This type of party is especially great if you're inviting family and friends from different social circles, as it encourages strangers to talk (oh my!). And it's a great opportunity to fix up any single friends in a not-so-obvious way.
Here's what you do: Ask your guests to bring a festive cocktail or mocktail (like the 5-minute recipe for Pomegranate Champagne Punch, below) or set out budget-friendly party wines. Then you take care of the appetizers. Pick 5 to 7 of these 20+ quick appetizer recipes (see ideas, below) and have areas set up around your house with instructions and the fixings for making each appetizer, along with small plates and napkins. And have fun-it is a holiday party, after all!
Mini Meatball Sliders
Place Neapolitan Meatballs in a slow cooker on low to keep them warm. Split small soft whole-wheat rolls nearly in half and place in a decorative basket. Place shredded part-skim mozzarella in a small bowl. Instructions: Tuck a meatball or two, along with some sauce, into the bun and top with mozzarella.
Roasted Beet Crostini
Place prepared crostini in a basket, beet-cheese spread in a bowl and garlicky greens in another bowl. Instructions: Spread crostini with beet-cheese spread and top with greens.
Signature cocktail: Pomegranate Champagne Punch
2 cups champagne
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup seltzer
1/2 cup citrus vodka
Lemon twists for garnish
Combine champagne, pomegranate juice, seltzer and vodka in a large bowl or pitcher. Serve over ice with a twist of lemon.
Variation: For a nonalcoholic version, combine 2 1/2 cups seltzer and 2 cups pomegranate juice.
Makes 6 servings, 3/4 cup each.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 128 calories; 0 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 0 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 72 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Antioxidants.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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