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Simplify Holiday Entertaining

Preparing side dishes can be time consuming. Save those precious minutes to enjoy the holidays by using refrigerated, never-frozen options like mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, baked apples, and even macaroni and cheese that can be heated in the microwave and ready to serve in minutes.

Like many hosts, you are likely searching for perfection in your holiday get-togethers. While those expectations are lofty, and each year may seem more and more difficult with an ever-expanding guest list, you can make things easier by serving ready-to-eat options like refrigerated macaroni and cheese, made with real milk and cheese.

Find more ideas to make your holiday sides simply delicious at

Fancy Mac

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4

Nonstick cooking spray

1 package Bob Evans mac and cheese

1 (10-ounce) package 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 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 4 ramekins with cooking spray.

Heat mac and cheese according to package instructions. 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 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 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 cup butter, unsalted

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon maple extract

Chopped honey roasted pecans, optional

Mini marshmallows, optional

​Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 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 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 (20-ounce) package Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup ham, cubed

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In skillet, cook sausage according to package directions.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Add hash browns, butter, ham, pepper, and cheese; mix thoroughly. Fill muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake 27-30 minutes or until toothpick or knife comes out clean.

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

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño 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 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. 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 into 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 ones. Be sure bacon is wrapped to seal 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.

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