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Party Plan: Holiday

Celebrate a winter wonderland of delicious dishes and decorative designs this holiday season!

Glad Tidings, Good Cheer and Great Ideas!
Season’s Greetings! Bring glad tidings to your holiday affair with festive drink recipes like our Pomegranate-Ginger Sparkling Cocktail and Cranberry Orange Punch, or warm them up with the rich flavor of Dark Chocolate Orange Hot Chocolate. Seasonal appetizers like Wrapped Kielbasa Bites and our Holly Ball Cheese Ball will definitely make tummy spirits bright, while Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bark is a simple sweet snack for all to enjoy.

Set the table with holiday favorites like Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole and Challah Bread, or wow guests with dishes like Garlic Rosemary Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” and Creamy Pomegranate Fruit Salad. When it’s time for dessert, treat them to some Peppermint French Silk Pie for a rich, decadent taste, or Pecan and Brown Sugar Rugelach for buttery, flaky sweetness.

Decorations make the season sparkle, especially with a Glitter-Dipped Pinecone Wreath hanging on the door! Greet guests as they enter with a friendly DIY Snowman Family and enjoy warm, seasonal scents when you Make Your House Smell Like Christmas. As visitors check out your Scrapbook Paper Christmas Tree, they’ll know that you truly made this holiday great!

Prosciutto, Fig and Goat Cheese Roast Pork Loin

Prosciutto, Fig and Goat Cheese Roast Pork Loin

Created by: Nicole Leggio, Cooking for Keeps

The holidays call for something special, something a little different, and this roast pork loin stuffed to the brim with salty prosciutto, dried figs and tangy goat cheese is just that. Easy to prepare and almost completely hands off, this will leave your guests impressed and their stomachs full.

Ingredients:
  • 1 boneless pork loin (3.5 lb.)
  • Salt
  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 5 oz. dried figs, finely chopped
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. To butterfly the pork loin, take your knife and gently cut horizontally into the meat, keep cutting until the knife almost reaches the opposite end, but leave about ½ inch uncut. Open the pork like a book. Use a meat mallet to make the pork even. If you are nervous about butterflying it yourself, just ask your butcher to do it.
  3. Make sure the fat side is facing down and then sprinkle the inside of the pork generously with salt. Lay prosciutto slices on meat, making sure there are no spaces in between each piece of prosciutto. Sprinkle chopped figs on top. Crumble goat cheese and sprinkle on top of figs. Press down with hands to compress.
  4. Roll pork up, jellyroll style. Using kitchen twine, tie three ties on each end of the pork. Tie two more in the center of the pork.
  5. Season outside of pork generously with salt and a little bit of pepper.
  6. Place on a roasting rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes and then reduce the temperature down to 375°F. Roast another 25-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest park of the meat registers 155°F.
  7. Remove pork from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove kitchen twine, slice and serve.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Sherried Chicken with Mushrooms

Sherried Chicken with Mushrooms

Created by: Amy Christie, this heart of mine

This Sherried Chicken recipe has it all: sautéed mushrooms, a flavorful sauce and tender chicken, cooked to perfection. It’s extra fancy and perfect for entertaining guests or family during the week. For all its fancy taste and appearance, it’s easy and comes together simply.

Ingredients:
  • 1 package of sliced mushrooms (2 packages if you really like mushrooms)
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, skinned and tenderized/flattened
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup cream sherry wine
  • 1 tsp. beef bouillon dissolved in 4 Tbsp. warm water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ cup water
Directions:
  1. Using a large skillet, sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and lemon juice until just glazed.
  2. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Place chicken between two sheets of wax paper and pound with the flat surface of a meat mallet.
  4. Mix flour and salt together and then sprinkle over the tenderized chicken.
  5. Melt remaining butter in the skillet along with the chicken. Cook, covered, over medium high heat, turning once, until chicken is lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Pour the wine and dissolved beef stock into the skillet, scraping free browned bits.
  7. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Dissolve the cornstarch in water and add to the skillet mixture, stir until thickened.
  9. Return chicken and mushrooms to skillet. Cover and heat through. Use a meat thermometer to ensure internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165°F.
  10. Serve hot and refrigerate leftovers for up to three days.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Slow Cooker Honey Baked Ham

Slow Cooker Honey Baked Ham

Created by: Six Sisters' Stuff

Our Grandma’s Slow Cooker Honey Baked Ham is so easy to make and is always a huge hit!

Below are our special tips on how to make it in the slow cooker.

If you have a large ham, follow these steps to still cook it in your slow cooker! You will need two sheets of tin foil that are 12 inches long. I tucked the ends all around the edges of the crock pot and then gathered them together in the middles and folded the ends down (the plastic around the edges is my slow cooker liner). I did not completely wrap the ham in foil – I just tucked it down the sides of the slow cooker. You may want to make a “roof” for your ham. To keep the heat in even more, place a towel over the top of your tin foil tent. Once your ham is done, remove it from your slow cooker and make some gravy by mixing 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon of water. I like to pour gravy over my mashed potatoes and ham! Even if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can still bake the ham in your oven. Once again, make a tent with aluminum foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees. Baste the ham once every 30 minutes.

