Holiday Buffet
by Julie Jensen

A holiday party is a way to give a gift: . . . a way to brighten someone’s life . . . through your hospitality and friendship. It is a way of saying, “We welcome you AROUND THE TABLE . . . to share in food, fun, and friendship.”

The buffet can be the easiest way to entertain. It is a complete meal served on one plate, which also helps at cleanup time. Hors d’oeuvres, salads, vegetable, breads, meats, poultry, seafood, cheeses, and desserts offer a vast array of possibilities. The choices can be determined by the guest list, space, budget, and mood you wish to create.

If the party includes children, you may wish to delight them with some magical foods suited to their imagination and pallet. It is amazing to see how impressed they are by simple green and red Jell-0 jigglers or Rice Krispie treats dotted with red and green sprinkles.

You can also decide whether to have a hot or cold buffet or combination of both. Whatever your choice there should be an interesting variety and festive sense of fun. An unexpected menu, could feature Tex-Mex, Italian, or Chinese food with a holiday flare.

Whatever the menu, it should lend itself to advance preparations, and hold up well for an hour or two on the table.

The buffet is a great choice for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day or any other Holiday party. A buffet works well for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or a midnight meal. Since guests serve themselves, the food should be easy to handle. Things that are suitable to be served at room temperature are good to consider. If you want something hot, it may be well to keep it to one or two items, to avoid the hassle.

The following menu items would work well for most buffets. You could prepare a few or prepare them all, adding other foods of your liking.

The main thing is to enjoy the party yourself. Your guests will sense your pleasure and it will add to theirs.

Happy Holidays . . . AROUND THE TABLE.

ARTICHOKE DIP

Mellow blend of flavors – serve with tortilla chips

1 (8-oz) can artichoke hearts (chopped)
1 / 2 cup mayonnaise
1 / 2 plain yogurt
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies
3 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, fresh if possible
Dash of Tabasco sauce (optional)

Combine ingredients and place in 8×8″ baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

SHRIMP PLATTER APPETIZER

A crowd pleaser

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 / 2 cup sour cream
1 / 4 cup mayonnaise
8 oz. small fresh shrimp
1 cup seafood cocktail sauce
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 red pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 large tomato, diced

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Spread on a 12-inch glass plate. Scatter shrimp over the cheese layer. Cover with cocktail sauce. Then add a layer of shredded Mozzarella cheese, a layer of red peppers, and a layer of green onions. Arrange diced tomato in the center. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Serve with assorted crackers. Serves 12.

RASPBERRY PRETZEL SALAD

Colorful, rich and refreshing

Crust:

2 1 / 2 cups pretzels (use thin one and break up a little)
1 1 / 2 squares (3 / 4 cup) butter or margarine
Melt butter, sprinkle pretzels on top. Pat into 9×13″ pan.

Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and cool.

Topping for crust:

8-oz. cream cheese
9-oz. cool whip
1 cup sugar

Mix cream cheese, cool whip and sugar. Dab or lop on top of pretzels and spread to edges of pan. Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Salad:

2 cups water
1 large pkg. raspberry Jell-O
2 pkg. (10-oz. each) frozen raspberries or strawberries (don’t drain)
1 (15 1 / 4 oz.) can crushed pineapple (don’t drain)

Bring water to a boil. Completely dissolve Jell-O in boiling water and cool. Add fruit and stir. Pour carefully over top of cream cheese mixture. Set until firm.

RED AND GREEN LAYERED SALAD

Layer in a glass bowl for full effect

1 medium head of lettuce
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
1 / 2 cup sliced green onion
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup drained and sliced water chestnuts (8-oz.)
1 package frozen peas
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tsp. sugar
1 / 2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 / 4 tsp. garlic powder
3 hard cooked eggs (grated)
3 / 4 – 1 lb. fried bacon
2 medium tomatoes- wedged
shrimp or chicken (optional)

Shred lettuce and tear spinach in a 4-quart serving bowl. Layer green onion, celery, and water chestnuts. Sprinkle frozen peas over top. Spread mayonnaise over peas. Sprinkle with sugar, Parmesan cheese, salt and garlic powder. Just before serving, sprinkle salad with grated eggs and bacon. Garnish with tomato wedges. Can add a layer of shrimp or chicken for a heartier meal. Serves 24.

