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Oct 2, 2011 01:43 PM

Need new recipes for an annual Xmas Eve party (early, I know!)

Hi! I tend to post on the regional boards and have rarely posted on Home Cooking, but I have been reading it for a long time. I love it and have gotten some wonderful ideas.
Here's my situation: for the past 3 years we have thrown a Xmas Eve open house, from about 3-8. Each year the guests have been about 14-18 adults and about 16-18 children under the age of 10 (yikes, i know!). Most people stay for about 1 1/2-2 hours, some a bit more.
I have been trying to vary my recipes from year to year, keeping the ones that were surefire hits and adding new ones to the mix. Everything is of the appetizer sort. I also try to make a mix of cold/room temp offerings and things that are hot from the oven.

Here is my menu from last year:
Sweet and Sour Kielbasa (an oldie but goodie that always gets devoured)
Goat Cheese baked salsa with toasted pita chips (Rick Bayless)
Pinwheels stuffed with either Prosciutto or an olive tapenade (easy to make ahead)
Filo cups with mushroom saute (decadent and soooo tasty)
Roasted shrimp cocktail (Ina Garten, i think)
"cuke with a kick" finger sandwiches (cukes with a horseradish spread)
smoked salmon pate with crackers
Pimento Cheese with crackers and stuffed in cherry tomatoes (Bon Appetit Y'all)
crudites with dip

pecan balls (or mexican wedding cakes)
ginger trees
candy canes

Soooooo, what do you think? Last year, everything was eaten completely except for the salmon, the pimento cheese and the crudites.

Any suggestions for new things to try? Dishes that can be made 1-2 days ahead? Since everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen, I don't mind using the oven for a few things...I just don't want to be assembling things.

Thank you so much for any help!

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  1. First off, stick with what works -- kielbasa sounds like a real keeper.
    Meatballs always rock...either with a mushroomy cream sauce or something piquant. Finger sandwiches or open face sandwiches are always fun...chicken salad, tuna & veg, brown bread or fruit bread with cream cheese==good for adults and kids. We were once at an art gallery event where one of the artists and friends just made a huge amount of open face one-bites with all kinds of interesting stuff -- pretty, fun, inexpensive and you could enlist a couple friends day before.

    Maybe little mini-Sloppy Joes for kids using those tiny dinner rolls? Oyster stew is pretty very simple and elegant - not to everybody's taste, but I remember it from one party that had it for years and really looked forward to it ...otherwise maybe clam chowder in small cups (heated in a crock pot.)

    Spritz cookies are always a must at our holiday. I also really like bar cookies made with mincemeat, like a minipie.

    Or go wild and try making your own plum pudding --- quite delicious and you can literally start a month early and liberally moisten with brandy or whiskey. Sounds like a delicious spread, your friends are lucky!

    2 Replies
    1. re: berkleybabe

      Thanks! I really like the idea of having something warming up on the stove or in the crockpot. My husband and I make a good clam chowder and that would be nice and regional (i'm in western Mass). Or maybe a good , not too spicy chili with toppings.
      Also, any cookie that does not have melty chocolate in it would work for us....see: amount of young children!

      1. re: berkleybabe

        I know i've suggested this a million times but I still stand by it! slice thinly a roll of pepperoni and put into a crockpot with a #10 can of tomatoes; cookovernight... the pep sort of melts into the sauce and flavors the tomatoes...serve with 3-4" rolls cut in 1/2 but not all the way...nice bite

      2. Pesto-flavored hummus is always a hit at my parties. Just add some pesto to your standard hummus recipe. Add extra cheese if you'd like (that seems to go over big with my guests!) Can definitely be made ahead of time!

        1 Reply
        1. re: nofunlatte

          that's a good idea and kid-friendly too. I could do that in place of the dip I used with my crudites.

        2. If you have the $$$, roast a whole beef tenderloin to MR, then serve it cold, sliced, accompanied by french bread slices and good mustard and baby greens. When I did this, it disappeared quickly.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sandylc

            i wish we had the $$ to do that! maybe if we served nothing else....
            one year we made mini roast beef sandwiches with dijon mustard and diced the end of the evening we had so many of them left....

          2. The most successful thing I have served at such parties is a baked ham or half-ham with a basket of small rolls, cut partly through, and a variety of mustards. Let people carve off a bit of ham and make a sandwich. You can do the ham early in the day as it can sit out after it is baked so there is no immediate prep. I do see that a carving knife might be problematic at a party with 18 children.........

            1 Reply
            1. re: Querencia

              get the spiral -cut ham and the knife won't be a problem!

            2. Stuffed mushrooms are good both hot and at room temp, This is my favorite recipe-I make it often both for guests here and as a bring-along.


              I prefer fresh minced garlic instead of the garlic powder.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ErnieD

                that looks really tasty. i love stuffed mushrooms. i could also do this recipe and then do another dozen or so with a vegetarian filling. good idea.