Ingredients:
  • 7-10 pound spiral ham (mine was pre-cooked)
  • 2 Tbsp. brown Dijon mustard (I used spicy)
  • ½ Cup brown sugar
  • ½ Cup honey
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 Cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
Directions:
  1. Spray your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray (if you have slow cooker liner, I suggest using it – it will make clean-up a breeze!). Place ham in the crock pot.
  2. Combine sugar, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon and mustard in a sauce pan on medium heat. Let cook for 2-5 minutes (until ingredients melt and combine) and whisk thoroughly. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour water in the bottom of the crock pot. Pour honey/brown sugar mixture over the ham.
  4. If the lid does not fit over your ham, you can make a tin foil tent (I used an 8 lb. ham and it didn’t fit in my 6 quart slow cooker).
  5. Cook the ham on low for 6-8 hours. Baste the ham with the juices in the bottom of the slow cooker once every hour.
  6. Once your ham is done, remove it from your slow cooker. Pour the juices in the bottom of your slow cooker into a medium saucepan. Mix together 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon of water and pour into the saucepan. Cook on medium heat until it starts to thicken. Use that as a glaze over the ham or even as gravy for potatoes.

 

TIP:

Even if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can still bake this ham in your oven. Once again, make a tent with aluminum foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes per pound at 350 degrees. Baste the ham once every 30 minutes.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole

Created by: Amy Christie, this heart of mine

Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic favorite, with toasted marshmallow topping, sweetened pecans and flavorful sweet potato mash. Using a slow cooker eases the cooking process while a turn in the oven guarantees the caramelized pecan topping and toasted marshmallows.

Ingredients:
  • 5 lbs. sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1½ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cups mini marshmallows
Directions:
  1. Put the chopped sweet potatoes in the bottom of a slow cooker. Add in the water. Cover and cook the potatoes 4 hours on high, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are fork tender.
  2. When the potatoes are tender, drain the water from the slow cooker.
  3. Mash the sweet potatoes right in the slow cooker and stir in the butter, cream, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger. Allow the mix to heat through as you complete the next step.
  4. Mix together the brown sugar, flour, melted butter and chopped pecans. Set aside.
  5. Coat a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray. Spoon the potato mix into the pan and smooth the surface.
  6. Pour the pecan mixture on top of the sweet potatoes.
  7. Bake the casserole, uncovered, at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes to caramelize the pecan mix.
  8. Top with the marshmallows and bake for an additional 5 minutes, until the marshmallows are toasted and puffy.
  9. Serve immediately.

 

*If you’d like to skip the oven, leave the potato mix in the slow cooker. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle it evenly over the contents. Add the marshmallows and then cover and cook 15-30 minutes until heated through.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Creamy Pomegranate Fruit Salad

Creamy Pomegranate Fruit Salad

Created by: Nellie Tracy, Butter With a Side of Bread

This recipe has been in our family for years and is made every year for our holiday dinners. The pomegranate seeds add a seasonal flavor and a wonderful crunch as well. Plus, any salad that has marshmallows in it has to be good!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 pomegranates, seeds only
  • 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained and cut in half
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 2 bananas, sliced
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, beat the whipping cream with electric mixers until stiff peaks form.
  2. Fold in all of the ingredients except for the bananas. Must be refrigerated until ready to serve.
  3. Add bananas immediately before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Kabocha Squash Casserole

Kabocha Squash Casserole

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

My favorite winter squash is the kabocha squash. It’s naturally very sweet, with a smooth texture and buttery flavor. Making a naturally sweetened kabocha squash casserole with a gluten-free topping ensures your gluten-free friends and family will be able to enjoy the dish, while those who do eat gluten won’t be able to tell the difference.

You can easily adapt this recipe to your own palate, using any winter squash of choice, or sweet potatoes as well. You can also replace the pure maple syrup with any of your favorite liquid sweeteners. Enjoy this steamy, hearty, sweet side dish alongside your favorite holiday entrees.

Ingredients:
  • 1 large (6 lb.) kabocha squash, about 5 cups mashed
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cardamom, optional
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • ⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, softened or melted
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 415°F.
  2. Trim the top off of the kabocha squash. Drizzle the flesh with olive oil and use your hands to coat it. Sprinkle with salt and place cut-side down on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven 55-65 minutes, or until kabocha squash is very soft when poked with a fork.
  3. Scoop the flesh out of the kabocha squash and place it in a bowl to cool. Once cool, add the kabocha squash to a high-powered blender along with the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Blend until well-combined. Transfer filling mixture to a 9-inch round casserole dish (or 2-quart rectangular casserole dish) and preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. Stir together all of the ingredients for the topping until well combined. Evenly spread the topping mixture over the kabocha squash - it’s fine to have large clumps.
  5. Bake at 375°F for 50 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow casserole to sit an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before serving.
  6. If you have leftovers, cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate up to 7 days.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Garlic Rosemary Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Garlic Rosemary Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes"

Created by: Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete

Adding a healthy side dish to your holiday dinners can be tricky. But not with these “mashed potatoes”. With the right flavor, these can be just as addicting as the traditional alternative.

