HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

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

s
saintp Oct 2, 2011 01:43 PM

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
biscotti
clementines
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!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. b
    berkleybabe RE: saintp Oct 2, 2011 01:53 PM

    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
      s
      saintp RE: berkleybabe Oct 2, 2011 02:00 PM

      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
        b
        betsydiver RE: berkleybabe Oct 3, 2011 08:13 AM

        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. nofunlatte RE: saintp Oct 2, 2011 01:55 PM

        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
          s
          saintp RE: nofunlatte Oct 2, 2011 02:01 PM

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

        2. s
          sandylc RE: saintp Oct 2, 2011 07:43 PM

          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
            s
            saintp RE: sandylc Oct 3, 2011 05:03 AM

            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 onions....at the end of the evening we had so many of them left....

          2. q
            Querencia RE: saintp Oct 2, 2011 08:42 PM

            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
              b
              betsydiver RE: Querencia Oct 3, 2011 08:18 AM

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

            2. e
              ErnieD RE: saintp Oct 2, 2011 08:56 PM

              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.

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              I prefer fresh minced garlic instead of the garlic powder.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ErnieD
                s
                saintp RE: ErnieD Oct 3, 2011 05:05 AM

                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.

              2. Berheenia RE: saintp Oct 3, 2011 05:36 AM

                Instead of salmon pate try serving smoked salmon on a soft buttered french bread with a bowl of lemon pesto to drizzle. What was your crudite dip? You could try guacamole - it's never left over!
                So you live in Western Mass with all those wonderful small dairies! They must have some great cheeses and maybe eggnog? Do you serve alchohol? I'm planning on buying some Berkshire Bourbon for Christmas eggnog this year. I hear good things about the breweries in Great Barrington.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Berheenia
                  s
                  saintp RE: Berheenia Oct 3, 2011 07:32 AM

                  i don't remember what the dip was....something homemade. as for guacamole, that is a good idea....i was toying with the idea of having a mexican only menu but thought it might get a bit boring (although not boring for me!)

                2. e
                  elmdt1229 RE: saintp Oct 3, 2011 06:47 AM

                  Try pinwheels using 1 container cream cheese, 1 cup (more or less) crumbled feta, 1 cup dried cranberries and 2 chopped green onions. Mix and spread on flour tortillas, roll and let sit in frig, then cut in slices. I use spinach tortillas at Xmas.

                  Also for phyllo cups - Mix 6 oz. container of raspberry yoghurt, 8 oz of mascarpone cheese, 1 small can crused pineappler, drained. I usually put a raspberry on top but could use any piece of dried fruit or a sprig of mint. (A Giada recipe)

                  Sounds like a fun party!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: elmdt1229
                    b
                    betsydiver RE: elmdt1229 Oct 3, 2011 08:23 AM

                    a popular snack with my friends is a dill pickle covered w/ cream cheese,and then with thin sliced deli ham wrapped around it, cut into slices and serve

                  2. a
                    andieb RE: saintp Oct 3, 2011 07:44 AM

                    Another kid friendly, but adults devour as well is pigs in a blanket. Cocktail franks wrapped in puff pastry-simple to make and delicious!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: andieb
                      s
                      sandylc RE: andieb Oct 3, 2011 08:47 AM

                      Pigs in blankets are a good idea. I make a simple cream cheese pastry flavored with cayenne and dry mustard for these.

                    2. Sloth RE: saintp Oct 3, 2011 09:08 AM

                      Saw Christmas Lima Beans in my supermarket yesterday and had to buy them. For a party situation I'd make them in a stew with ham and serve in cups with spoons.
                      http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/...

                      Show Hidden Posts