First off all I want to say Congratulations to: Elena N. of Big Lake for winning the Year’s Supply of Kemps Ice Cream just for pinning and sharing my November blog. Hope you enjoy all that wonderful ice cream. Visit kemps.com for some great holiday recipes using the holiday flavors now in the stores.
It’s beautiful December and I know you are going to think I’m crazy but I just love the snow. This month is all about parties, entertaining at home and eating, eating, and more eating. For my blog this month I thought I would pass on some tips for entertaining at home along with quick and easy recipes that wouldn’t drive you nuts but would look like you worked all day putting it together and would of course WOW your guests. I also came up with some ideas that would be easy on the pocket book because we know how the holidays can take a bite out of it.
When I start planning a party at home I take a look at some of the serving dishes that I have and can use for my table. I usually go buffet style because so many of my guests just love to walk through the house and visit with other guests. So sometimes I decide my menu around the dishes I already have in my kitchen. Here is my menu choice.
Spring Greens & Strawberries
I usually try to start with a salad that is low in calorie for my guests that like to eat light during the holidays. I found little bowls to put the salad in and to give my table some depth I found an extra piece of tile that I had laying around the house. I just put a couple of cans underneath the tile to give it a lift. You can pick up extra tiles at Menards or Home Depot for around $3.00.
5 oz. Spring Greens
1 Cup Strawberry Halves
1/2 Cup Pecan Pieces
Marzetti’s Poppyseed Dressing
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss salad with poppyseed dressing just before serving.
Suggested Wine Pairing
Martini & Rossi Sparkling Rose
I found little dessert glasses that I filled with cocktail sauce and hung the shrimp on the rim of the glass. You can use any kind of short little glass to present the shrimp instead of just laying them on a plate. It gives it a more elegant look.
4 Oz. Cream Cheese, softened
4-1/2 tsp. Prepared Horseradish
1 T. Grated Parmesan cheese
1 Lb. Cooked Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Minced Fresh Parsley
Seafood Cocktail Sauce
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, horseradish and Parmesan cheese until blended. Cut a small hole in the corner of a resealable plastic bag; add cream cheese mixture. Butterfly the shrimp along the outside curves. Pipe about 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture into each shrimp. Arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with seafood sauce if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
Suggested Wine Pairing
Toad Hollow Chardonnay
Black Tie Bites
When I found this recipe I thought that they were just so cute that I couldn’t resist. I purchased the Mozzarella Sun-dried Tomato Basil cheese flavor just because I was in a hurry and with these all you have to do is unwrap them and place them on a cracker. You can also use any kind of cheese and just slice them in a triangle shape. Then I purchased a tube of cookie icing and did three little dots for buttons, and I did two little dots and using a toothpick spread them out the shape of a bow tie. These little cheese and crackers give the party a black tie and tux look and they are just so easy to make. What a conversation piece. These appetizers are also great for those New Years Eve parties.
These are so quick and easy just slide a chunk of salami, a chunk of fresh mozzarella or feta cheese, a sprig of fresh parsley and to top it off a green olive stuffed with pimento on a toothpick. I usually pour some Italian dressing over them before placing them on a serving tray for extra flavor.
Sparkling Peppermint Punch
What is a party without some kind of libations? I put together the easiest punch recipe of cranberry juice, ginger ale and peppermint extract. What’s really great about this recipe is you can serve it just as is for a non-alcoholic drink or you can add wine or vodka for your adult guests Then I took some sugar and used red food coloring and mixed them together. I dipped the rim of a martini glass in water (again you can use any type of glass around your house) and then dipped it in the red sugar mixture, filled the glass with punch and hung a peppermint stick on the edge. Remember it is all about presentation.
6 Cups Cranberry Juice, chilled
24 Oz. Ginger Ale, chilled
1/4 tsp. Almond Extract
Combine all ingredients in pitcher. Pour into glasses and garnish with candy cane.
Black Cherry Cream Toasts
We can’t forget the best part of any party. I wanted something very easy to make that was not too time consuming and yet I wanted it to look elegant. I found the perfect recipe. Just take an 8 oz. container of Mascarpone cheese and mix it with Wild Black Cherries in Syrup. Make sure to save some extra cherries for the topping. Then I found some white serving spoons (or any teaspoon will work) that I placed on a serving tray. Place Mini Toasts on each one of the spoons and put a dollop of cheese and cherry mixture on top of the toast. Then with the extra cherries that I saved I placed a cherry on each to finish them off. Trust me, they are to die for. All three of these items can be found in the Deli Department.
Make sure to look around your house when decorating your table because you will be so surprised at what you can find to serve food and make your table look wonderful. Make sure to add some greenery that you can purchase at your local craft store or you probably have around the house. Don’t forget to add candles and some ornaments for extra sparkle and color. Also, give the gift of sharing by asking your friends to exchange tableware so that you don’t have to purchase new items. Last but not least, make sure to elevate your serving trays so give your table depth. Don’t be afraid to go outside that box. Who knows, maybe you will start a new trend. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season and enjoy….I will.