I added garlic and rosemary, my favorites, but you can easily swap in yours. Whatever herbs and spices you might typically put on your veggies (or potatoes!) will blend in perfectly.

Ingredients:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 small sprigs of rosemary (3”-4” long)
Directions:
  1. Chop the cauliflower into large pieces, removing the stalk.
  2. Put all ingredients into a steamer, steam for around 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.
  3. Remove all ingredients from a steamer and set the rosemary aside.
  4. Put the cauliflower and garlic into a blender, add rosemary leaves, discarding the stem.
  5. Blend until smooth; add salt and pepper to taste.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Challah Bread

Challah Bread

Created by: Krissy Allori, Self Proclaimed Foodie

Challah Bread is a delicious, yeast-enriched egg bread that holds significant religious meaning. Enjoy it during Hanukkah or family Sunday dinner.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp. (.25 ounce packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp. water
Directions:
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl. Swirl gently to dissolve. If a thin frothy layer does not form, your yeast might no longer be active.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together 4 cups of the flour and the salt.
  3. Add the honey, eggs, yolk and oil and mix with a spoon to form a shaggy dough. Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry and mix until combined.
  4. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on low speed for 6-8 minutes. If the dough seems very sticky or does not create a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, add flour a spoonful at a time until it is just in between sticky and dry. Stop kneading the dough when it is soft, smooth and holds a ball-shape.
  5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. My house is always cold so I like to preheat the oven to 200ºF, turn it off, and crack the door. I allow the dough to rise in the warm oven. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours depending on how warm the environment is. Punch the dough (this is the best part!).
  6. Divide the dough into six equal pieces. I did this by weighing the dough, dividing by six, and ensuring each piece was roughly the same size. Roll each of the six pieces to equal lengths, 12-15 inches long. They will try to shrink back so give them the occasional pull. Make them a bit smaller on the ends.
  7. To braid the dough, squeeze the ends together on one side. Spread out all six ropes. Always starting from the rope on the far right side, pull it over two strands, under the third, and then over the last two strands. Reposition all of the dough ropes such that you can repeat this pattern, again using the rope that's on the far right hand side. Repeat this weave until the entire loaf has formed and then squeeze the ends together to seal. Tuck both ends on both sides of loaf underneath. You can either freeze the dough at this point or bake it.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment and transfer the loaf on top. Dust the loaf with a little flour and loosely cover it with plastic wrap or a clean dishcloth. Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts, allowing it to rise for about an hour.
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the remaining egg white with about a tablespoon of water and gently brush the entire surface of the loaf, taking care not to deflate.
  10. Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking, until the loaf is deeply browned in color.
  11. Allow the loaf to cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Store in airtight container.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Holly Ball Cheese Ball

Holly Ball Cheese Ball

Created by: Carrie Robinson, Frugal Foodie Mama

Your holiday guests will enjoy this festive and tasty cheese ball inspired by a classic holly ball! With it’s sweet pomegranate seeds, salty feta cheese and peppery arugula, this easy to make yet impressive Holly Ball Cheese Ball is sure to please every guest’s palate.

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz. Simple Truth™ Organic Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 container (4 oz.) Private Selection™ Crumbled Traditional Feta Cheese
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Private Selection™ Grade A Amber Color Rich Taste Maple Syrup
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup plus 1-2 Tbsp. of fresh pomegranate seeds
  • Simple Truth™ Organic Baby Arugula
  • Your favorite Private Selection™ Entertainment Crackers
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, feta cheese, garlic powder, ground cinnamon, and maple syrup until well mixed. Fold in the chopped walnuts and 1/4 cup of fresh pomegranate seeds (reserve the rest of the pomegranate seeds to decorate the cheese ball later). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  2. Once the cheese mixture is well chilled, remove from the bowl and shape into a ball. Gently press the baby arugula leaves into and all around the cheese ball until it is completely covered. Use the remaining pomegranate seeds to cover most of the white areas that are left. (The pomegranate seeds will act as the “holly berries” for this edible holly ball.) Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
  3. Serve the cheese ball with your favorite entertainment crackers. Enjoy!
  4. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.

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Wrapped Kielbasa Bites

Wrapped Kielbasa Bites

Created by: Krissy Allori, Self Proclaimed Foodie

Taking just minutes to prepare, these two-ingredient Wrapped Kielbasa Bites, made with puff pastry, are the easiest and tastiest party appetizer you'll find.

