Last-Minute Holiday Entertaining Secrets With Jessica Holmes

The holiday season is upon us, and if you're one of those people who likes to wait to the last minute to plan events, you're not alone. But fear not: Jessica Holmes shares her quick and easy tips to make your gathering appear as if you spent hours putting it together.

For starters, get some fresh cut greens and add a string of twinkling lights to them -- it will instantly make the place look more festive. Red roses and candles add a nice bit of ambiance; candy canes and Hanukkah gelt are also a nice holiday touch.

Next, Jessica recommends going to the store to pick up some easy ingredients, and then whip up an easy recipe -- like the ones below for festive flatbread, white chocolate peppermint madeleines and tomato mozzarella appetizer -- to make it look like you spent all day on it.

And of course -- don't forget the champagne!

This segment aired on KTLA's California Cooking: Episode 13.

Festive Flatbread 

Ingredients:

  • Package of pre-made pizza crust, like the one from Trader Joe's
  • Mascarpone cheese
  • Fontina cheese, grated
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Rosemary

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Spread the bread with mascarpone cheese and smear it from edge to edge.
  4. Spread the grated fontina cheese on the bread.
  5. Add dollops of the cranberry sauce.
  6. Sprinkle with some of the rosemary.
  7. Cook in the oven for approximately 5 to 8 minutes.
  8. If you want a crisp bottom, skip the baking sheet and put the bread directly on oven rack.
  9. Happy holiday entertaining!

White Chocolate Peppermint Madeleines

Ingredients:

  • Madeleines
  • White chocolate chips
  • Candy canes
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Add water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  2. Place a heat-safe bowl on top of the pot so the bowl is not touching the water.
  3. Put the white chocolate chips in the bowl and melt.
  4. Add the coconut oil to almost melted white chocolate chips.
  5. Turn heat off once melted.
  6. Dip half of the madeleine cookie in white chocolate.
  7. Sprinkle with crushed candy cane pieces.
  8. Happy Holidays!

Tomato and Mozzarella Bites

Ingredients:

  • Sundried tomatoes soaked in oil
  • Baby mozzarella balls
  • Basil
  • Festive toothpicks

Instructions:

  1. Cut bottoms off the mozzarella balls so they will stand up.
  2. Skewer the basil, sundried tomato, then the cut mozzarella ball.
  3. Serve!

Eggnog Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of eggnog
  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon fine sugar

Instructions:

  1. Using a stand or hand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream.
  2. Add the fine sugar.
  3. Once whipped cream is almost done -- when stiff peaks start to form -- add the eggnog.