Tag Archives: finger food idea

A New Holiday Party Idea for your New Year’s Celebration

New Years Day Open House

Start a new tradition for ringing in the New Year with an Open House!

One of the best times of the year to have a party is New Year’s Day. I’m not talking about New Year’s Eve – the one that goes on until well past the stroke of midnight. Although THOSE parties can be lots of fun.  I should know, I’ve hosted them for years, but they’re also a lot of work for the host.

There are so many ways to enjoy New Years. I know a lot of people who like to stay off the roads on New Year’s Eve – and for good reason: traffic, parking, drunks – just to name a few of the typical hassles. And, because of those reasons, many people have started some very lovely family traditions of ringing in the New Year from home.

One friend is a “Tubist.” Yep, he plays tuba for a living. He used to play at Disneyland, and once played for the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. His New Year’s tradition is to serenade his neighborhood with Auld Lang Syne right at midnight. I’ve heard that his neighbors come outside to applaud and cheer when he’s done.

But, what I’m talking about is a party ON New Year’s Day.  Picture a new tradition, an Open House on New Year’s Day. Invite people to come and go when they want. They can get there early for the Rose Parade, or crawl in at the second half of the Rose Bowl game.

The key to the idea is “keep it easy.”  If you’ve ever been out late New Year’s Eve, you know what I mean. You don’t want to have to “seriously entertain” bright and early the next day. But maybe, you’d love to drop by a friend’s home for a quiet(ish) morning(ish) get together.

Serve food that can be out all day so that people can come at different times. For the early arrivals have trays out with your favorite selections from your local deli: bagels, lox, cream cheese, capers, thinly sliced onion, and so on. Make sure that there’s a fresh pot of coffee and juice for those early birds.

And how about some easy finger food and snacks? I keep these near the entertainment center for my guests to munch on during the games.

One of my favorites is this Sweet and Spicy Pretzel and Nut Mix from one of my favorite food websites, Food52. A bowl of these will be on my coffee table this year.

I’ll also have a big pot of hearty Turkey Chili. This is another great recipe from Food52. You can easily cook it up the day before so that all you have to do is put it on the stove (or in your cooker set to the lowest temp).

Set the chili out with all of the toppings – sour cream, chopped red onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and salsa (of course). My favorite salsa is Salsa Casera from Herdez, which is great with anything. And don’t forget some cornbread from the market and a simple green salad.

This could be the start of a new tradition at your home: entertaining friends and family on New Year’s Day. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the parade and then all the football games!

Holiday Appetizers: hors d’oeuvres and finger foods, yum!

roasted grapes

Tips for making your holiday appetizers truly appealing.

Planning a holiday party? Start with all the ones you’ve seen – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why remember the bad and the ugly? Because, we don’t want to do that!

The best ones, I’m sure you’ll agree, are actually the most memorable. These are the ones where everything came together – from start to finish.

The ideal way to start ANY party (holiday, birthday, anniversary, anything!) is for guests to be greeted at the door with a cocktail and a tray of hors-d’oeuvres and finger foods.

It’s also important to have additional finger food out for your holiday parties so guests can snack at their leisure.  Do easy appetizers that don’t need to stay hot and taste great either warm or cold. That way it won’t matter when your guests arrive or how long the food is out (but definitely do not leave it out overnight).

Remember – you don’t always have to serve a seated dinner for your events. Some of the best holiday parties are appetizers only! No surprise, but a finger-food party is easy on guests as well as the host. Appetizers are prepared before guests arrive, they’re easier to eat, you don’t need forks and knives, and you definitely don’t need tables! In fact, when parties are all about the appetizers and finger foods, everybody is portable! That means you and your guests can walk around talking to each other.

Let me give you a couple of finger food ideas:

People love my fresh ricotta with roasted grapes on crostini. I’ve been serving these at my parties forever. They’re so easy and quick to prepare it’s crazy – the best appetizer recipes always are.  Use this recipe from one of my favorite websites – Alexandra’s Kitchen. To make the roasted grapes really sing, it’s important to have fresh ricotta. I follow the incredibly easy recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa.  You can use store bought fresh ricotta but when it’s this easy to make – why?

My other “can’t miss” party finger food is prosciutto wrapped asparagus. This is so easy that just about anyone with minimal kitchen skills can manage. Make sure you blanch the asparagus tips first – here’s a video I did for the easy way to blanch your veggies. Then you wrap the asparagus tips in prosciutto and quickly grill. This is one dish that definitely does not need to stay hot. The crispy prosciutto tastes great and is much easier to eat than when the prosciutto is not grilled.  They are so popular with my friends that I always make a lot – I don’t want to run out!

And, that’s the way to have a fun party!