Holiday Countdown: The Perfect Holiday Party Menu

Being a wedding and event planner is like a dream come true for me because even when I’m not actually planning my clients’ big days, I’m hosting my own events. From girls’ nights replete with fancy cocktails to big dinners for my husband’s work colleagues, I love being the hostess with the mostess.

Whether you’re having people over for the holidays this year or you’re simply cooking for a few family and friends, below is my fool-proof, no-holds-barred, fan-favorite holiday menu that will make grownups and kids alike want to come back for seconds.

SPECIALTY COCKTAIL

No special party is complete without a signature cocktail. This Pomegranate Martini  happens to be my favorite for the holidays because of the gorgeous, deep red color.

8 oz citrus vodka
2 oz fresh lemon juice fresh
1 oz fresh pomegranate juice fresh
4 oz simple syrup or Grand Marnier

Shake well and strain into chilled martini glasses (just pop them in the freezer the morning of your party). Garnish with a sliver of an orange peel.

APPETIZER

An alternative to the ever popular bacon-wrapped figs, satisfy your guests’ salt-tooth (those exist, right?) with these Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts. The salt of the bacon plus the crunch of the water chestnut is what makes these so delicious.

1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 lb. bacon
2 cans (8 oz.) water chestnuts
 
Preheat oven to 375.
Separate the bacon and cut each slice in half crosswise. Then, wrap a water chestnut with each half-piece of bacon. Set in place with a toothpick (without ruffles so it doesn’t burn in the oven) and place evenly in a baking dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
When bacon looks like it’s starting to crisp, remove from oven and pour off the fat (into a tin can so it doesn’t clog your drains). Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, then bake for 30 minutes. Platter and serve (and swoon)!

ENTREE

Our holiday tradition is ham, and lately, I’ve been improving on my family’s version of a Spiral Hame with Sweet Mustard Sauce.
1 4-lb spiral-cut ham
3/4 cup water
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coarse-grained Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place ham in a roasting pan and pour about 3/4 cup water into the bottom of pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until heated through, soft and tender.

Whisk all ingredients together in a saucepan until smooth and heat over medium-low to medium heat until simmering. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

When ham is heated through, remove the aluminum foil, and pour or brush the glaze over the top to cover completely. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Return the ham to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until glaze is caramelized and bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

DESSERT

Last but not least is my family’s absolute favorite Kahlua Cream Pie. It’s sweet and sinful after a meal that’s mostly salty.
1 cup heavy cream, beat stiff
1 pint vanilla ice cream, whipped until soft
1/4 cup Kahlua
1 Hershey bar with almonds, grated
Baked graham cracker or chocolate pie crust
Mix cream and ice cream and Kahlua until smooth. Pour into pie shell. Sprinkle with chocolate on top of pie and freeze.
Et voila! An easy, delicious holiday meal loved by family and friends alike. Happy Holidays!
What’s your favorite holiday meal? Leave me a comment!
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