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October 31, 2014

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New Year's Eve Party Ideas: Food, Drinks & Fun!

Comments (3)

How are you planning to count down the last few hours of 2009? Even if you can't make it to Times Square in New York City, you can still have a rousing celebration right in your very own home. The essentials: a few festive decorations (Party City, for example, sells New Year's Eve kits that include items such as party hats, horns, balloons and noisemakers); a signature drink (it could be champagne or sparkling cider); a great guest list; and some good food. Finger food is easy to make and to serve, because everyone can help themselves. Most warehouse chains such as Costco, Sam's Club or BJ's Warehouse sell a variety of ready-made appetizers, which cuts down on your prep time. All you have to do, then, is add a few personal homemade treats of your own. Following are a few easy recipes to keep the party going:



Berry Mimosa Mocktail
Makes 2 servings
Put a fresh spin on the traditional mimosa-minus the alcohol-with cranberry juice and a fizzy mixer.

Ingredients:
½ cup cranberry juice
1 cup raspberry flavored ginger ale
1 strawberry, top removed, sliced in half
Sprig of mint
Instructions:
1. Combine juice and ginger ale in a small pitcher; pour into champagne glasses.
2. Garnish with strawberry slice and mint sprig.

Chorizo Fritters
Makes 20 servings
Crunchy and sweet, these tasty sausage and cheese appetizers make great party food. Pair the fritters with sauces, dips or even salsa for a finger food everyone will love.
Ingredients
Vegetable or other cooking oil
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed, minced
1 cup milk, plus more if needed
1 egg
1/2 cup canned corn kernels
1/3 cup chorizo sausage, diced small
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese mixture
Instructions
1. Preheat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a large deep skillet.
2. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper (to taste) and sugar; add thyme and blend well.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup milk and egg until frothy. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix until smooth.
4. Add corn, chorizo and cheese; mix well.
5. To make the fritters, drop batter into hot oil by the large spoonful. Cook fritters in batches until browned all over, about 4-5 minutes total. (If batter seems too stiff, add a small amount of milk to thin.)
6. Drain fritters on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt to taste and serve immediately, or keep warm at low heat in oven until ready to serve. Serve fritters with mild salsa, jalapeno-flavored sour cream dip or spicy cheese dip.

Smoked Salmon Spread in Sourdough Bowl
Makes 20 servings
These easy party appetizers are quick to make and low-fat, too. The cream cheese and salmon mixture is presented in a bread bowl for an extra festive look.

Ingredients
2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchatel cream cheese
4 ounce package smoked salmon
1 teaspoon capers, drained
1 round loaf sourdough bread, unsliced
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives
Instructions
1. Combine cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers in food processor. Process until blended thoroughly and smooth.
2. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut a circular section of crust off the top of the sourdough loaf. Pull insides out, and break it into bites that you will later use to dip into the spread.
3. Fill hole with salmon spread. Top with chopped chives as garnish. Serve with the pulled bread bites and additional bread or crackers. Substitution: Use a pumpernickel loaf for an even more savory treat.

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