Appetizers & Snacks / Dessert / Party Planning / Vegetarian

Happy New Year’s (Eve)!

It’s the last day of 2012, and what better way to spend it than making a bunch of food?

Well actually, I made a lot of the food for tonight’s schindig yesterday. Partly because I was bored and impatient, but mostly because it was stuff that stores well and is ideal for making ahead of time.

So what am I serving this evening? A bunch of easy, tasty finger food that (hopefully) everyone will enjoy. I opted for a variety of flavors and tried to offer some lighter choices rather than heavy traditional party food (pigs in a blanket, creamy artichoke dip, etc. etc.). I also kept most things vegetarian, aside from the sausage balls. In honor of the occasion, I added the fortune cookies for some good New Year’s luck 😉

Here’s a breakdown of the spread:

20121230_2124481. Jalapeño Onion Mini Quiches
I had a bunch of jalapeño peppers left over from the cranberry salsa I made, and I also have a Costco-sized box of Bisquick I really need to get rid of. Oh, and I got a free carton of eggs at QFC. So, I googled recipes that used jalapeño peppers and Bisquick and found this recipe  for mini Bisquick quiches that I figured would work perfectly. I followed the instructions for the mini muffins, and used diced jalapeño and red onion for my filling. I also sprinkled in a bit of shredded parmesan and topped each with a bit of salt & pepper. And guess what? 25 minutes later, I was left with super delicious mini muffin quiche thingies! I had to try one, just to make sure it wasn’t totally gross…thankfully it tasted pretty darn good, and they aren’t super spicy or anything, either! Before serving these, I’ll stick them in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm them up.

20121229_1423122. White Chocolate Dipped Fortune Cookies
Okay, this was so incredibly simple, but it looks like I put more effort into it than I actually did. All I had to do was go out and buy a container of fortune cookies (I went to Uwajimaya, where there were plenty of varieties to choose from). I had half a bag of Ghiradelli white chocolate chips left over from when I made oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies for Christmas Eve, so I used that as the chocolate coating. I microwaved the chocolate (in small batches, in 20 second increments) and added a tiny bit of canola oil to thin it out a bit (for easier coating). Then, I just dipped the fortune cookies in the bowl of chocolate and drizzled sprinkles over them by hand. I placed the finished ones on a lined baking sheet and stuck them in the fridge for an hour to harden.

3. Funfetti Rice Krispie Treats
Once again, so easy it’s hardly a recipe. All you do is make normal rice krispie treats, but add Funfetti cake mix to the marshmallow/butter combination before you add the cereal. (Use about 3/4 cup cake mix for a normal sized batch that calls for 6 cups of cereal). I also stirred in rainbow sprinkles with the cereal.

4. Apple, Fig, & Swiss Grilled Cheese
Not only are they fairly cheap to assemble, but these mini grilled cheese bites look somewhat fancy. I have fig butter already that I’d gotten from Trader Joe’s, so all I have to do is spread some of that on bread (I’m using wheat bread) and add a slice of swiss cheese and some thinly sliced Granny Smith apple. I haven’t made these yet, but I’m planning on grilling them at around 7:45 (guests are coming at 8) and keeping them warm in the oven (on a pan in an oven turned to 200F) before serving. Each full sandwich will be cut into 4 pieces for a perfect bite-sized snack.

5. Crudités with Eggplant Hummus & Curry Yogurt Dip
While it’s certainly easy to go buy a pre-assembled veggie tray, I prefer to assemble my veggies myself. I bought red and yellow bell pepper, baby carrots, broccoli florets, celery, and cherry tomatoes. I also put out black olives and pickle chips. Not only are veggies affordable as an appetizer, but they also offer a healthy alternative to the usual chips and creamy dips you tend to see at parties. To go with the veggies, I bought some eggplant hummus from Trader Joe’s (you could make your own, but I think theirs is absolutely delicious. Plus I’m mildly lazy). I also put together an easy curry yogurt dip from 1 cup plain nonfat greek yogurt, 1/2 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, and 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice.

20121231_1350596.  Spicy Sausage Balls with Apricot Yogurt Sauce
I made some sausage balls for Christmas as well, and they were a hit. While there are plenty of variations out there, I stuck with this recipe, which is simple yet super flavorful. For New Years, I spiced things up a bit by using hot sausage and Sriracha. They pack a punch, and they were something I could make hours ahead of time and warm up again before serving. For the spicy sausage balls, I used 1 lb of a local sausage brand’s spicy Italian sausage, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of jack, cheddar, and mozzarella), 1 1/3 cup Bisquick, about 2 tbsp Sriracha, about 1/4 cup milk, and some garlic salt and pepper. They baked in the oven at 375F for 20 minutes, on a foil-lined baking sheet. To go with the sausage balls, I wanted to counteract the heat a bit with a milder, creamy dipping sauce. The apricot sauce was simply 1/2 cup of nonfat plain greek yogurt, with 1/2 cup apricot preserves and a dash of cumin. For vegetarian guests, I also whipped up a sausage-free version that had broccoli and onion with cheese and Sriracha. I added an egg and adjusted amounts of milk/Bisquick/etc., and they came out more biscuit-y than the sausage balls (but still tasty!)

I also am serving the Chex Mix and Cranberry Salsa (w/ corn tortilla chips) that I previously posted the recipes for, and two store-bought items: Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza and Dilettante Chocolate Covered Fruit.

To keep food fresh and the right temperature, I’m staggering the appetizer and dessert items. Everything I made is easily reheated (if it’s supposed to be warm) and won’t taste bad at room temperature. Instead of making mass amounts of a few dishes, I went with making more dishes and smaller quantities; not everyone will want everything, and this way it a) looks like I made more food, and b) offers more variety. And who doesn’t like variety?

I’ll be sure to post better pictures of the food (and the decorations) tomorrow, as well as a rundown of how it all went! Not gonna lie, I kinda feel like Ina Garten (ugh) doing one of her swanky dinner parties. Except, not really.

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2 thoughts on “Happy New Year’s (Eve)!

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