Sunday, December 9, 2012

Entertaining at Home for the Holidays

So I have never EVER thought of myself as any sort of good cook - I am a "kids menu" type of eater...mac-n-cheese, cereal, mini corn dogs... haha

So...I can say I was a little bit stressed yesterday when I hosted about 12 people at my house for the very first time since we have moved in! I was not so nervous about everyone in the was the food that worried me! Good food makes all the difference when having people over...if the food is gross, who would want to stay over for dinner?

So I made a few things that seemed really simple and I want to share them with you! 

We started with a few easy finger foods out on the counters when people were arriving...

1. Pizza Roll Ups
(I give credit for these to the amazing teacher I work with who talked about them at lunch this week)
To make these, use Pillsbury croissant triangle. Roll in a few pepperonis (I used 4 thin pepperonis for each one) and then break up cheese. Roll it up, cook it for the time listed on the croissant can, and DONE :) Have some spaghetti sauce for dipping and it makes a great meal starter!
(I used 3 different really is just whatever is your preference)

2. Strawberry Jam and Brie on a Baguette
This is the most amazing finger food EVER! These were a huge hit and there were not any left after the gathering! So delicious!
I learned this from a woman at Publix who had them created and was giving them out near the deli when I went food shopping. SO perfect for a party!
All you do is buy a deli baguette and have them slice it at the store for you. Then I used strawberry (seedless) jam and a fresh cut piece of brie cheese. I put a small amount of jam on each piece of the baguette, then scooped another small amount of brie on each piece (be sure not to use the hard outside portion of the cheese). Place on a cookie sheet and in the oven at 350 degrees for just 5 minutes to warm them! These even re-heated really well later on after they had gotten a bit cold when sitting out.

3. Sloppy Joe Under the Bun
"Classy Joe"
Credit to my mom, who taught me this recipe!
So I made 2 of these, but really only needed one because of all of the finger foods we had.
Use a 13x9 inch pan
Cook about 2 lbs of lean chopped meat. Strain and mix a 15.5 ounce can of the sloppy joe sauce in with it. Spread the meat mixed with sauce in a thin layer over the bottom of the pan. Then use 2 cups of Bisquick baking mix, 2 eggs, and 1 cup of milk. Mix these in a separate bowl. Once mixed up, pour this directly over the meat. Place the tray in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes (depending on your oven - ours was 30 minutes) or until the top is golden like the picture above.
This is a great dish for when you have to feed lots of people because it is filling and tasty! It also reheats really well if you have leftovers!

4. Pretzel and Peppermint Bark
In a Ziploc bag, break up salted pretzels into smaller pieces. In a different Ziploc, crush peppermint candy canes into very small pieces (the smaller the better, because it is hard to bite into larger pieces of candy cane). Melt 2 or 3 bags of white chocolate chips in the microwave. Mix all of these items in a mixing bowl. 
Place parchment paper over a cookie sheet. Once everything is mixed really well, pour the mixture over the parchment paper and spread it into a thin layer over the cookie sheet (on the parchment paper). Place it in the refrigerator to harden. 
Once it is hard enough (about 45 minutes is usually enough), take it out of the fridge and break it up in to smaller pieces. 

Tie it up in a gift bag with a ribbon as a great holiday gift!

Well I hope you find these useful as the holidays are coming and you may have some dinners to host! :) These are all super easy, I promise!!! 
Let me know if you have any questions about how to make these dishes above.