Recipe Ideas for Quick and Easy, Last Minute Homemade Food Gifts

Did the words “quick and easy,” “last-minute” and “homemade” in the title catch your attention? The week before Christmas, they always capture mine.

Despite my best efforts, I end up needing an unplanned gift or two. Before heading to the stores, I always check my pantry and kitchen for possible ideas – my friends really appreciate homemade food gifts from my kitchen. Over the years, I’ve learned that many gift-worthy recipes use readily available ingredients and take only an hour or two to make.

Here are several quick and easy homemade recipe ideas that are perfect for last-minute gifts. Granola is my go-to homemade food gift – look for my recipe at the end of this post.


Recipe Mix in a Jar

                                                          Soup Mix in Jar at CHEFS Mix       Cookie Mix in Jar at CHEFS Mix

This gift is a popular way to share your best cookie, brownie, hot chocolate, bean soup, cornbread or barbecue rub recipe. Simply layer dry ingredients in a glass storage jar or canning jar for an eye-catching food gift. Don’t forget to attach the recipe.

Here are two sites to get you started:

CHEFS Mix Blog Posts

Lemon Curd at CHEFS Mix Chocolate Truffles at CHEFS Mix Peppermint Bark at CHEFS Mix Bacon Jam at CHEFS Mix

During the past few weeks, we’ve shared recipes that also make delicious gifts. Most use readily available ingredients. After a few hours in the kitchen, you’ll have homemade treats, ready to package, wrap and share. Here are the links, just in case you missed a post or two.

Recipes from the CHEFS Archive

Nutty Cheese Ball at CHEFS MixThe recipe page has savory and sweet recipes that make delicious gifts. Here are some of my favorites:



Skillet Granola Recipe from CHEFS Mix

printer-friendly recipe

My never-fail, last-minute homemade food gift is granola – it’s pantry-friendly and takes about 20 minutes to make and an hour to cool. My everyday recipe, below, turns gourmet when I add pistachios and dried Goji berries to the basic mix and use orange-infused olive oil for a stronger citrus flavor. I give our outdoor-loving friends a large jarful, enough to fuel an active weekend in the mountains.

Homemade Granola at CHEFS Mix1 cup rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
3 tablespoons raw flax seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup sliced raw almonds
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or other neutral-tasting oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup, rice syrup, agave syrup or honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Zest of one orange, grated
½ cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit

1. Combine all ingredients except orange zest and cranberries in a large nonstick skillet. Mix gently to distribute oil and syrup evenly. Ingredients will look shiny.
2. Turn heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn down heat to medium-low and continue to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly. When ready, granola will be toasted and lightly browned with a matte finish.
3. Turn down heat to low. Stir in orange zest and dried cranberries. Cook, stirring constantly, until fruit heats through and zest becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.
4. Spread hot granola on baking sheet and cool. Stir occasionally to break up clumps. When cooled completely, store in airtight container. Makes about 2-1/2 cups

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