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Your easiest, lowest-maintenance, delicious New Year's Eve casual party type-dishes

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So sorry, I know this has been asked and answered probably a hundred different ways over the years, maybe already even this year, but I'm looking for some super delicious super low-effort nosh-y type food for a small gathering for New Years Eve. It will be all adults, but all family, so while I want the food to be delicious, I don't need for it to be really fancy or impressive just surprisingly delicious for a small amount of effort.

I was think of doing goodhealthgourmet's famous black bean dip,

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5881...

and maybe that chocolate torte from Italian Easy (or is it Italian Too Easy??? Can't remember which...) http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Maybe the La Brea Tar Pit chicken wings from the YELLOW Gourmet "yesterday" cookbook.

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

What else do I need?

Thank you so much for your ideas! And Happy New Year to all of you!

~TDQ

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  1. I've made variations of those wings and they're delicious.

    What about a smoked salmon mousse? I mix it up ahead of time and put it in a zip lock bag. Snip the corner and pipe onto cucumber round, toast, bagel bits, etc.

    My favorite is to devein shrimp, put a sliver of jalapeno in that, wrap in bacon, secure w/ toothpick, place on baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to go. Sprinkle w/ brown sugar and bake, about 425 for about 10-12 mins. It's spicy, sweet, salty in one nice bite. For kids (and big adults), use hot dogs instead of shrimp and omit jalapeno.

    If you live near a Costco, you could do a very easy panzanella salad--buy their crusty bread and cut into bite sized pieces, toss w/ olive oil, salt and bake in oven, cool. Using their bocconcini in oil and herbs, toss w/ balsamic vinegar and grape/cherry tomatoes. Mix w/ bread and toss. Add prosciutto before serving, if desired. It doesn't have to be Costco food but their bocconcini makes it easy because it has the olive oil and herbs.

    Happy new year!

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser

      Do you have a favorite recipe for that smoked salmon mousse, chowser?

      ~TDQ

      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I fool around w/ it, but something along these lines:

        http://allrecipes.com/recipe/smoked-s...

        I've also done it w/ creme fraiche, capers, finely chopped onions, whatever catches my eye. Just mix and taste. Use the cream or creme fraiche to get the consistency you want.

    2. Perhaps Epi's Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms? Easy to make ahead of time and just put them in the oven before guests arrive...these are mighty delish!

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

      1. Spinning off on the two prior threads - both of these apps are so yummy and easy.

        Stuffed jalapeno poppers - Filling is simply a mixture of cream cheese and bacon. Topping is a mixture of panko and grated parm. Split in 1/2 and and derib and deseed. Fill each and then dip the stuffed jalapeño into the panko crumb mixture cream cheese side down. Bake for approx. 15-20 minutes at 375. You can also run under the broil to brown the panko.

        Stuffed Mushrooms:
        2 packages of 8 oz cream cheese blocks
        1 package of dry ranch seasoning (dry dressing packet)
        1/4 cup mayo
        2 tablespoons minced onion
        2 tablespoons dry parsley
        1/4 cup grated cheese
        Blend all of the ingredients together. Stuff the mushrooms and cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
        Use 3 packages of mushrooms and there may be a few mushrooms left over.

        (If you wanted to cook both at the same time, I would also put the poppers in at 350 and adjust time accordingly).

        1. One of my favorite recipes, always impresses my guests. Incredibly simple, and delicious. Pistachios can be changed for walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds. I think the color of pistachios looks best though.

          Grape truffles with goat cheese and pistachios
          Yield: 6-8 servings
          Pistachio nuts, shelled, rough chopped 1 cup (1½ pounds)
          Goat cheese 8 ounces
          Grapes, seedless, stems removed and wiped clean 24 each
          1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
          2. Spread nuts on an un-greased baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7-9 minutes. Remove from the oven allow to cool. In the blender or food processor process nuts until finely chopped.
          3. Put a ½ tablespoon of the goat cheese in the palm of one hand an in it roll a grape, shaping the mixture around the grape to coat it. Repeat the process with the remaining grapes and chill on a sheet pan for 30 minutes.
          4. Roll the cheese-coated grapes in the nut mixture to cover completely and chill for 30 minutes or until the coating is firm.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Marianinha

            I've never heard of grape truffles. They sound amazing!

            ~TDQ

          2. I had a few families over for a very casual Hanukkah get-together last week and I made this smoked-salmon pizza...sort of.

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

            Instead of using the pizza crust, I bought wonton wrappers and made little cups (so easy!) and the filled them with a little of the cream cheese mixture and put a small piece of smoked salmon on top. It was all made ahead of time and just assembled shortly before serving. It was very impressive looking. I didn't use this recipe, but this is sort of what it looked like.

            http://www.cookincanuck.com/2010/11/s...

            Additionally, I have always made sweet and sour meatballs from scratch but at the last minute, I decided to make the (gasp, I can't believe I am admitting this!) grape jelly/chili sauce meatballs. 3 ingredients...frozen cocktail meatballs (I got them at Trader Joe's), a large jar of grape jelly, and 2 bottles of Heinz chili sauce. People on various sites always seem to be saying how good they are and, like I said, I have always made them from scratch, but I must admit...these were good! My friends were devouring them. I wanted to believe that my homemade ones were better, but these were just as good!

