Throwing parties for the holidays is a long-honored tradition. Unfortunately, being elaborate can creep in as well. The tendency is to make it bigger, better and more fabulous than the last one. This causes holiday dread like none other. But relief is in sight! The trend now is to make smaller, warmer and more casual get-togethers. People are looking for a relaxing break from the holiday pace with good friends and great food.
Yours can be the party all remember if you follow some simple guidelines.
(1) Homemade offerings lend warmth and love like store-bought just can’t match. Plus, a little goes a long way. Here’s a suggestion: Buy large croissants, some turkey and/or ham and cheese and build sandwiches. By cutting them in half, you can double your portions, while maintaining good sandwich size. Made by a deli? Upwards of $30. A tray of 24 halves made yourself costs less than half. Offer a selection of mayos and mustards, with optional lettuce and tomato slices.
(2) Think small portions. People love to enjoy a tasting of numerous items. Just like cutting the sandwiches in half, you can make pinwheels for delicious small bites. Easier to prepare than they look, all you need is extra large tortillas, flavored cream cheese, some deli-sliced ham and/or turkey, good cheese, leaf lettuce and tomato. (Of course, the veggies are optional.) Spread the cream cheese on the tortillas, layer the ingredients, roll tight, hold with toothpicks and slice into delicious pinwheels. A tray of 100 pinwheels made yourself costs around $20. Made by a deli? Upwards of $80.
(3) Fruit is a welcome alternative to heavy, sugary holiday treats. Making a fruit basket is a beautiful way to display pleasing selections. Not only is it more cost-effective to make yourself, fruit baskets can be fun. One trick is to buy fruit that will not brown when exposed to the air. (Avoiding fruits like apples eases preparation.) Using a container such as a large decorative pot or vase, place a head of lettuce (cut to fit) inside. Using bamboo skewers, string cut fruit, such as pineapple, honeydew, strawberries, grapes and cantaloupe. Then push the skewers into the lettuce. To make attractive shapes, slice the pineapple and melons, and use cookie cutters in various sizes. Or employ a wave or crinkle cutting knife. A large basket, holding over 100 skewers made yourself costs around $20. Made by a specialty company? Upwards of $80.
Here is a photo of one that we made for one of our staff meetings.
Of course, there are dozens more examples of inexpensive, yet delectable offerings you can pair for the perfect meal. Dare to stray from traditional holiday fare. Guests are sure to enjoy the change of tastes and textures. And you’ll be able to enjoy treating yourself for being so creative!
Written by: SavingsAngel Di (blog angel) on September 26, 2011.