Holiday Party Food and Fun

As mentioned in an earlier post, my annual Tree Trimming Party was this past Sunday. I must admit although it was a blast, I am happy to get back to some semblance of a normal life. I am never one for asking people to bring food. You always end up with too many chips and dip. I am not a big chip lover so that wouldn’t work for me.

I plan the party on a theme, although I don’t stay rigid to it. This year the theme was Italian. Now, for those of you “true” Italians, this is not the Christmas eve feast party. One of the guys I have been dating is Italian and he had all kinds of great ideas for me to make Baccala (salt cod…yuk), Fish salad and who knows what else.

Well fish smells up the house and I wanted it to smell like the holidays, cinnamon and ginger and nutmeg, cookie dough, those kinds of smells. So it wasn’t traditional Italian. It was Sheila’s idea of Italian. By the way, my Charlie Brown tree looks very pretty after my friends trimmed the tree for me!

Here is a rundown of the food and drink:

Sangria de Flora: White Sangria with Grand Marnier and Elderflower Liqueur (My mother said it was pretty potent!)

Mulled Cider: Non Alcoholic but with Rum for those that wanted to partake

Beer, Vernon’s Ginger Ale (love the vanilla in it), Diet Coke and Water

Italian Liqueurs included Limón cello, Amaretto and Sambuca Café

Food: Rosemary Walnuts

Candied Pistachios

For the Vegetarians I included Spinach Mozzarella Ravioli and Spinach Artichoke Hummus with Pita Chips (these were store bought, not homemade. I bought the Ravioli at Costco and the Hummus is Cedars brand from Wholefoods)

Antipasto platter with an assortment of Italian cheeses (Provolone, Fontina, Parmesan and a wine soaked cheese)and meats (Genoa salami, Sopresetta, Capicolla), Marinated Artichokes, Raw veggies, Roasted Red Pepper, Pepperoncini which was “HOT”, and an assortment of Green and Black Italian Olives

Italian style Deviled Eggs

Kebabs with Mozzarella balls, sun dried tomato and basil

Florentine Meatballs and Hot Italian Sausage with Marinara Sauce

Tiramisu dip with fresh strawberries

Shortbread Cookies, Anise Cookies, Chocolate Shortbread Cookies dipped in Chocolate and topped with Peppermint stick, Molasses Cookies, Pannetone (Italian fruit bread) and Amaretti (yes, I made all but the last two!)

Dark Chocolate and Grand Marnier Truffles

White chocolate and Ginger Truffles with Toasted Coconut

White Chocolate Truffles with Cranberries and Cointreau

Dark chocolate bark with ginger, dried cherries and walnuts

One of my guests brought some wonderful Gingerbread men also.

That’s a lot of food but everyone ate well and hopefully went home having enjoyed themselves.

I hear the meatballs were pretty good so I thought I would share the recipe and a secret with you. The secret is that I tasted them before serving them, so I can attest to them being good!

I was able to make a double recipe pretty easily by using an ice cream scoop

(http://shopping.yahoo.com/p:OXO%2021291%20Good%20Grips%20Trigger%20Scoop:2001865730;_ylt=AhuRyjA354nea5pOd3QhoAf_nbsF). I bought mine at a Pampered Chef party I think but they are very handy to have around. Anyway, the good thing about the ice cream scoop is that you can make meatballs of consistent size but also it doesn’t compact the meatballs which make them lighter and tastier.

I don’t recall where I found this recipe, but it was online. The original recipe called for a beef sauce which I didn’t make. For the sauce, I took some good store bought spaghetti sauce and added the sautéed Italian Sausage, some Italian spices, Bay leaf and sautéed onion to it.

Here is the meatball recipe:

Florentine meatballs


• 1 (10 ounces) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and moisture squeezed out

• 3 eggs

• 2 slices bread, crumbled ( I used Italian breadcrumbs for flavor and because I was taking shortcuts. If you do, just use enough to bind the mixture)

• 1 tbl chopped fresh parsley

• 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

• salt and pepper to taste

• 1 clove garlic, minced

• 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck

• 1 small onion, finely minced

• flour

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

Beat eggs and mix with bread, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add meat, spinach and onion, mixing well. Shape int 1-inch meatballs, roll in flour and brown in skillet in hot olive oil. Remove meatballs.

Heat sauce then add meatballs and cook until warm. Serve as an appetizer or over some whole grain pasta.

I hope you enjoy these. Have a great week!