Tag Archives: entertaining

A Fitting Snack for Holiday Festivities

Accommodating all Your Guests Tastes

The to-do list for holiday hosts seems to be a never-ending one, starting with planning, guest lists and preparation then ending with goodbyes and cleanup. The hours of work that go into a festive get-together are almost always worth it in the end, and family members surely appreciate the hospitality—especially when it comes to food. 

When hosting for the holidays, it can be a challenge to accommodate all of your guests’ favorite tastes while factoring in dietary preferences and restrictions. Building out a balanced menu, like other parts of hosting, starts with devising a thought-out plan. 

To help accomplish this task without cooking up personal dishes for everybody in the house, consider these simple tips: 

Request that guests RSVP. Assuming you have a basic understanding of which friends and family members adhere to special diets, knowing exactly who is coming can be a major help before heading to the store. 

Think back to past festivities. Try to remember which dishes were hits at last year’s party, and which ones were hardly touched. Maybe the appetizers that disappeared in a flash will be good ideas to repeat this year. 

Create dishes that fit (almost) everyone. While you can’t control guests’ flavor preferences, it is possible to whip up snack trays, main courses, desserts and more that fit a multitude of dietary restrictions. For example, these Bacon, Baked Brie and Cranberry Holiday Melts feature Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers for a gluten-free, non-GMO, low-sugar, tasty crunch. Because they’re made with wholesome ingredients, these simple snacks are crafted to fit nearly every healthy lifestyle. Plus, if multiple family members adhere to vegetarian lifestyles, you can simply omit the bacon. (Crunchmaster Crackers can be found at EarthFare.) 

Add “warning” labels. Despite your best efforts, it can be nearly impossible to create foods every single person can enjoy. If you make a dish containing a common allergen, such as peanuts, simply place a card next to the bowl, tray, plate or pan that informs guests of the ingredients included. 

For other recipes, coupons, tips and nutritional information, visit www.crunchmaster.com

 

Bacon, Baked Brie and Cranberry Holiday Melts 

Prep time: 10 minutes    Cook time: 5 minutes   Servings: 6 

 

24 Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers, Sea Salt flavor 

24 small slices Brie cheese 

1/4 cup prepared cranberry sauce 

2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 

Heat broiler to high and position rack in center of oven. Arrange crackers in single layer on foil-lined baking sheet. 

Top each cracker with slice of Brie, 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce and sprinkle of bacon. Broil 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 

Tip: For vegetarian option, substitute chopped hickory-smoked almonds or pecans for bacon. 

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 13 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 350 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrates; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 10 g protein.

5 Hacks for Holiday Hosting

Simplify your holiday entertaining. 

It may feel impossible to fit even more into already jam-packed days, but when the holidays roll around, entertaining and celebrating always find a way. Fortunately, you can find some shortcuts when hosting that offer plenty of festive style while also helping you avoid stressing over every detail. 

This year, rely on some time-saving hacks so you’re not just throwing the holiday party, but enjoying some seasonal fun of your own. 

Repurpose with purpose. There’s no need to make time for a trip to the store or to spend a bundle on party supplies. A pretty, oversized flowerpot or planter that has been cast aside for winter makes a perfect tub for icing down beverages. When it comes to decor, you can cover any old box with some of last year’s leftover holiday paper to add some colorful touches around the home. A similar idea: wrap canvas art or other frames in pretty paper to extend the theme up the walls. 

Make easy attractive. Most holiday celebrations center on the food, but it’s still an area where you can shave some time. For example, a simple but attractive option is to forgo the family china and opt for gorgeous disposable plates and utensils. (Chinet Classic White has a wide range of products designed for practical use. They do not bend, fold or leak, and are strong enough for extra helpings no matter the occasion. And for a more elegant affair, the Chinet Cut Crystal collection is the only fully coordinated line of disposable plates, cups, cutlery and wineglasses.) Guests will barely realize they’re not using the good china, but you’ll definitely notice when you’re able to skip time at the sink to spend more precious moments with your loved ones. 

