As 2011 whines down, we start doing a lot of partying. Family and friends get together much more at this time of the year than any other. There are many Christmas and other holiday parties to start the season off and they are followed by all the football bowl games and of course the big one - New Year's Eve! Whether you are hosting some of these events or attending them at different locations, food and drink are a big part of these happenings.
Remember to do your planning if you're hosting one of these fun times. In doing that planning, try to offer a good variety and items that make sense, both seasonally and functionally. Mix up the heavy and light type dishes, the hot, cold or room temperature recipes, the sweet and non-sweet items, finger foods and those requiring a utensil to set a great spread for your guests. You'll want both a variety of alcohol and non-alcohol beverages too.
Now don't kill yourself putting on your function. You don't have to make everything from scratch, mix and match bought items, semi-homemade and some made-from-scratch dishes. The same goes in the beverage department. A mix of sodas, beers, wines and a homemade punch (both alcoholic & non), drink making station or two gives plenty of choice.
In the food area, soups or chili make for a great comfort food this time of year. Depending on the type of party you are throwing, real dishes or disposable ones can handle the need. Mini sandwiches, either a pre-made or a make your own setup work well too. Dips of one kind or another using vegetables, chips (variety) or crackers are always popular with party goers. Cheese trays, Antipasto platters and relish dishes add easy foods to this type of party too.
And don't forget the sweets! Cookies, bars, candies and nuts (both sweetened and not) are just a few items for this category (bought or made).
But there are many other types of new and interesting foods to try and many cookbooks or websites to give you ideas. Just remember that you are only limited by Your Taste Buds and Imagination when it comes to partying. From those famous words of Wayne and Garth "Party On!"
Speaking of cookbooks, I'll list a few ideas for your parties from my own.
For soups: Barry's Chili (no beans), Chili (ground beef & beans), Dave's Green Chili, Hearty Vegetable Beef and Robinson's Hearty Hodgepodge.
For sandwiches: Bacon Dogs, Italian Sausage w/Peppers & Onions, Meatball Subs and Taverns (sloppy joes)
For party food (Odds N' Ends chapter): Hot Crab Dip, Mexican Hot Dip, Nadine's Corn & Black Bean Salsa and Spinach & Artichoke Dip. If you have the money, try the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp.
Tomorrow's blog will have a couple of recipes for food items and Friday's will have a few drinks. Enjoy the season and may your football team win if they're in a bowl game.