Ingredients:
  • 1 kielbasa (12 oz.)
  • 1 pre-made puff pastry sheet
Directions:
  1. Cut kielbasa into 18 even pieces. Start by dividing in half, then each half into thirds, then each chunk into thirds.
  2. Cut puff pastry into 18 even strips. Do this by first rolling out puff pastry to flatten a bit, maintaining the square shape. Cut the square into three long strips, then cut each strip into thirds, and finally cut the length of each of those strips in half.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. Wrap each piece of kielbasa with a strip of dough. If dough is not sticky enough to seal on its own, you may wet your fingers with water to help it seal. Put each piece, seal side down, on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm with stone ground mustard. Any remaining appetizers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Cranberry-Ginger Energy Bites

Cranberry-Ginger Energy Bites

Created by: Carrie Robinson, Frugal Foodie Mama

Keep yourself fueled and energized during the busy holiday season with these easy to make Cranberry-Ginger Energy Bites. These tasty no-bake bites are full of tart cranberries, spicy ginger and hearty oats to keep going through that holiday shopping, gift wrapping and cookie baking!

Ingredients:
  • 1½ cups Kroger Old Fashioned 100% Whole Grain Oats
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup Simple Truth™ Smooth Almond Butter
  • ¼ cup Private Selection™ Grade A Amber Color Rich Taste Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup Simple Truth™ Crystallized Ginger, finely chopped
Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oats, chia seeds and cinnamon. Add in the almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla and mix well. Fold in the cranberries and chopped ginger.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the oat mixture into about 1½ tablespoon balls and then place on the baking sheet. (Keeping your hands slightly wet will help with the rolling.) Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before enjoying.
  3. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 7 days. Enjoy!

View Party Plan: Holiday

Dark Chocolate Orange Hot Chocolate

Dark Chocolate Orange Hot Chocolate

Created by: Nicole Leggio, Cooking for Keeps

Rich dark chocolate and orange extract give a classic childhood favorite – hot cocoa – an upscale, adult update. With only five ingredients, and one pot, this easy winter time favorite is a cinch to make, and worth every sip of indulgence.

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups milk (any kind but skim)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. Cocoa powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. orange extract
Directions:
  1. Add milk and cocoa powder to the bottom of a medium pot. Turn the heat on a medium-low and heat until simmering.
  2. Turn the heat down to low, and add chocolate chunks and sugar. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and chocolate has melted, about 5 minutes. Add orange extract.
  3. Ladle into cups and serve!

View Party Plan: Holiday

Cranberry-Orange Punch

Cranberry-Orange Punch

Created by: Britni Vigil, Play. Party. Plan.

This easy punch recipe combines the traditional holiday flavors of cranberry and orange in one delicious drink. It’s inexpensive and easy to make, perfect for adding a bit of bubbly fun to any holiday party!

Ingredients:
  • Kroger 100% Traditional Cranberry Juice
  • Cranberry ginger ale
  • Kroger Deluxe Orange Sherbet
  • Fresh oranges, cut into orange slices
Directions:
  1. Add equal parts cranberry juice and cranberry ginger ale to the pitcher and stir to combine.
  2. Add six scoops of orange sherbet to pitcher and let the sherbet sit (don’t stir).
  3. Serve chilled in individual glasses with ice and topped with an orange slice.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Pomegranate-Ginger Sparkling Cocktail

Pomegranate-Ginger Sparkling Cocktail

Created by: Sharon Garofalow, Cupcakes and Cutlery

Whether you’re throwing a big winter party or just having a few friends over, the holidays are a perfect time to entertain. Sparkling wine is the ideal thing to serve, no matter how formal or informal your get together is.

This Pomegranate-Ginger Sparkling Cocktail is super simple to make and helps make the mood feel celebratory and extra special. So chill the wine, invite over some friends and enjoy the season with a little bubbly.

Ingredients:
  • ½ oz. Ginger Liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
  • 1 oz. Pomegranate Juice
  • 5 oz. cold Sparkling Wine (Champagne, Cava or Prosecco are all fine as well)
Directions:
  1. In a champagne flute, add the ginger liqueur then pomegranate juice.
  2. Top with sparkling wine.
  3. Garnish with a piece of candied ginger or pomegranate arils if desired.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Peppermint French Silk Pie

Peppermint French Silk Pie

Created by: Erin Sellin, Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Chocolate and peppermint are a match made in heaven, so it seems only natural to make my favorite pie fit for the holidays.

Silky chocolate mousse that is spiked with peppermint, a flakey piecrust and fluffy homemade whipped cream, all topped with peppermint candy bits. The perfect dessert to serve at any holiday get together.

Ingredients:
  • 1 pie crust (9”)
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 4 pasteurized eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Press piecrust into a 9” pie plate. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely.
  2. In a stand mixer beat butter for 2 minutes, until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until light and fluffy. Mix in cooled chocolate and peppermint.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes after each addition. It should be light and fluffy when you are done.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture into cooled pie shell. Place in fridge while you prepare the whipped cream.
  5. In a large bowl beat heavy cream until soft peaks begin to form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks. Spread whipped cream over chocolate layer. Garnish with shaved chocolate.
  6. Let sit in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.
  7. Store leftover pie in the fridge.