Fill the freezer. Whether your holiday entertaining is more impromptu in nature or you host a single sizable shindig, keeping a well-stocked freezer can help make hosting a cinch. Dedicate an afternoon to preparing items you can easily defrost and serve later, like casseroles, appetizers, side dishes and desserts. 

Forgo fussy food. An elegant sit-down meal isn’t the only way to enjoy a holiday gathering. Guests may even appreciate a break from traditional heavier fare. Simple food stations, finger foods and even store-bought meals are all time-saving alternatives. Another time-saving option: dressing up store-bought food as part of a larger spread. For example, you can top side dishes like mashed potatoes with olive oil or butter and sprinkle with cheese or embellish a main course such as ham with rosemary sprigs and fresh fruit. 

Keep cleanup simple. For a festive, yet deceptively easy table, consider using kraft paper as tablecloths and let some of that leftover wrapping paper do double-duty as table runners. Simply cut the wrapping paper to your desired length and fold the edges under to create clean seams. Match the DIY table coverings with a coordinated line of disposable tableware to make cleaning up a cinch. 

Explore more hacks to simplify your holiday entertaining at www.mychinet.com

Seasonal Treats with a Secret Ingredient!

Crisp fall days call for flavorful desserts that warm you from the inside out. There’s no better way to capture the flavor of fall than with dishes that celebrate traditional seasonal favorites like cinnamon, spice and tart, juicy apples.

These desserts are perfect for entertaining, and a secret ingredient makes them quick and easy so you have plenty of free time to work up an appetite and earn an extra bite (or two). Apple butter is more than just a spread for toast; it’s a versatile ingredient that can enhance your favorite recipes. With Musselman’s Apple Butter, made the old-fashioned way for perfect texture and a deep, rich flavor, you can make it simple to satisfy your craving for a taste of autumn at its best.

Find more fall tips and recipes perfect for sharing with your family at musselmans.com.

Caramel Crumble Bars
1          box (15 1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix, dry
1/2      cup butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3/4      cup Musselman’s Apple Butter, plus 3 tablespoons
1          egg
1          package (11 ounces) caramels, unwrapped
2/3      cup walnuts, chopped
2/3      cup flaked coconut, sweetened
2          tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 13-by-9-inch baking pan. With electric mixer on low speed, beat dry cake mix and 1/2 cup softened butter until mixture is crumbly. Spoon 1 cup cake mix mixture into medium bowl; set aside. Add 3/4 cup apple butter and egg to remaining mixture. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Spread evenly into pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until starting to brown and top is set. Place caramels, 2 tablespoons butter and remaining apple butter in microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth and melted.

Pour caramel mixture evenly over partially baked crust. If caramel has cooled and set, microwave 1 minute until soft and pourable.

Combine walnuts, coconut and 2 tablespoons melted butter with reserved cake mix mixture. Mix until crumbly. Break up topping and sprinkle evenly over caramel. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until topping is starting to brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

 

Easy Apple Pie Bars
Nonstick cooking spray
7          cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
1          cup Musselman’s Apple Butter
1 1/2   teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1/2      cup brown sugar
2          frozen pie crusts, defrosted
1          egg white
2          tablespoons sugar
1/2      teaspoon ground cinnamon
1          cup powdered sugar
2          tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place diced apples in large mixing bowl. Add apple butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and brown sugar. Mix until apples are evenly coated. Place one pie crust in bottom of greased pan. Slowly stretch out crust to cover pan’s bottom. Cut some edges off, if necessary. Spread apple filling evenly over crust.

With rolling pin, roll second crust to make it same size as pan. Place second crust on top of apple pie filling and tuck down edges to cover.

To make topping: In small bowl, whisk egg white until foamy and brush over crust. In another bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over crust. Bake 50-60 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting.

To make glaze: In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and remaining vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled bars and serve.

Source: Musselman’s Apple Butter/Family Features