Friends and family. They’re the people we love most and the best part of every celebration. New Year’s Eve is a great night for cozying up and staying in. Watch a movie, play board games, eat finger food and take in the New Year’s celebrations ringing in from all around the world. As we send out the old and welcome the new, bring out the appetizers and have a festive evening celebrating at home. 

After all the holiday prepping and cooking, something low lift is in order. Keep things calm and bright with easy offerings, but plate everything on festive serveware and make it elegant. I like to serve a heavy array of appetizers, some store bought, some homemade, with lots of finger-friendly foods that everyone can grab and enjoy as the evening wears on. A shrimp cocktail, some veggies and hummus, maybe a few store-bought sushi options, some smoked salmon, and an easy assortment of meat, cheese, and crackers (aka the charcuterie board). Fill in with a few heat-and-eat appetizers like coconut shrimp, spanakopita, egg rolls, or taquitos that you bring out one at a time throughout the evening. 

These Crispy Smashed Potatoes are easy and delicious. You can even make them ahead so that all you have to do is rewarm and top with the garnishes. Because potatoes are gluten-free and nut-free, this recipe will adapt to lots of dietary options, and you can tailor your toppings to make them plant-based or dairy-free, as well. But don’t limit yourself to the toppings shown here. You could top these all sorts of ways, or use them as a side dish, or for game day, too.

The smashed potatoes were so delicious and easy to make, I recommend doubling the amount of potatoes and making extra. Boil, smash, and bake all of them as directed, then use what you need for your appetizer. After they have cooled, freeze the remaining smashed potatoes in a single layer on their baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a resealable freezer bag. You can pop these out and use as single servings, topped any way you like, any time you need a quick and easy side dish. 

Round out your evening with a fruit plate, some holiday cookies, or brownies. Serve hot cocoa, pop some popcorn, make indoor s’mores, or fondue: anything warm and cozy. Whatever you do, keep it simple and make it fun. It’s your last chance at 2023. 

So grab your comfy spot, snuggle up with those you love, and let’s ring in a bright new year!

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 pounds medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, or olive oil spray


  • sour cream 
  • bacon
  • cheddar cheese 
  • chives
  • crème fraîche
  • smoked salmon
  • caviar

In a 6-quart stockpot over high heat, bring 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil. Add potatoes and boil 20-25 minutes, until they are tender and fully cooked through. 

Preheat oven to 425º F. Drain potatoes in a colander, then place on a heavy baking sheet. Using the bottom of a heavy glass or a measuring cup, smash the potatoes down to 3/4-inch height; season potatoes with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spray top of potatoes with olive oil, or pour olive oil over. Place baking sheet in oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the potatoes are brown and crisp.

Remove potatoes from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish as desired. 

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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