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Christmas Cookie Dough Dip

Christmas Cookie Dough Dip

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without cookies. I’ve got something even more fun than cookies, and that’s a delicious Christmas Cookie Dough Dip that you can enjoy with cookies, fruits and other goodies.

Grab the sweet and grab the salty and dip to your heart’s content. Give your dip a minty feel with Smooth and Melty Nonpareil Mint Chocolate Chips, or swap the mints for sprinkles to have a sweeter taste. Either way you serve it, this egg-free dip will have you coming back for more.

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 5 Tbsp. of butter, softened
  • 4 Tbsp. mascarpone, softened
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ cup chopped Smooth and Melty Nonpareil Mint Chocolate Chips, green and pink
  • Gingerbread cookies, marshmallows, fruit, pretzels for dipping
Directions:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter, mascarpone and sugar, until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the flour, nutmeg and vanilla extract and beat for another minute.
  3. Mix in the yogurt on low speed, until just incorporated.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir in the mint chocolates, reserving 2 tablespoons for topping.
  5. Serve immediately with cookies, fruit and other goodies. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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Oreo Snowman

Oreo Snowman

Created by: Britni Vigil, Play. Party. Plan.

Chocolate covered Oreos are always a huge hit, and these holiday snowman Oreos take it up a notch in taste and creativity!

Simply skewer the Oreos, cover them in a bit of white ganache, and decorate. They’re easy, delicious and a perfect activity to make with kids.

Ingredients:
  • 12 Oreo cookies
  • 1 cup Private Selection™ white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. Simple Truth™ Organic whole milk
  • Orange rock candy
  • Twizzler Pull-N-Peel
  • Kroger Mini Milk Chocolate Baking Chips
  • Candy eyes
  • Bamboo Skewers
Directions:
  1. Skewer three Oreos on each skewer so you have four skewers with three Oreos each.
  2. Combine white chocolate and milk in a microwave safe cup and microwave on medium heat for one minute. Remove from microwave and stir. If not completely melted, microwave again for an additional 30 seconds and stir. Continue on 30 second intervals until the white chocolate is completely melted and combined with milk.
  3. Hold Oreos and pour white chocolate ganache over one side of Oreos then flip and cover the other side as well, making sure to cover them completely.
  4. Allow excess white chocolate to slide off then place on a piece of parchment paper.
  5. While the chocolate is still wet, make the snowman’s face using orange rock candy for the nose, candy eyes for the eyes and mini chocolate chips for the mouth.
  6. Allow snowmen to sit for 10-15 minutes or until chocolate is fully hardened.
  7. Wrap Twizzler Pull N Peel around the “neck,” to create a scarf.
  8. Keep chilled until ready to eat.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Pecan and Brown Sugar Rugelach

Pecan and Brown Sugar Rugelach

Created by: Laura Franklin, Food Fun Family

Rugelach are traditional Jewish cookies made with either cream cheese or sour cream, and then filled with jams, nuts, or raisins. They are eaten year-round but are particularly enjoyed during the Hanukkah season. This fun twist on these traditional crescent-shaped cookies will be a new family favorite.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup ground pecans
  • 1 egg white mixed with 1 tsp. water
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix pastry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with hand beaters on medium-low until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a little more flour into the dough. Split dough into two equal parts and roll into a ball. Wrap ball of dough in plastic wrap and flatten slightly. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
  3. Meanwhile, mix melted butter, sugars, cinnamon and pecan pieces in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Remove chilled balls from refrigerator and place between 2 pieces of floured wax paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball into a 1/8” thick circle. Spread sugar-nut mixture on top of dough. Gently press filling into dough.
  5. Use a pizza cutter to cut each circle into 12 wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll each wedge into a crescent shape. Place cookies on a baking sheet at least 1” apart, point side down. Brush each cookie with egg white mixed with 1 teaspoon water, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Easy Caramel Pretzel Candy

Easy Caramel Pretzel Candy

Created by: Sharon Garofalow, Cupcakes and Cutlery

Growing up, my mom made homemade candy every holiday season. She took the time to make everything from scratch and the treats were super decadent and delicious. Now I’m trying to carry on that tradition for my kids too.

As a busy working mom, I often try to find shortcuts that will allow me to dazzle my kids with yummy desserts in less time. This Easy Caramel Pretzel Candy is crazy good and couldn’t be easier to make! This fast recipe is perfect for holiday parties.