HAM LOAF

Popular with all ages

Terrific flavor, perfect fork food

Loaf

1 1 / 2lb. precooked ground ham
1 lb. ground pork
(Have butcher grind ham and pork)
2 eggs
1 / 4 cup milk
2 Tbs. grated onion

Sauce

1 / 2 cup brown sugar or apricot jam
2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce or vinegar
1 tsp. mustard

Combine loaf ingredients and place in greased loaf tin and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

Stir brown sugar, Worcestershire Sauce and mustard. Spoon over loaf and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes. Make additional sauce to spoon over sliced loaf, if desired.

BUFFET CHICKEN

Fabulous blend of flavors

2 pkgs. (2.5 oz. each) smoked, pressed beef
16 slices bacon
8 chicken breasts, halved, boned and skinned
2 cups sour cream
2 cans (10 1 / 2 oz. each) cream of mushroom soup

Put beef in 9×13″ casserole dish. Roll strip of bacon around each breast half. Fasten with toothpick. Layer over beef. Cover with sour cream and concentrated soup. Cover. Refrigerate overnight. Next day, bake at 250 degrees for 3 to 4 hours. Yield: 8 servings.

VEGETABLE MEDLEY

Colorful combination

1 pkg. frozen snap peas or pea pods (16-oz.)
2 green zucchini, sliced 1 / 4″ thick
2 yellow zucchini squash, sliced 1 / 4″ thick
1 / 2 medium onion, sliced thin
4 Tbs. butter or olive oil

Salt, pepper and herbs to taste

Follow package instructions for cooking peas. Cook just until tender. Saut onion in butter. Add green and yellow zucchini. Stir-fry just until tender. Combine vegetables. Toss with cherry tomatoes at time of serving.

CHEESE POTATOES

Simple to prepare

An excellent hot dish

5 large potatoes, peeled and cut in wedges lengthwise about 1″ thick

1 cup half and half cream
1 tsp. salt
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
1 / 4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh, if possible)
1 tsp. sage, thyme or herb of your choice
2 Tbs. parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbs. red peppers, finely chopped

Grease 8×8″ pan. Place potatoes in a bowl. Pour half and half over to coat potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and stir. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese and herbs over top. Bake for 15 minutes more. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, parsley and red peppers.

ORANGE ROLLS

With Cream Cheese Frosting

Delicious, sweet and citrus

A great choice for a holiday buffet is Rhodes Orange Rolls. They come frozen in a package of twelve rolls. Plan on 1 1 / 2 to 5 hours to rise depending on the method you choose. See directions on package.

MINI CHEESECAKES

Top with cherries and kiwi slices

2 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
3 / 4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice, optional
Vanilla wafers

Mix cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, sugar and lemon juice. Put 18 paper baking cups into muffin tins. Place 1 vanilla wafer in bottom of each cup. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. When cool, top with cherry pie filling or kiwi slices.

HELLO DOLLY COOKIES

Everyone’s favorite

1 / 2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1 / 4 cups graham crackers, crushed
2 packages (6 oz. each) chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coconut, flaked

Mix butter and graham crackers. Press into 8×8″ pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans on top. Pour sweetened milk evenly on top. Then sprinkle with coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cut into bars when cool. Yield: 12 bars.

SOFT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Rich, chocolatey and moist

Cookies:

1 1 / 2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 / 2 tsp. baking powder
1 / 2 tsp. salt
1 / 2 cup butter
1 1 / 2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond or vanilla
2 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup sour cream

Frosting:

2 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate
2 Tbs. butter
2 1 / 4 cups powdered sugar
1 / 4 cup cream
Pecan halves

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. In another bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, eggs, almond or vanilla, cooled melted chocolate and sour cream. Now, add the flour mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool. To make frosting, melt chocolate and butter over very low heat. Stir in powdered sugar and cream. Add more powdered sugar or cream to get desired consistency. Frost cooled cookies. Top each with a pecan half. Yield: 4 dozen cookies.


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