It’s a Holiday Party!

Tis the Season to….have a Holiday Party! 

 

I love cooking, entertaining, and spending time with loved ones so what better way to do all of that than have a Holiday Party! It is a lot of work, time consuming, involves creativity, and can be very expensive, but I promise you can cut some corners (shhhhh).

 

Watermelon Feta Bites and Caprese Salad Bites
Firstly, I apologize for the picture above, as you can see I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture without someone digging in! Haha.  Anyways, on the left are watermelon feta bites (idea from Pinterest!), made with watermelon, feta cheese, basil and balsamic glaze drizzled on top.
I promised I would let you know how to cut corners price-wise, so here’s the first simple tip…when looking for watermelon at the grocery store, evaluate the different options.  I was first going to buy a pre-cut amount of watermelon but a large wedge of watermelon was actually a 3rd of the cost.  So I had to cut the wedge of watermelon into small squares but I saved money and I probably would’ve had to cut the pre-cut watermelon anways since they weren’t small enough.
On the right are bite size caprese salads.  Made with mozarella, basil, tomatoes and drizzled with balsamic glaze.  To cut down on time, I bought a container of fresh mozarella balls so all I needed to do was cut them in half.  I did something similar with the tomatoes, by buying a small container of grape tomatoes.
Chicken with Bow Tie Pasta and Shrimp with Lemon Orzo

 

When trying to come up with good foods to serve at a casual party I thought something easy to eat would be great.  Small portions work really well and are great for portion control too! Win-Win! So I used small clear plastic cups. I served two different alternatives.  One with chicken and bow tie pasta and one with shrimp and lemon orzo salad.
Tip alert! I went to one of my favorite grocery stores, The Fresh Market, and bought the grilled chicken, a large side of bow tie pasta and lemon orzo salad.  They also had a bag of frozen previously cooked shrimp (The Fresh Market brand).  So all I had to do was fill the cups with each side and place the chicken on the skewers as well as the thawed shrimp.  The grilled chicken didn’t need seasoning and with the shrimp I simply put some fresh lime juice on them.
 

 

What’s a party without sweets?? No party to me! Haha, In addition to the mini fondue set I had on the table with strawberries and marshmallows I also made red velvet cupcakes frosted with whipped cream cheese frosting and red and green sprinkles.  These were the first cupcakes I have ever made so give me a break 😉 but I used a mix from a box from the Fresh Market brand as well.  For my first cupcakes, they were OK but I know they will get better with time!
Other foods that were served:
–  Bacon wrapped dates (use dates with the pits inside and remove them yourself- I don’t know why but they just have a better quality than the ones you buy without the pits)
–  Goat cheese crostini made with crostini bread (you can buy these or make them buy slicing and toasting bread), goat cheese, fig jam, and prosciutto on top
–  Chocolate Fondue made by simply heating heavy whipping cream and semi sweet chocolate chips
–  Baked Brie with apricot filling served with Carr’s water crackers
~~~
Hosting a holiday party is a lot of fun and definitely gets you in the mood for the season!  I hope some of my tips and pictures will inspire you during this holiday season to host your own parties 🙂
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