Ingredients:
  • 1 package caramel candies (approximately 40 pieces), unwrapped
  • 1 bag mini pretzel twists (you’ll need as many pretzels as caramel candies)
  • 1 bag pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 bar (4 oz.) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Bar
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
  2. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat, lay out the pretzels in a single layer.
  3. Unwrap the caramel candies and place one candy on top of each pretzel.
  4. Place the pan into the oven for approximately 6 minutes to soften caramels.
  5. Place a toasted pecan onto each caramel and lightly press down to make sure the pecan sticks to the caramel.
  6. Let cool completely.
  7. Melt the chocolate bar in the microwave, per package instructions.
  8. Let chocolate cool slightly then add to a plastic zipper bag.
  9. Cut a small hole in to the corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the caramel pretzel candies.
  10. Allow chocolate to set before serving (you can speed up this process in the refrigerator).
  11. Allow candies to soften a bit if they were in the refrigerator, and serve!

View Party Plan: Holiday

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bark

Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Bark

Created by: Nellie Tracy, Butter With a Side of Bread

Sometimes you need to make a treat very quickly and only have time for a few ingredients! This bark is a favorite in my family and I love that you only need three ingredients, all of which I usually have on hand.

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 45-second intervals, stirring in between each interval until the chocolate is smooth.
  2. Add the peanut butter to the chocolate and stir until well combined.
  3. Stir in the marshmallows.
  4. Place wax paper on a baking sheet and spread the mixture in an 8”x 8” square on the wax paper. Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes until set and then cut into squares.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Challah Bread Pudding with Hot Caramel Sauce

Challah Bread Pudding with Hot Caramel Sauce

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

Challah is a popular Jewish braided bread typically served on the Sabbath, or Jewish holidays. Many are used to eating Challah for Hanukkah, but why not surprise the family with a new version of Challah?

Challah Bread Pudding is a great way to turn the already-tasty bread into a special Hanukkah dessert that will be requested year after year. Serve it as is, or top it with sprinkled powdered sugar or a homemade hot caramel sauce, which is our family’s favorite way to eat bread pudding.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 loaf Challah bread, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 5-6 cups)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. cold water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease the bottom of a 1.5 quart baking dish with butter.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, 2 tablespoons butter, vanilla, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Cook just until butter is melted. Cool, then whisk eggs into mixture.
  3. While butter is melting, add cubed Challah bread to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  4. Pour wet mixture over bread cubes and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until custard is set.
  5. While bread pudding is cooking, prepare caramel sauce by heating 2 tablespoons of cold water and ½ cup of sugar over medium-high heat, in a small saucepan. Stir to combine and continue to cook, without stirring, about 10-12 minutes.
  6. In another small saucepan, warm whipping cream over low heat. Slowly whisk warmed cream into the sugar mixture, and simmer another 2-3 minutes.
  7. Remove caramel from heat and whisk in remaining butter and salt, to taste.
  8. Remove bread pudding from oven and drizzle hot caramel over the top. Serve warm and refrigerate any leftovers.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Pesto Garlic Rolls

Pesto Garlic Rolls

Created by: Leigh Ann Hieronymus

This recipe was recreated for a dear friend who had them in an Italian restaurant. Great for an appetizer with pasta or a starter to a Holiday feast!

Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp. pesto sauce, with basil
  • 3 Tbsp. green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 package frozen dinner roll dough, about 12 ounces, thawed
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the pesto, green onion, garlic and olive oil until well blended. Cut the thawed dough into walnut-sized pieces. Dip each piece into the pesto mixture.
  3. Place coated dough pieces 1" apart on a cookie sheet with a lip; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Holiday Christmas Wish Backdrop

Holiday Christmas Wish Backdrop

Created by: Jamie Bare, The Crafting Chicks

Save that left over wrapping paper to create a fun holiday photo backdrop. Use Christmas wrapping paper and a chalkboard to capture your little one and their Christmas wish this Holiday season.

Things You'll Need:
  • Mini Chalkboard
  • Chalk Bistro Marker
  • Holiday Wrapping Paper
Directions:
  1. Cut your paper to about 3’x4’. You can use less or more depending how large you want the backdrop to be.
  2. Hang up wrapping paper against a wall. Any tape will work.
  3. On top of a chalkboard, write “Christmas Wish 2016” with a bistro chalk marker.
  4. Let your little one write their Christmas wish below in their handwriting using the bistro chalk marker.
  5. Have your child sit about 6 inches in front of the backdrop holding the chalkboard.

It’s fun to let your little one wear their Christmas Pajamas or Holiday outfit. With festive green, white or red.

It’s so sweet to capture your little ones and their wishes before they grow up!

View Party Plan: Holiday

Scrapbook Paper Christmas Tree

Scrapbook Paper Christmas Tree

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

Making your own Christmas decorations is often inexpensive and a fun way to express your style. This Scrapbook Paper Christmas Tree is so easy and really only takes a few dollars to make. It looks darling displayed on an end table or mantle.

