Put away the pre-made supermarket dips and frozen appetizers. Here are five great dishes you can prepare at home for a party that will leave your guests impressed - and satisfied. You can save money, too, by making your own party foods from scratch.
Turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving. Roast a large turkey the day before your party. Serve breast meat sliced for sandwiches - don't forget the cranberry sauce! Warm up the rest in a crockpot with mushrooms and broth or gravy for a memorable hot dish.
Roast your own mixture of nuts for a delicious, oven-fresh treat. Spread a mixture of raw cashews, almonds, walnuts and/or peanuts on a baking sheet. Toss and coat with fresh chopped herbs, sugar, salt, black pepper, oil and maple syrup. Toast in the oven until the syrup has been absorbed, then let cool before serving. These will be gone in a flash!
A refreshing fruit cocktail can be a lovely treat at a party, and a nice alternative to heavy, calorie-laden desserts. Prepare a mixture of fresh and canned fruit cut into bite-size pieces. Use whatever is fresh at the market: apples, grapes, mangoes, strawberries, pineapple, etc. Mix with enough orange juice and pineapple juice to cover. For an adult treat, throw in a splash of Amaretto, Chambord or Red Wine.
Homemade chili is a great choice for a party when you want something filling to serve for a large crowd. Brown the meat of your choice (or, leave out for a vegetarian main course) then combine in the crockpot with several different types of canned beans, tomatoes, fresh or canned chili peppers, and spices to your taste. Start the chili going in the morning and it will be perfectly hot and ready to eat come party time. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsas.
A pasta salad is a great choice for a party. Cook the pasta and mix the ingredients together the night before, and it will be ready to go for your party. Try a pasta salad mixed with canned tuna, lemon, olive oil, Italian parsley and garlic. Or, mixed vegetables lightly blanched, tossed with the pasta noodles and Italian salad dressing. For an Asian style pasta salad, toss noodles with sesame oil, smooth peanut butter, sliced scallions, carrot and bean sprouts.
Cooking for a party can be a challenge, but plan in advance and you can come up with some great meal ideas that your guests will love.
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