Holiday Helper

*From the booklet “Festivities, Feasts and Fun”.

Creating the Perfect Party Ambience

  • set up a few different food tables to avoid crowding.

  • to showcase your appetizers, place different sized boxes underneath your tablecloth and use a variety of serving dishes to give your display dimension and visual appeal.

  • cook up a heavenly holiday scent by boiling 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 bay leaves, 1 sliced lemon, 1 orange peel and 4 cups of water, an hour before guests arrive.

  • if your freezer gets full, use your empty dishwasher to store ice. Make sure you’ve run your dishwasher through a rinse cycle before filling it with the ice. Because it’s insulated, the ice should stay cold, and any melting goes straight down the drain.

Shrimp with Style

Create an elegant ice bowl to keep your seafood sauce and shrimp chilled and looking scrumptious. Line a bowl with holly, herbs or berries then place a smaller bowl inside. Place a piece of tape across the bowls to keep the smaller bowl in place and prevent it from floating too high. Fill the space between the two bowls with water and freeze overnight. Let the bowl sit out for a few minutes the next day - when the ice bowl starts to “sweat” a little, it will easily slip out. Keep the ice bowl frozen until your party starts. A five-inch ice bowl will last for about three hours at room temperature.

Appetizer Tips

Whem planning your appetizer-only party it’s good to think of hors d’oeuvres as separate “courses”. Fresh vegetables, toasted pitas, crackers, cheese and dips make for perfect starters.

Next, bring out the smoked salmon, shrimp and seafood sauce. For your appetizer “entrée”, hot pastries filled with spicy beef or tangy cheddar, chicken wings, sweet n’ sour meatballs and vegetarian quiches are hearty choices.

Finally, end on a sweet note with cookies, pastries and chocolates.

Variety is the spice of life, especially at an appetizer-only party. Guests should not only have enough to eat, they should have more than enough selections to choose from:

8-10 guests: serve 3 types of appetizers (1 hot, 2 cold)

12-16 guests: serve 4 to 5 types appetizers (half hot, half cold)

18-30 guests: serve 6 types of appetizers (half hot, half cold)

32-46 guests: serve 7 types of appetizers (3 hot, 4 cold)

46+ guests: serve 8 types of appetizers (half hot, half cold)

The number of appetizers you serve depends on the time of day and the type of party. Keep this chart handy - it’ll help you plan how many appetizers you’ll need for your holiday get together:

Dinner party with a cocktail hour: 6 appetizers per person

Early evening cocktail party without dinner: 12 appetizers per person

Late evening cocktail party: 8 appetizers per person including dessert pastries