becky Becky

    I got about halfway through the appetizers section and had to stop and pin. I love "real people" recipes! Thanks, all you Real People!!! 😊

Comments are closed.