This year, we wanted our holiday dinner to be a potluck, but we had a small problem: As the name suggests, Chatelaine’s Cross-Canada Test Kitchen contributors live all across country! The next best thing? Inviting the team’s editorial staff for the shoot and to share these delicious party-worthy recipes, which were sent with love from our contributors. They’re travel-friendly and designed to impress, and we know you’ll enjoy them as much as we did on this glittery evening. Happy holidays!
These samosa puffs are my favourite finger-food appies to bring to a party. Everyone loves them! I mean, what’s not to love about savoury spiced-chicken samosa filling tucked into buttery, flaky puff pastry—à la sausage roll? Serve with festive cranberry chutney for dipping, or swap in store-bought mango or tamarind chutney. — Jennifer Pallian
Pickling eggs requires thinking ahead, but crossing some prep off your list a few days before a party is a good thing! The finished result is a tangy spin on a classic that balances the richness of a traditional devilled egg. What’s more, beets bring a stunning colour to the party that will put everyone in a festive mood. — Camilla Wynne
My family has always included vegetarians, but what’s more, we’ve never delineated between vegetarian and non-veg food. Plant-based dishes are routinely at the centre of our plates, and come holiday time, they receive the same fanfare as the turkey or prime rib. This warm vegetable side can be a feast in and of itself: It has a base of spiced, roasted squash that’s bulked up with grains and then topped with a clutch of fennel and herbs. The collection of components brings texture, colour and freshness to the party. The green chili paste in the dressing, a simple Middle Eastern shatta, is particularly effective, with its vibrant heat offering a welcome contrast. — Tara O’Brady
Potlucks are meant for reunions, weekend catch-ups and last-minute gatherings. They’re an opportunity to share your love of cooking and offer a crowd-pleasing dish. Keep it simple, or bring a showstopper that everyone will want the recipe for. Enjoy the bounty of this salad, featuring end-of-season pears and crisp fennel. It will become one of your new staples and have everyone licking their plate and asking for more. — Suzanne Barr
Every Christmas, my nonna-in-law would make an exceptional (and exceptionally labour-intensive) lasagna bolognese. While she didn’t make the pasta herself, she had a meticulous method: pre-boiling the noodles for 20 minutes, picking them out of the water individually with her hands, then spreading them on a massive cloth-lined table to dry out to a specific texture and humidity level. Something about those treated noodles held every other component of the dish beautifully: cheese and sauce that stuck together in a single cohesive bite.
Having made it myself for a few years now—and made it my own—I can confirm that it is absolutely worth the work of cooking it for an occasion. Don’t do pork? Switch to lean beef. Want to up the mozzarella content? Be my guest! But do not break Nonna’s two rules: no oven-ready dry noodles (though packaged fresh pasta is great) and no ricotta, ever. — Chantal Braganza
Eton mess—kind of a cross between trifle and pavlova—makes the perfect sweet-tart-creamy-crunchy ending to a festive meal. Both the meringues and the saucy fruit can be made days ahead, so all you need to do is whip your cream and assemble your mess—either in individual bowls or glasses or on a platter, family-style—when you’re ready for it. Feel free to use any kind of fresh or frozen tart red fruit, like raspberries, rhubarb or sour cherries, along with (or in place of) the cranberries, or use a combination.— Julie Van Rosendaal