I of course used some old favorites like cucumber bites for appetizers and feta dip for appetizers and holiday pretzels as well as thumbprint cookies for dessert but wanted to take the free time and hosting opportunities as a chance to try out some new things.
I've tried chocolates covered strawberries, pretzels, rice krispie treats before and I was terrible at getting the chocolate melted. It turns out, I'm still terrible. So is Derek. We managed to get it done but does anyone have any tricks???
Cake Batter Truffles:I could just go ahead and call this my new favorite dessert - or basically a simple cake pop without the pop part. Personally, I like the white chocolate type better but I did a little bit of each and we had zero left when holiday week was over.
+ 1 cup white cake mix
+ 1/2 cup flour
+ 1/2 cup sugar
+ 1/4 cup butter, melted
+ 1/2 teaspoon vanilla+ 2 tablespoons milk
+ white chocolate chips or candy melts
+ milk chocolate chips
Whisk together the cake mix, flour and sugar then stir in the melted butter, vanilla and milk. The mixture will be moist and you'll easily be able to mix into even balls. Refrigerate for about a half hour. Melt the chocolate, dip the truffle into the chocolate and roll it around with a fork for an even coat. Top with sprinkles.
I've wanted to make bark for the longest time and now I can see why people like it so much - this little dessert was so delicious. Like all my favorites, it was so easy. It probably took less than a half hour to make and it made a ton.
+ 15 oreos, broken into pieces
+ 1 1/2 cups pretzels, broken into pieces (the small skinny ones work best)
+ white chocolate chips or candy melts
Lay wax paper on a baking sheet and line with the oreo and pretzel pieces. Once the chocolate is melted, evenly drizzle over the mixture and then top with sprinkles (color for whatever your occasion may be - I used gold/silver for NYE). Let dry at room temperature or in the refrigerator until hardened. Break into pieces and enjoy.
Simple Chocolate Fudge:I'm trying to learn more and more of my mom's recipes and had been asking to make fudge but she said it was a lengthy recipe and I might just find something better and easier online and this one sure is easy. We cut this up into little pieces mixed with my holiday chocolate pretzels for Derek to take into his coworkers before Christmas.
+ 3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
+ 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
+ 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan with the sweetened condensed milk and pinch of salt slowly on low heat. Once melted then remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Line an 8x8 baking dish with wax paper (let some hang out the edge - it will be easier to pull out) and pour the mixture into the dish. Let cool and refrigerate for two or more hours (I let mine sit overnight). Take the fudge mixture out of the pan and cut into small squares.
Mimosa Punch:I've mentioned our family Christmas drink before - Christmas Cheer - but that's a little bit strong for first thing in the morning. I wanted something special to enjoy while opening presents and found this mimosa punch to try - it was a hit amongst everyone and the punch bowl was clear by the time the afternoon rolled around.
+ orange juice
+ grand marnier
+ ginger ale
+ strawberry and orange slices
Other than a bottle of champagne and about 3/4 cup of grand marnier, I didn't use any other specific measurements - just really my judgement because you can't go wrong! Just make sure to get enough OJ and ginger ale in there to balance out the mixture. The fresh fruit floating on top is the perfect touch. You can even splash the top of your glass with an additional splash of champagne if you'd like.
Pepperoni Dip:It's no secret we love dips and I won't pass up any occasion to test one out. We had "day after Christmas dinner" at my parents' house on the 26th and I was in charge of an appetizer so I went with this along with some red/green peppers for dipping to be festive.
+ one 8 ounce package light cream cheese
+ one can cream of mushroom soup
+ one pepperoni (cut into pieces)
+ parmesan cheese for topping
+ pepper slices, fritos and/or tostitos for dipping
It can't get much simpler with three main ingredients but just put everything into a small crockpot and cook on low for about 1-2 hours until creamy with stirring occasionally. Turn up to high if you're in a time pinch.
Kielbasa & Pineapple Bites:Kielbasa is a staple for happy hours at the lake during the summer and & of my best friends made this appetizer for a Thanksgiving gathering and it was delicious so I just had to try. Plus a lot of the ingredients for the glaze, you'll probably already have in your kitchen.
+ turkey kielbasa
+ 14 ounce can pineapple slices (you won't need them all but save the juice)
+ 3 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
+ 1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce
+ 1 teaspoon honey
+ 1 teaspoon pineapple juice (from the can of slices)
Put one piece of kielbasa with one pineapple slice onto a toothpick and place onto a baking sheet. Combine all the liquid ingredients into a small bowl to create the glaze then brush the mixture onto each bite. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees. Enjoy (there wasn't one left on the platter).