Things You'll Need:
  • 10 pieces of 8.5"x11” scrapbook paper in reds and greens, plus one yellow print
  • 14” piece of 3/8” dowel
  • 36” green floral wire
  • 4” clay pot
  • 2-3” square of floral foam or Styrofoam
  • Holiday print fabric quarter
  • 16” curling ribbon
Directions:
  1. Cut each of the red and green scrapbook papers down to 2.5” x 11”. From the yellow toned scrapbook paper, cut out a small star to be your tree topper.
  2. Fold each red and green sheet into an accordion lengthwise. Make sure the printed side is facing out. Then decide which order you want the papers to be stacked on the tree. Once decided, cut each accordion paper down by ½” to 1”, depending on how tiered you want your tree to look. Each layer can vary slightly.
  3. Find the center of the green floral wire and wrap it around the dowel one and a half times, approximately three inches from the bottom. Get it nice and snug, making sure both sides of the wire are even in length.
  4. Start with your first paper accordion and hold it in front of the dowel, crossing the wire over the top of the paper and around the dowel. Repeat with the other side of the wire, creating an X over each piece of paper. Bring the wire around the back of the dowel and to the front. Repeat with remaining papers, leaving a small space between each.
  5. When you’ve reached the top of the dowel, it’s time to attach the star. Carefully wrap the wire around the two bottom legs of the star, and tightly around the dowel to secure. You can back the star with cardstock if it helps make it sturdier.
  6. Prepare the base of the tree by snugly fitting the floral foam into the clay pot, then stick the bottom of the dowel tree into the center of the foam.
  7. Wrap the fabric quarter around the pot and tie with a piece of curling ribbon. Curl ends and you’re done!

View Party Plan: Holiday

DIY Christmas Mantel Box

DIY Christmas Mantel Box

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

I just love decorating my mantel for each and every holiday. If you have an especially large mantel then it could be overwhelming to figure out what to decorate it with. I’ve come up with an easy DIY Christmas Mantel Box that you can change up year after year by filling it with different holiday items.

The great thing about this box is you can continue to use it for every season - just fill it with new goodies. You can even move it to the table for a festive centerpiece!

Things You'll Need:
  • 2 pieces of pine (1”x4”), or other wood, 30” long
  • 2 pieces of pine (1”x4”), 4” long
  • 1 piece of pine (1”x6”), 30” long
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Sandpaper
Directions:
  1. Take one of the 4” pieces of pine and butt it up against the side of one of the 30” pieces, flush with the end. Staple through the side of the 30” piece, and into the end of the 4” piece.
  2. Attach the remaining 4” piece of wood to the opposite end of the 30” piece already in use. Staple in place and attach remaining 30” piece opposite the one already in place.
  3. Attach the 30” long 1”x6” to the bottom of the frame structure you’ve just built. Staple along the edges, with a staple approximately every eight inches apart.
  4. Sand all wood and you’re ready to stain or use as is. Fill with holiday decor items.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Glitter-Dipped Pinecone Wreath

Glitter-Dipped Pinecone Wreath

Created by: Amy Christie, this heart of mine

Give your door (or wall) a sparkly embellishment for the season. Using real (or store-bought) pinecones, a little glue and glitter plus a wreath base, you can create a one-of-a-kind wreath, all your own.

Things You'll Need:
  • Pinecones*, real** or store-bought
  • Glitter
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Paper or plastic cup
  • Brush (Optional)
  • Hot glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wax paper to cover work surface
  • Wreath Base (available at your local crafts store)

 

*The number of pinecones will vary depending on the size of the wreath base.
**If the pinecones used are from outdoors, make sure they are dry and brushed free of dirt and debris.

Directions:
  1. Begin by combining white glue and a bit of water in a paper or plastic cup, creating a lighter, more liquidly glue.
  2. Take each pinecone individually and dip in the glue/water mix, varying the depth of the dip.
  3. Sprinkle the glue-covered portion with glitter.
  4. Set the dipped pinecones aside while they dry. Continue until all the pinecones are covered.
  5. Use hot glue and a hot glue gun to attach the dipped pinecones to the wreath base.

View Party Plan: Holiday

DIY Snowman Family

DIY Snowman Family

Created by: Laura Franklin, Food Fun Family

Looking for a fun and easy DIY craft project for outdoor holiday décor? This cute snowman family is quick and easy to make and will be the perfect cheery way to greet houseguests this winter.

Things You'll Need:
  • 2”x4” wood, trimmed into 4 pieces of various lengths
  • Festive fabrics and fabric scraps
  • Ribbon, various colors
  • White acrylic paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Orange acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Hot glue gun and glue
Directions:
  1. Paint each 2”x4” with white acrylic paint. I prefer giving the wood a very light coat of paint so that you can see some of the wood grain. Allow to dry.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric to approximately 8”x10”. Using a glue gun, attach a piece of fabric around the top of each painted 2”x4”. First, roll a cuff for the hat and then glue the hat around your snowman’s head. Finish off the hat by tying a ribbon around the top. Repeat for each snowman.
  3. Tear a 1½” wide by 16-18” long scarf from scraps of fabric. Tie scarf around the neck area of each snowman. Secure the knot with a small bead of hot glue, and press to hold.
  4. Paint eyes and mouth with black paint. Add an orange carrot-shaped nose to each snowman. Add a small dot of white paint inside the black eyes to give your snowman that sparkling in his eye.
  5. Once the paint is dry, display your snowman family outside throughout the winter season.

