Simple Sides for Holiday Entertaining

Like many hosts, you are likely searching for perfection in your holiday get-togethers. With an ever-expanding guest list, each year may seem more and more difficult to pull off the perfect gathering.

Make things easier and still delicious by serving ready-to-eat options like refrigerated macaroni and cheese made with real milk and cheese. Here are some examples for how you can save time by starting with ready-made, refrigerated but never-frozen options like mashed sweet potatoes and even mac and cheese. (Recipes are provided by Bob Evans. Find more ideas at

fancy mac and cheeseFancy Mac

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 package Bob Evans Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1 package Bob Evans Thick Sliced Hardwood Smoked Bacon, cooked and broken into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray four ramekins with cooking spray.

Heat macaroni and cheese according to package directions. Once cooked, stir in spinach, 1 cup cheese, bacon, salt and pepper.

Let mixture stand 10-15 minutes to cool. Add eggs. Spoon evenly into ramekins. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 20 minutes, or until centers are set.

sweet potato cookiesSweet Potato Cookies

Prep time: 28-33 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes
Serves: 36


  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup Bob Evans Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp maple extract
  • Chopped honey roasted pecans (optional)
  • Mini marshmallows (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, using hand mixer or paddle attachment, cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and sweet potatoes; mix until combined.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture until well mixed. Using small cookie scoop, drop rounds onto greased baking sheets.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before frosting.

In separate bowl, beat together butter, powdered sugar and maple extract until frosting is light and fluffy. Frost each cooled cookie with maple butter cream frosting.

Sprinkle with pecans and mini marshmallows, if desired. Carefully toast marshmallows with culinary torch, if desired, while avoiding melting frosting.

mini hash brown casserolesMini Hash Brown Casseroles

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 24


  • 1 pound Bob Evans Original Roll Sausage
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 package (20 ounces) Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 cup ham, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


In skillet, cook sausage according to package directions.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.

In bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add hash browns, butter, ham, black pepper and cheese; mix thoroughly. Fill muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake 27-30 minutes, or until toothpick or knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Substitution: For healthier alternative, substitute 1 cup AllWhites liquid egg whites instead of eggs.

bacon wrapped jalapeno poppersBacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 40


  • 2 packages Bob Evans Thick Sliced Hardwood Smoked Bacon, slices cut in half
  • 1 package Bob Evans White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 package garlic herb cheese spread
  • 20 jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded with membranes removed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Set bacon out to thaw to room temperature so it is pliable.

In mixing bowl, use rubber spatula to combine mashed potatoes and garlic herb cheese. Stir until incorporated. Spread 1 teaspoon mashed potato mixture in each jalapeno half; level each with butter knife or spatula.

Wrap each jalapeno with bacon; use three half slices for large jalapenos or two halves for smaller sizes. Be sure bacon is wrapped sealing in mashed potato mixture tightly.

In small mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Generously sprinkle over bacon and pat gently to make it stick.

Line cookie sheet with piece of parchment paper so sugar does not burn to pan. Bake until bacon reaches desired crispiness, around 25-35 minutes.

Let peppers cool slightly before serving, about 5 minutes.