The Fastest Buffet Known to Man
Make it: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Asian Glaze
Chef Art Smith says let the pork marinate in a zip-top bag while the oven heats up; then, roast the meat for 45 minutes.
Get the recipe: Roast Pork Tenderloin with Asian Glaze
Photo: Sam's Club
Make it: Cider French Dip
Top Chef Season 3 competitor Dale Levitski serves this wintry take on the classic sandwich with an apple-carrot slaw and a spicy mayo. Let guests assemble their own sandwiches.
Get the recipe: Cider French Dip
Make it: Christmas Crackle Ham
This simple dish from Cristina Ferrare includes a glaze made from apple cider, orange juice, brown sugar and cayenne. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.
Get the recipe: Christmas Crackle Ham
Photo: Impromptu Gourmet
Buy it: Baked ham
Many supermarkets and warehouse clubs sell precooked half hams which weigh about 9 pounds and will easily feed eight people. The best-tasting ham is bright pink in color and does not have any marbling. If you'd rather order ahead and have the meat delivered, the HoneyBaked Ham Company is known for its hams' tender meat and crunchy, sugary crust. The Holiday Ham Company also gets raves for its hams' moist texture and hickory-smoked flavor.
Photo: Ellen Silverman
Make it: Sautéed Shredded Vegetables
It's amazing how much more exciting a dish can seem when the ingredients are simply cut in an unexpected way (here, julienned). You can change up the herbs to match your main dish.
Get the recipe: Sautéed Shredded Vegetables
Make it: Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale
This zippy, Parmesan-spiked combination of green beans, kale and cremini mushrooms is one of Giada De Laurentiis' go-to holiday sides.
Get the recipe: Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale
Photo: Anna Williams
Make it: Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root with Creamy Yogurt
An elegant twist on the winter workhorse, this dish can be made a day ahead of time and reheated.
Get the recipe: Mashed Potatoes and Celery Root with Creamy Yogurt
Make it: Sautéed Baby Carrots
This is a supereasy, quick and crowd-pleasing side. If you find baby carrots with the stems still attached at a farmers' market, use them and keep a half-inch of the tops attached to dress them up a bit.
Get the recipe: Sautéed Baby Carrots
Buy it: Applesauce
Go for a slightly chunky version to keep this standard from tasting too much like baby food. Your add-ons make it special: Try any combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, lemon juice and vanilla bean.
Buy it: Roasted potatoes
Buy them at the deli counter; reheat them just before serving and drizzle them with some olive oil so they stay moist.
Buy it: Crudité Platter
It isn't just for appetizers. Serve crudités with dinner, mixing classics like celery and bell peppers with unexpected vegetables such as fennel, jicama or crunchy wedges of iceberg lettuce. Pair them with store-bought tzatziki, guacamole, sour cream dip or hummus.
Make it: Jamie Oliver's Everyday Green Chopped Salad
Chopped salads are perfect for buffets; all the ingredients are the same size, so guests can easily get them onto their forks. Use this recipe as a guide, swapping in whichever greens and vegetables you prefer.
Get the recipe: Jamie Oliver's Everyday Green Chopped Salad
Photo: Ann Stratton
Make it: Winter Red Oak Leaf Lettuce and Pear Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Each of the four ingredients in this salad pulls its weight, and then some, delivering a flavorful dish with minimal scrambling around on your part.
Get the recipe: Winter Red Oak Leaf Lettuce and Pear Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette
Photo: Earthbound Farms
Buy it: Earthbound Farm Organic Power Meals or Dole Spinach Cherry Almond Bleu Salad Kit
These meals in a box (or bag) contain greens plus extras like nuts, cheese and dried fruit. There's a packet of dressing inside too.
New, lighter versions of classic party dips