View Party Plan: Holiday

Simple Personalized Candle Favor

Simple Personalized Candle Favor

Created by: Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete

If there is one thing I don’t think anyone will turn down in the winter, it’s a festive candle. With all of the scents from cinnamon to vanilla, you’re sure to find something everyone will like.

They make the perfect favors, paired with matches and personalized for your guests. Here’s how!

Things You'll Need:
  • Jarred candles with lids
  • Paint pen
  • Ribbon
  • Small cloth bags
  • Matches
Directions:
  1. Pick up a few candles with lids (so you can easily wrap them up).
  2. Remove labels or stickers and use a paint pen to add your personalized message.
  3. Tie with colorful ribbon and add a small cloth bag of matches for your recipients to use with their new fragrance!

View Party Plan: Holiday

How to Create a Non-Traditional Holiday Table Setting

How to Create a Non-Traditional Holiday Table Setting

Created by: Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete

When I want my home to feel festive for the holidays, but also fit with our unique style, I come up with an alternative, non-traditional color palette. There are ways to incorporate things to keep your house ready for the holidays without buying ALL of that red and green!

Find a traditional, wintery pattern in your favorite color! I always love black and white, so that’s what I went for with the plaid table runner.

Pull out your basic tableware and add some fun personalized pieces with festive words. I used plastic plates and lettered holiday-inspired words for the table.

Include some greenery or flowers that set the mood, like pine branches or fragrant rosemary.

Bring pieces in from nature that are winter-themed, like wood elements or faux antlers painted with your theme.

View Party Plan: Holiday

3 Easy Ways to Organize and Store Your Holiday Decor

3 Easy Ways to Organize and Store Your Holiday Decor

Created by: Laura Franklin, Food Fun Family

It’s fun to deck the halls, but keeping holiday décor and supplies organized the rest of the year can be a challenge. These 3 simple organizing methods will keep your supplies organized and safe until you’re ready to pull them out for the holidays next year.

1. Store Fragile Ornaments

Store your fragile ornaments in a large bin with this cheap and easy hack: Use hot glue to attach clear plastic cups onto a piece of cardboard that fits inside your bin. Repeat with additional layers. Place fragile ornaments inside cups and then stack another cup layer on top.

Tip: Make each layer with different cup sizes and shapes. One layer can be for tall ornaments and another for short and wide ornaments.

2. Avoid Tangled Christmas Lights

If you hate finding last year’s Christmas lights in a tangled mess, then try this simple trick: wrap each string of Christmas lights around an 8” x 10” piece of cardboard. Cut slits into each side (at the beginning and at the end) to tuck the plugs in so they will stay in place.

3. Organize Ribbon

A simple way to organize and store ribbon is to place ribbon spools onto an empty paper towel roll. Simply detach the paper end disk from each spool of ribbon, place it on the paper towel roll, and then attach two of the removed end disks to each side of the roll to keep the ribbons from sliding off. Secure the ends of the ribbon with a small piece of tape. Next time you need ribbon for decorating or for gift giving, you’ll know exactly where it is.

Bonus: Christmas lights and ribbons can be stored inside the bin with the ornaments to make Christmas storage a breeze!

View Party Plan: Holiday

How to Make Your House Smell Like Christmas

How to Make Your House Smell Like Christmas

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

There’s nothing like the warm smell of Christmas during the holidays. Walking into a home with the sweet, cinnamon, citrusy smell brings instant comfort and is almost therapeutic.

While homes typically carry the Christmas smell due to what’s been cooking or baking, you can make the smell last even longer by making your own “Christmas” mixture or potpourri. In this way, your home can smell inviting any time of year with only a few easy-to-find ingredients.

My preference for getting my house to smell like Christmas quickly is to make a potpourri stew pot, rather than taking the time to make dried potpourri. Once you begin stewing the ingredients, your whole house will begin smelling like Christmas after 10 minutes, and you can leave the mixture on the stovetop for up to 8 hours.

Things You'll Need:
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 large apple
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 Tbsp. cloves
  • 1 star anise, optional
  • 2 whole nutmegs
Directions:
  1. Peel the orange and place it in a medium-sized pot, along with a chopped apple (any kind of apple will work), 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons of cloves, 1 star anise and 2 whole nutmegs.
  2. Fill with water and set on the stovetop over high heat. Cover the pot with a lid and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 15 minutes.

 

Tips:

  • When you’re finished entertaining, you can drain the water from the pot and discard the ingredients. Once this Christmas stew is formed, you can leave it in the kitchen, or transfer it to an insulated pot and set it in any room of the house if you’d like – it can always be reheated.
  • If you prefer the scent of pine over apples and oranges, you can forage outside for sprigs of fresh pine needles. Use these sprigs along with cinnamon and cloves for the stovetop potpourri.

View Party Plan: Holiday

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