Roasted Feta with Honey

Photo: Alison Gootee

For home cooks who value their peace of mind, the holidays can be a doozy—especially when, just as you're tripping over stacks of gifts, you find a few impromptu visitors at your door. Of course, you're happy to see them. But now you have to put out snacks. Which means you have to have snacks. This is why, during the holidays, Amanda Hesser lets her type A flag fly, stocking her kitchen with treats she can serve in minutes. "And if no guests arrive, that's more for me!" she says. Her go-to is baked feta with honey, a dish she picked up from Seattle food writer Sara Dickerman. You broil the cheese until it's caramelized and soft as pudding. Then all you need is crackers, and you're set.

Get the recipe: Roasted Feta with Honey
Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil Crust

Photo: Alison Gootee

This time of year calls for sweetness, too, says Hesser, and her standby is a lemon tart with her mother's olive oil crust. "You can make the dough a day or two ahead," she says.

Get the recipe: Lemon Curd Tart with Olive Oil Crust
Almond Biscotti

Photo: Alison Gootee

Another dessert her family has been making for decades is almond biscotti, adapted from a 1987 issue of The Atlantic. It's a simple treat, yet keeps for a month and is a real crowd-pleaser—and keeping your crowd pleased this season is a great way to please yourself, too.

Get the recipe: Almond Biscotti