NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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It's Party Season

It’s Party Season


Between Christmas and New Year’s, the number of "Open Houses", "Family Dinners’ and "Neighborhood Potlucks" can be astounding. If you are the hostess of one of these holiday events, a little planning can eliminate a lot of stress.

- Decide what type of party will work for you and your guests – cocktails, dessert only, self-serve buffet, finger foods that can be eaten while standing, sit-down dinner, appetizers only, potluck or a combination of any of the above.

- Inventory what pots, pans, dishes, flatware, glasses, napkins, serving dishes and utensils you have on hand. By comparing equipment on hand to your ideal menu, you can be certain you have the items needed to make a particular dish; you can also adjust your menu so the expense of purchasing specialty serving dishes is eliminated.

- Festive foods can be healthy. Every holiday menu has some unique foods that fall into the "special treat" category. Fudge, cheesecake, buttery cookies and ethnic goodies are just a few of the "special treat" foods. Also including simple, healthy foods in your menu can be a healthier choice for your guests and a less time-intensive, less-expensive choice for you. Baked chips with fruit salsa or a low-fat dip, fresh fruit, whole-grain breads, veggie trays and veggie side dishes are becoming more and more popular at holiday gatherings.

- Look at freezer space, oven space, counter top space and frig space as well as seating space. Even if all the main dish items for a dinner fit into your oven, do they need different temperatures? Is there space on the counter top to transfer dessert from pans to individual plates? And of course, how salads can your frig hold?

- The amount of food you will need will depend upon the age of guests, the time of day and any other activities guests may be enjoying. What and how much young children will eat after a game of softball will differ greatly from an evening, adults-only gathering. For most gatherings, count on 4 to 6 hors d/oeuvres per person if you are also serving a meal. For an appetizer only party, count on 12 items per person.

These Crab Salad Bites are not only tasty but can be made ahead of time and frozen for enjoyment later.



Crab Salad Bites

1 can (6 ounces) lump crabmeat, drained

1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 package (1.9 ounces) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells

In a small bowl, combine the crabmeat, cheese, mayonnaise, celery, onion, parsley and pepper. Spoon filling into tart shells. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Or, place tart shells on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until shells are lightly browned. Serve warm.

To use frozen tarts: Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: 15 appetizers.

Nutrition Facts: 1 appetizer equals 47 calories,

Happy Holidays!

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