Having a little holiday get together? Don't want to spend hours in the kitchen? Here are some great ideas to get you started...
How about a nice little gathering with bite sized appetizers… You might also want to end the evening with a small tray of sweets too…. a little something to serve with tea or coffee….
When planning a menu keep in mind the “do-ahead” factor….. preparing ahead is key… after all.. you don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen missing all the fun.
Consider completing preparing ahead your selection of appetizers and simply saving the baking step for last.
Consider oven temperatures and baking times when choosing which appetizers to make.
Quantities will depend on a number of factors… things to think about… time the party starts… number of people and of course budget.
If you’re starting late… then I figure they’ve already eaten something before coming ….even if it was light….. and this will be considered extra munchies for them….
I like to serve a variety of about 6 different kinds of appetizers…. figure about 6 pieces per person….
I also make sure to have a vegetable or fruit tray with dips…. and one chip and dip item… one or two small choices of sweets to end the evening.
If I’m starting a bit earlier… then one of the appetizer/hors’dourves will be substantial…. such as Stromboli or Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Squares…. or Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs.
For a very late starting party…. I would consider a very light munch…. a cheese tray perhaps with wine…. and coffee and tea with an assortment of 2-3 small desserts or baked items….
For more ideas see the Party Planning for past party planning posts…. see the Appetizer and Hors’dourves label for more recipes…. Desserts and Cake labels for those recipes…..
And don't forget my Coffee and Tea Buying Guide for a Crowd and Tips for Making Coffee and Tea for a Crowd.
Keep us on your favorites or sign up as a subscriber... still more ideas to come.
Here are some ideas to get you started thinking…. I’ve included baking temperatures and times where applicable to help you sort them out…
Baked Finger Foods... that can be prepared ahead and final baking just before serving:
Mini Spinach and Bacon Quiches... Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes.
Tiny Ham and Pineapple Pot Pies... These are just adorable! Bake at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
Taco Bites... Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 minutes.
Lil Smokies in a Blanket…. Bake at 375 degrees F for 11-15 minutes.
Tomato Basil Pesto Tartlets... Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms... Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Easy Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms... Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
These foods can be baked somewhat ahead and served warm or at room temperature:
Raspberry Brie Tarts
Spinach Cheese Puff Pastry Swirls
More Substantial Foods:
Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Squares
Stromboli…. is a perfect choice…. you can prepare one or more ahead… slice it and serve at room temperature… you can vary the ingredients between the different Strombolis.
Mini Ham and Swiss Party Sandwiches…. They’re quick and easy and can be made completely ahead… and won’t break the bank… don’t like Ham and Swiss? … make any combinations of meats and cheeses you want…. salami and provolone… turkey and pepper jack cheese….you can even make tuna melts… just make the tuna salad and use whatever cheese you want … be creative!
Italian Mini Party Sandwiches.. these sandwiches can be made with small party bread or rolls like the Mini Ham and Swiss Party Sandwiches…. perfect snack or horsdourves size…. they will require use of the oven… but you can bake them first… before foods that take longer… and serve them at room temperature
Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs
Classic Swiss Fondue
Requires no cooking or baking and can be made completely ahead:
Boursin Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
Fruit Tray with Dips... try a terrific Yogurt Sauce
Vegetable Tray with Dips... Try a Ranch Spinach Dip
Chips or Crackers and Dip... Try a Baked Crab Dip made in a hollowed out bread... serve with pita crisps or crackers... just delicious!
Bread Dip... Try a Corned Beef Bread Dip
Candied Pecans.... a great holiday idea... totally addictive... delicious and an easy make-ahead snack.
White Chocolate Popcorn... another delicious sweet snack... perfect for the holidays... inexpensive to make and also another great make-ahead snack
Bite-Sized Fruit Pies
Linzer Torte Bars
And of course, festive holiday cookies are always perfect!
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White Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling and White Chocolate Coconut Frosting
Sweet Potato Pancakes with Pecan Butter