Stuffed dates are a simple and sweet way to elevate your holiday party table. With no cooking required, this low-fuss dish is as tasty as it is festive. The flavors here lean on the sweet side, so you can serve it as an appetizer or a dessert. Fresh goat cheese is relatively mild and welcomes other flavor additions, so I blended in some lemon, spicy honey, and thyme. Fill each date with the cheese mixture, then top with a crunchy sesame almond (which you can find at many grocery stores; if not, you can substitute with salted almonds, pecans, or walnuts). I like to use the leftover thyme leaves and stems to garnish this dish, making a wreath shape for a festive look. —Marissa Mullen
Marissa Mullen is a Brooklyn-based food stylist, recipe developer, photographer and cheese lover. She is the founder of That Cheese Plate and creator of the Cheese By Numbers method. She is also the author of the best-selling cookbook, That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life, a step-by-step styling guide for crafting beautiful and delicious cheese plates as a form of creative expression. Featured on The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Show, Business Insider, Vox among others, Marissa is dedicated to bringing people together through creativity, food and entertainment.