Holiday parties that won't break the bank - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Holiday parties that won't break the bank

A cookie party is a festive, low-cost alternative to a fancy holiday bash. (©iStockphoto.com) A cookie party is a festive, low-cost alternative to a fancy holiday bash. (©iStockphoto.com)
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  • Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Tomato Basil Pasta, 9/1/14

    Monday, September 1 2014 12:26 PM EDT2014-09-01 16:26:50 GMT
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
    Serge KrikorianDinner's Ready2 Servings2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided5 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided (NOT margarine)1 tsp. Minced Garlic1 Shallot, minced1 Pt. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise8-10 Leaves Fresh Basil, cut into ribbonsSalt Ground Black Pepper, to tasteGrated Parmigiano reggiano cheese, for garnish4 oz. Penne Pasta (or pasta of your choice), cooked according to package directionsOption Add-Ins: Diced Grilled Chicken, Sauteed Shrimp, sauteed sliced fresh...More >>
  • Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Spicy Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce, 8/27/14

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:49:39 GMT
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
    Gary DukeAlley Oops4 tomatoes, chopped2 tablespoon olive oil1/2 onion, sliced thinlysalt, black pepper, crushed red pepper and garlic to taste4 eggsfresh mozzarella cheese, cubedparmesan cheesefresh basilbread slices1. In a sauce pan, cook the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes, add the tomatoes and seasoning to mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes.2. Uncover sauce and gentle crack the eggs evenly around your tomato sauce. Place ...More >>
  • Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Summer Shrimp Salad, 8/25/14

    Monday, August 25 2014 8:49 AM EDT2014-08-25 12:49:13 GMT
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>
    Capi PeckTrio'sServes 41 1/4 lbs. large Gulf shrimp in the shell2 ears corn on the cobs, steamed, grilled or roasted/ kernels removedFor the dressing:2 cloves garlic, smashed1 1/2 t. cumin1 t. paprika1/2 t. cayenne pepper1/2 c. lime juice1c. olive oil1/2 c. cilantro leavessalt to tasteCombine all dressing ingredients in bowl or jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Set aside.2 Haas avocados, sliced1/2 c. cilantro leaves8 cups arugula or other greens of your choice?1 half Vidalia or sweet onion...More >>


By Nancy Kalish

Considering canceling your annual holiday shindig because of cost? No need. "With planning and a little creativity, it's easy to throw a great party without spending a lot of money," says former caterer Denise Vivaldo, author of Do It For Less! Parties (Terrace Publishing 2005) and Do It For Less! Weddings (Sellers Publishing 2008). Try some of her favorite themes for successful celebrations on a shoestring. Your guests will never guess that you didn't spend a bundle on them.

Cider and holiday cookie party

Instead of hosting an affair in the evening, try the afternoon. Just changing the time of day can save you -- and your guests -- money. If you slate the party for Sunday at 2 p.m., for instance, you don't have to provide a full meal. Instead, you can get away with serving hot apple cider, desserts and perhaps some mulled wine. Your guests can bring their kids so they don't have to spring for a sitter -- and everyone's happy. Vivaldo also likes to bake an extra two or three dozen cookies that she leaves unfrosted. Then she covers a card table with a plastic tablecloth, sets out tubes of icing and lets her younger guests go crazy decorating. If there are any left at the end of the party, the kids can take them home as party favors.

Success secret: Spell it out on the invitation that it's a cider and cookies party so that guests won't be expecting more.

Soup for a crowd

Soup is another good way to stretch your party dollar, and it's easier to serve than you might think. Vivaldo likes to cook up a big pot, leave it simmering on the stove and ladle it into tea and coffee cups, mixing patterns (if you don't have enough, borrow some). One of Vivaldo's favorite crowd-pleasers is ginger carrot soup: simply saute carrots and leeks until soft and puree in a blender along with some fresh ginger, adding chicken or vegetable broth if necessary. Then serve with a big basket of chewy breadsticks.

Success secret: The best party soups are easy-to-sip purees -- no one wants to deal with spoons when standing and socializing.

Champagne tasting

More unusual than a regular cocktail party, a tasting is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Ask each couple to bring a bottle of bubbly in the $20 to $25 range. Prepare some nibbles, such as cheese puffs, or try this recipe for a succulent baked brie that only looks expensive:

1. Cut a 2-pound round of brie in half crosswise and spread the bottom half with two 6-ounce containers of pesto.

2. Replace top half, place on a sheet of puff pastry (from the supermarket's frozen food section) that's been slightly thawed and rolled out on a nonstick baking sheet.

3. Fold the corners up and seal at the top with a little beaten egg white. Spritz the brie with cooking spray, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 F or until lightly brown.

4. Serve the delicious gooey results with crackers. For a dessert variation, fill the brie with raspberry jam and candied walnuts and serve with shortbread cookies. Then pop those corks, and rate the different bottles.

Success secret: If you don't have enough champagne flutes, borrow or buy them cheaply (Vivaldo stocks up on elegant glass flutes from IKEA at $4.99 for six and stores them in the box between parties).

Nancy Kalish has written for many publications, including Parenting, Parents, Real Simple, Reader's Digest, More, Health, Prevention, Self and Fitness. She is the co-author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It.


 
 

 

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