Holiday Entertaining DIY

We find ourselves in the middle of holiday season and the peak of holiday parties. A big trend this year for holiday entertaining is to serve a Do-It-Yourself Food Bar. These parties are a great option at holiday time because you can make the bar as simple or elaborate as you wish, depending on how busy you are. Food bars also make a great option for anyone with food allergies or dietary concerns as guests are able to customize their plates!

A Very Merry Meal

Jen will give ideas on how to make the perfect build-your-own mealtime food bar that provides the ideal combination of choices for your party guests.

Mashed Potato Bar

Suggested Mashed Potato Bar Toppings

  • Leftover rotisserie chicken or roast beef mixed with BBQ sauce, warmed 
  • Smoked salmon, chopped
  • Sautéed shrimp
  • No-salt-added canned corn, rinsed and drained, warmed
  • No-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained, warmed
  • Roasted mushrooms, warmed
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Steamed carrots
  • Diced onions
  • Cabot Light Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Non-fat plain Greek yogurt 
  • HealthMarket salsa
  • Caramelized onions
  • Guacamole 
  • Hummus

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

Serves 8.


All you need:

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups buttermilk, divided

4 tablespoons margarine (liquid oil as first ingredient), divided

¾ cup water

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper, to taste


All you do:

1. Stir together potatoes, 1-½ cups buttermilk, 2 tablespoons Promise, water, baking soda and bay leaf in a large Dutch oven.  Bring to a boil in large pot over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove lid and allow to cook over medium heat until liquid has almost completely evaporated, about 3 minutes. 

2. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave, covered.  Remove potatoes from heat, remove bay leaf, add melted butter to pot and mash with potato masher until smooth. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining ½ cup buttermilk until it is absorbed and potatoes are creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. 

Jen Haugen represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert, promoting healthy eating throughout the community.  Jen is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.