Christmas Party Time

Tis the Season to be with great friends! The highlight of the holidays, for me, is spending time with all my favorite people. So we have a party! I referenced all my party notes from last year (you can find them on the blog at this post) to decide on how to move forward with planning this party. I kept some recipes, had some offerings from the roomies, and tried some new stuff! Read on to see the recipes!

Group photo!

Prep Photos
(L): Patrick piping in deviled egg filling. I requested he use his cake decorating tips to give the eggs a little extra flair.
(r): Tim icing his sugar cookies

Party Photos
(top row, L): Sweets area--sugar cookies, fondue with dipping supplies that included angel food cake, pretzels, bananas, and strawberries
(top row, r): Punch area! 
(bottom row, L): Drinks area and crackers with cheese ball 
(bottom row, r): Savory area--shrimp cocktail, meatballs, tortellini skewers, deviled eggs, and spinach balls

As you can see from these few photos I tried to group together my assortment of goodies and spread them out a little. I put them in different areas of the kitchen to allow movement and create a nice flow for the party among our friendly guests! The sweets and punch were on different ends of the kitchen table. The savory area was on the island and then the drinks were on the kitchen counter.

Sweets area--Tim made sugar cookies just like his mom always makes. She uses a popular recipe called Ethel's Sugar Cookies (which is originally from a Betty Crocker cookie book and can be found here). He iced them and then sprinkled them with green and red sugar sprinkles.
    I made our fondue recipe from the blog and a boxed angel food cake. 

Punch area--This is the same party punch from last year which came to us via Food Network's Sandra Lee. Remember when I put cranberries in my flower pieces? (Refresh your memory here.) Well when I was shopping I wasn't sure how many cranberries I needed then and bought too many. I threw the extras in the freezer thinking I could use them here. I'm not sure they kept the punch any cooler but they were a fun conversation piece!

Drinks area and crackers with cheese ball--Self explanatory!

Savory area--Patrick picked up shrimp cocktail and prepared Italian meatballs from Costco. To the meatballs we added Giada's Simple Tomato Sauce. We actually made the sauce in the crockpot, let it simmer, used the immersion blender, and then added the meatballs to warm up about an hour before the party! 
    Tortellini skewers were made like last year. For the dipping sauce I spooned some of Giada's sauce from the meatballs into a small dipping bowl and served next to the tortellini.
    If you're going to make deviled eggs you might as well follow a recipe from Paula Deen! There was no butter in this recipe however. Find her recipe here. I didn't really change anything except enlisting the help of Patrick to fill the eggs. 
    Finally the spinach balls were a contribution from Ryan and a hit! Here's the recipe with his notes at the bottom in italics.
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups crushed italian croutons
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl combine spinach, stuffing mix, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, black pepper, Italian seasoning, melted butter and eggs. Shape into walnut-sized balls and place on a baking sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until heated through and browned.
I tripled the recipe for the party. I think each batch probably makes 25 or so, depending on how you roll them. I used a rounded tablespoon for each ball.

This wraps up the 2011 Christmas party planning / menu post! What fun munchies do you serve at a Christmas party?! I'm sure I'll need some new ideas in eleven months. :-)

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