            7 Replies
            1. re: valerie

              they are good and I make them w/frozen meatballs and people devour them. I made them this year w/chili sauce and cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray) ~~ they always are a big hit. sigh.

              1. re: laliz

                do you think it could be made with mini sausages?

                1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                  I have not tried it myself but some say it is tasty.

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/353927

                  1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                    I make it with kielbasa and it is yum!

                2. re: valerie

                  I keep reading about these meatballs. I think I might have to break down and try them. I'm not too proud to use frozen cocktail meatballs these days. :), especially if you're saying they are just as good as homemade.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    The meatballs are surprisingly good and are always one of the first things to go. Easy to do in a crockpot, too. I've also made them all from scratch and I've used IKEA meatballs. The IKEA ones hold up better (because I bake my meatballs, not fry). You can also do it w/ those little franks.

                    1. re: chowser

                      I think you are right in that the TJ's meatballs that I bought were much "sturdier" than the ones that I make. When I make from scratch, I don't bake or fry...I cook the meatballs in the sauce and they are much softer. They wouldn't survive on toothpicks like the frozen ones did.

                3. For me NYE nibbles means three categories: dips/made ahead apps/sweets

                  Dips-Depending on how many you're expecting maybe another dip? Baked spinach and artichoke is usually a party pleaser and can be made ahead and baked when required.

                  Apps-Perhaps add either empanaditas, spanakopita or a puff pastry app(tourtiere/brie) in addition to the wings? Each can be made ahead and depending on how far ahead-frozen & baked when needed.(a little time consuming but if you cheat and use empanada wrappers it's really just fill, crimp and seal)

                  Desserts- Since you have a plan for something chocolate, perhaps something easy that's not chocolate? http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/07/...

                  Happy New Year TDQ :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maplesugar

                    Right on the money---great suggestions.

                    1. re: maplesugar

                      That easy jam tart of Lebovitz's is calling my name. I was looking for something to do with quince actually. And I love that he's put a little cornmeal in the crust!

                      And Happy New Year to all of you, too.

                      ~TDQ

                    2. A good container of hummus. Pita bread cut in triangles. Good feta cheese w/a drizzle of good olive oil. Antipasti platter made w/purchased olives, hearts of palm, mozzarella, roasted peppers, tuna in olive oil. Bowl of pistachios. Fast and easy and it goes with most other things (unless you're serving Asian food).

                      1. What about pizza/flat bread with fancy toppings? I like blue cheese-caramelized onion-bacon or goat cheese - fig - walnut - honey or butternut squash - hazelnut - blue cheese. I brush the crust with olive oil or heavy cream. Prep is minimal and can be done in advance, cooking is quick and they still taste good at room temp with champagne after midnight.

                        I also love a roasted vegetable platter with a dip - easy and always seems elegant.

                        The rest of your menu sounds awesome, it sounds like my type of party!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: corneygirl

                          i was going to throw out a flatbread too - basic dough brushed with olive oil, topped with grape halves. bake halfway, add blue cheese, finish. drizzle with honey and top with toasted chopped walnuts or hazelnuts.

                          other thoughts:

                          -Bonnie's Buffalo Dip - so not gourmet, but bang for your buck and always a hit

                          -Baked Brie Wheel en Croute - brush with apricot jam, sprinkle with toasted pistachios, and wrap in puff pastry. bake til golden

                          -Salmon Mini Croquettes - mix canned salmon broken up, with cooked diced onions (i'll even sometimes nuke/steam em... shhhh), egg, almond meal, salt, pepper, and diced parsley. form little mounds or press into mini muffin molds and bake. i like to serve with a creamy lemon drizzle, but they pair well with almost anything.

                          -Stuffed Endive Leaves - i mix goat cheese with diced cooked onion (share with the salmon croquettes), chopped roasted garlic, lemon zest, parsley, chopped pistachios, almond meal, S & P, and drizzle with a lemon white wine vinaigrette

                          -Roasted Balsamic Vegetables

                          -Broiled Plum slices (or whatever you have in season near you) - topped with an Amaretto Ricotta whip

                          -Mini quiches or frittata - the latter infinitely simple and flexible.

                          1. re: Emme

                            I've never heard of broiled plum slices, but I'm dying to try them now!

                            ~TDQ

                        2. You have to tell us what you end up serving. Happy New Year.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: mommystar

                            Emme What temperature do you use for the salmon mini croquettes? And how long do you bake them? Thank you!

                            1. re: Bethcooks

                              350 - 375 depending upon size and shape. sometimes start lower and turn it up to brown.

                            2. re: mommystar

                              Well, it turns out my New Year's Eve party got scrapped, so I won't be serving any of these dishes for NYE, alas. However, I do have a small group that will be meeting regularly at my house starting in January. All of these ideas are so fantastic, I think I'm just going to work my way down the list a few at a time.

                              Thank you so much, everyone. Love all the ideas, stuffed mushrooms, grape truffles, salmon mousse, hummous, roasted vegetables. Lots of good stuff in here!

                              ~TDQ