Holiday Parties (from December 2009)

Each year, my husband and I host a neighborhood party after our church’s Christmas program. It’s a great time to get to know the people that live closest to us. This year, I had neighbors asking in October if we were planning on having our Christmas party again! My answer? “Of course.”

Some of the highlights from this year’s menu included the following:
Cookie Platters (from the neighbors – it’s always nice to be able to ask them to bring something if they want to, so have a list in your head before you send invitations)
Pretzels topped with Rolos and Pecans (place 1 Rolo candy on each pretzel, bake at 325F for 4 minutes, press pecan half on top of each candy, refrigerate till set; Note: remember to put parchment or wax paper under the candies before baking for easy removal; if you have kids, get them involved by letting them do this one for you!)
Bacon Wrapped Dates (cut each date in half, remove pits, wrap each half date in half a slice of bacon, securing with a toothpick, bake at 325F for 20-25 minutes; this was my favorite hors d’oeuvre this year)
Crackers with Cranberry Nut Cheese Spread (combine 1 package melted cream cheese, 1/4 c. chopped Craisins, and 1/4 c. chopped pecans)
Ricotta & Marmalade Topped Baguettes (slice fresh baguette into 1/4″ slices, top each with 1 tsp. ricotta and 1 tsp. orange marmalade; option: toast baguettes before spreading cheese and marmalade on top for an extra depth of flavor)
Roasted Veggie Penne (slice 1 red onion [or 1 leek], 2 summer squash, 2 zucchini, 1 green pepper, 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, and drizzle with olive oil and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, bake in lasagna pan at 450F for 15 minutes; meanwhile, cook 1 lb. whole wheat penne pasta according to box instructions; drain pasta, add 1 jar Ragu marinara sauce, 8 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese, and warm with pasta; toss into veggie pan, mixing well yet gently, top with 8 oz. mozzarella, sliced; return to oven and broil for 5-7 minutes, until cheese is brown on top; serve hot)
We had 16 guests and a wonderful time of food and fellowship! And, of course, we had a few leftovers. So, we were able to have friends over on Monday night for a Dinner & Movie Double Date to help us finish those off.
Happy Holidays!

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