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Creating delicious holiday meals and entertaining doesn’t have to break the bank. I stop by Big Lots first to pick up some of the ingredients and get good value for my money to make mouthwatering meals for my family and guests during the holidays.
My shopping trips to Big Lots always start with a warm greeting from the cashier at the front of the store. A warm welcome sure goes a long way with me, I appreciate a genuinely friendly greeting.
I couldn’t resist grabbing one of these gorgeous decorative tins filled with popcorn.They were stacked up in the front of the store right when I walked in and the shiny tins caught my eye. The kids (and adults) can snack on this while I’m getting everything ready for dinner.
Sometimes as I browse the aisles I get inspiration from the well priced cookware and serving pieces, I let that guide me to some creative dishes to make. When I passed these little “Tidbit Bowls” I knew I wanted to use them for a dessert or an appetizer like the ones in fancy restaurants .I just wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to make yet.
I kept strolling the aisles and saw one of my FAVORITE ingredients, smoked oysters. “This is going to be my appetizer” I thought to myself. Smoked oysters, gluten free herb crackers for crunch and a drizzle of California olive oil-all found at Big Lots- mixed with a little red onion and capers and served in those cute tidbit bowls would make a great “no-cook” starter.
This is such a simple recipe. Just chop up two cans of drained smoked oysters, a quarter of a cup of diced red onions, a tablespoon of chopped parsley, a quarter cup of crumbled herb flavored crackers (gluten free if you like) and drizzle with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. That’s all there is to it.
Big Lots has some GREAT holiday ideas on their Pinterest page. Check it out!
I came across this gift pack of sausages and cheese and this ADORABLE little piggie cutting board caught my eye. I had to get this for myself, it’s such a great piece to serve charcuterie on. The sliced sausage would be another great easy appetizer for my guests
I had planned to do some small boxes of Jam Pillow Cookies to give as favors to my guests but when I saw these mason drinking jars (they have lids with holes to put a straw through) at Big Lots I got another idea. I’ll pack my cookies into these jars so my guest will have two gifts to take home. Bubble gum and other candies would be great to fill the jars with so I picked some of that up too.
I found some great baking items at Big Lots as well- flour, sugar and a large variety of jams to make my jam filled pillow cookies.
- I just mixed up my dough and sliced it into disks.
- I made a small indentation in the dough and filled it with jam.
- Then I covered it with another bit of dough and baked, EASY! The full recipe is below.
A tasty punch is easy to make with just a few things from the drink aisle. Some lemonade, good quality unfiltered apple juice and a bottle of ginger ale for some fizz is all you need for a crowd pleasing punch.. Garnish your punch with fresh tangerine slices and you’re ready to serve.
Big Lots always has great decor at reasonable prices. I picked up some super wide ribbon, it was 7 inches wide by 15 feet long (meant to decorate a Christmas tree) and a cozy plaid throw. It’s fun to use items like these in unconventional ways when you’re entertaining for the holidays. Styles and assortment vary by store so look around to find some unique items.
I took all my goodies home, dressed the table with the ribbon and throw, baked some delicious cookies and put out my new piggie platter with some sliced sausage and cheese.
I mixed up my punch with some delicious high quality unfiltered apple juice, lemonade and ginger ale, all from Big Lots
I popped opened the decorative tin of popcorn and put the smoked oyster appetizer out. I think it all turned out great!
What are some of your favorite go-to holiday cooking tips? Please let me know in the comments below, I’d LOVE to hear them!
Jam Pillow Cookies
- 12 tablespoons 6 ounces soft unsalted butter
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 and ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup jam
- Beat the soft butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes
- Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue beating for 1 minute
- Mix flour, baking powder and salt together and add them to the butter/egg mixture
- Shape into a log about 1 and ½ inches in diameter and wrap in plastic wrap for at least 30
- When ready to bake heat your oven to 375 degrees
- Slice the dough into twenty four ½ inch slices and place 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet
- Make a small indentation with your finger (use flour if it sticks) into the center of the dough and put a small amount of jam
- Slice remaining dough into 1/4 inch slices and place these on top of the jam filled bottoms, pressing gently on the edges to seal
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are lightly browned
Jam Pillow Cookies Recipe