A Progressive Dinner

I LOVE Christmas time, hands down, my favorite season. Not because of gifts, but because of the gathering of family and friends, delicious food, the belief my children have in Santa and that they want to help others during this season who may not be as fortunate. That is what the season is about!

So the title, progressive dinner might be unfamiliar to you, but it’s an old tradition where neighbors would get together and walk around from house to house progressing through meals. It’s a really neat idea! I had never been a part of one until my mom told me her neighborhood was doing one this year. How fun! She asked me to make some appetizers, and of course– I said yes!

Since her house was third on the list, after the kickoff cocktails and main course houses, I wanted to make one savory appetizer and one sweet appetizer. The house after my mom’s was a margarita sampler and then the last house was dessert, so I wanted to be a little in the middle. I think it went really well and I heard great comments so I wanted to share the recipes with you! The savory app I created in my kitchen and the other I adapted from Schnucks’s recipe. Oh and exciting stuff, the house that served the main course made my tortilla soup that you can find here.

Okay, onward! The two heavy apps I made were maple, bbq and cranberry meatballs with pesto mozzarella kabobs and strawberry and cranberry trifles. Delish!

Maple, BBQ and Cranberry Meatballs with Pesto Mozzarella Kabobs

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time in crockpot: 5 hours on low | Assembly time: 15 minutes



  • Turn your crockpot on low
  • Dump in the whole bag of frozen meatballs
  • Squeeze the bbq sauce over the top, then scrape half of the cranberry sauce in and pour the maple syrup on top.
  • Take a spatula and start to just stir it all up so it combines
  • Put the lid on and let it cook on low for 5 hours or until hot
  • Once it’s done, take a large bowl and pour the mozzarella pearls into the bowl and the pesto sauce–stir to coat all of the pearls
  • Now comes the assembly! Take your extra long toothpick and put a meatball on and two mozzarella pearls. I just like two with the meatball. You can have one OR four! Your preference!
  • Enjoy!

Strawberry and Cranberry Trifle

Prep time: 30 minutes | Setting time: 1 hour

Recipe is an adaptation of Schnuck’s cranberry trifle



  • To start, you’ll want to have the pieces of loaf cake in one bowl, the pudding in another, whipped topping container, and then combine the cranberry sauce and strawberries in another bowl.
  • Add coconut flakes to a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 4 min, stirring every minute until it begins to brown. DO NOT SKIP THE STIRRING or else it’ll burn. Set that plate next to other bowls listed above and cool off.
  • Time to assemble the individual trifles in this order: a couple pieces of loaf cake on bottom, spoonful of pudding, spoonful of cranberry/strawberry mixture, whipped topping, coconut flakes (repeat 2x in each cup). Continue until all of the cups are done!
  • Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

I enjoyed the evening with my mom’s neighbors and some of my closest girlfriends. Happy Holidays!

XO, Rachel

Leave a Reply