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NORMAL CHEF: Holiday entertaining

It is the holiday season, and that means it is entertaining time, one of my favorite times of the year. Whether you do something big or small, casual or formal, it is about being together with family and or friends, so relax and have a good time.

Take the time to plan out a menu, who  you are inviting, if you want casual or formal, pot luck, sit down, or buffet style.

Are you going with a theme, or just holiday in general. Invitations, yes or no? I personally like invitations, and dislike the general create an event page on Facebook, I think it lacks the personal touch, plus I like to make my own and still like getting something in the mail, it is like a pleasant surprise. If you do a pot luck keep track of what people are bringing, so you can fill in what is missing, or you can ask people to bring something specific and keep a list, do not forget to include disposable plates, napkins, cups, and, cutlery.

Are you going to decorate your tables? If so it is also fun to get some of your crafting friends together and plan something, or take some ideas from Pinterest. If you are hosting a cookie exchange party have some extra containers that you purchased from the dollar tree that people can take with them, just to be safe and extra index cards in case people didn't write down enough copies of thier recipes for everyone.

With all that being said I have a couple of my favorite recipes for holiday entertaining that I am going to share with you. So please eat, drink, be merry and have a great time. As always if you questions please feel free to email me. Merry Christmas.

Classic cheese ball

  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
  • 1/2 t. Worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 t. Granulated garlic
  • 1/2 t. Onion powder
  • 1/4 t. Hot pepper sauce
  • 3 each green onions, sliced
  • 2 T. chopped parsley

Cream cheese until softened, mix in rest of ingredients until incorporated, and then here comes the fun part of you want, you can shape into a ball, a wreath, a bell whatever you can think of, put in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes to firm it up and then coat it in chopped pecans, or combination of chopped pecans and dried cranberries ( my favorite ), or chopped parsley or your favorite toppings and then serve it with crackers, pretzels, and even fresh vegetables.

Mini ham puffs.

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter/ margarine
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1# of your favorite deli ham, I like the black forest ham, finely chopped
  • 1T. Stone ground mustard
  • 3/4 t Black pepper
  • 3/4 t Onion salt
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Ok first thing your going to do is make your pate a choux.

Heat oven to 400. Heat water and butter to a rolling boil, stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute, remove from heat, add eggs one at a time until incorporated, and smooth and glossy. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake until puffed and golden brown and dry about 25 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Mix all filling ingredients together and refrigerate. Just before serving cut the tops off and fill with this mixture and serve.

Now if you want you can make a double batch of the pate a choux, and fill the second batch with a dessert filling and you also have a quick cream puff. Quick cheater recipe, buy a box of flavored pudding, make using directions on box, when set up, thin with cool whip and soon into cream puff and sprinkle to with powder sugar or dip tops of cream puffs in melted chocolate, and serve.
Finally you have to have something to drink right? So let's make a punch.

Holiday punch

  • 1. 2 liter bottle of 7-up
  • 1 can pineapple juice
  • 1 46oz bottle of cranberry juice
  • 2 to 3 cups of whiskey, your favorite kind

Mix all together put it in a punch bowl add some fresh cranberries, sliced oranges, and sliced limes, and ice cubes and serve.

Remember holiday entertaining is about having fun and enjoying your family and friends, so please don't stress about it, If you choose to, go to the grocery store and by pre made trays, or have it catered, either or just have a great time. Merry Christmas everyone.

Natilie Cavnar is a cooking fanatic who loves to try new recipes, and create some of her own, ask her what you want at thenormalchef@gmail.com.

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