Last Minute Entertaining Ideas

Well, the snow certainly arrived! It took until past midnight last night, but when it started coming down, it didn’t stop until we had about a foot. The morning was so lovely and quiet.

I started out by baking Trader Joe’s apple spice bread which was a warm, apple-y pre-shoveling treat with a couple of cups of Irish breakfast tea. If you are having overnight company over the holidays or need a quick dish to bring to a brunch, I would definitely recommend this bread mix. It is easy enough for non bakers like me!


We spent some time this morning just lazing around, which was SO nice. With only two work days this week, I know I am in for a nightmare. When we were ready, we bundled up and shoveled our driveway, sidewalk, and stairs, then helped our neighbor shovel his driveway so that he could get inside to watch the Pats game :) I love our neighborhood.

Now I am ready for some fun. Last week I was contacted by a public relations firm representing Mezzetta offering to send some holiday recipes and samples. You may remember my love of Mezzetta products from the Foodbuzz Festival. Their many products include roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, and olives stuffed with all sorts of mouthwatering things like jalapenos. They were kind enough to send me roasted red peppers and olives stuffed with jalapenos. You saw the red peppers in last night’s Brussels sprouts, a holiday side that will be sure to please even the pickiest veggie eater. The olives, well I failed to photograph them because I singlehandedly finished the jar in about a day and a half :( So firm, salty, and delicious, and the jalapenos really added the spicy punch that I LOVE in my food. It was like Mezzetta knew exactly what I liked!

Speaking of roasted red peppers and other deliciousness, I thought I would just share a few easy homemade ideas that you could easily use this week, some that I have used and some recommended by Mezzetta. 

Creamy roasted red pepper dip- Roast a head of garlic (see how in this post). Place 3-4 cloves of garlic in a food processor with 1/2 large jar of roasted red peppers. Puree until thoroughly blended, then add 12 ounces of whipped cream cheese,ricotta, or goat cheese and continue to blend until you have a lovely, creamy reddish pink dip. Serve with toasted pita triangles, crostini, or vegetables.


Spiced, toasted almonds- take two cups of raw, whole almonds, and toss them with olive oil, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and sea salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, keeping an eye on the almonds to make sure that they do not burn.


Ideas from Mezzetta for a 20 minute miracle party:

A martini bar with a variety of drinks, sweet, savory, spicy, and traditional, with garnishes like olives, onions, and maraschino cherries. If you saw my Foodbuzz Festival posts, you will see the gorgeous Sweet Pepper Martini that Mezzetta prepared at the magical tasting pavilion. I pretty much guarantee that if you make this for your holiday party, it will wow your guests and make them feel like they are at a fancy martini bar.


Make me a crostini bar:

A variety of spreads like the roasted red pepper dip above, baked goat cheese in marinara, or lemon artichoke parmesan spread allow guests to mix and match their favorite toppings with crunchy crostini, crackers, or baguette slices.

Ultimate antipasti:

As easy as opening a few jars of olives, artichoke hearts, pickled veggies and laying them out festively with different cheeses and/or types of meat, an antipasti provides something for everyone.

There are many recipes for holiday and everyday foods and drinks over at the Mezzetta site, so check it out!

Are you entertaining this week or next? What’s on the menu?

Here are some past posts that might be helpful to you!

Wines for Every Occasion


Party Planning 101

In addition to my Christmas excitement, I am also getting pumped for the New Year. I start it out with a trip to Arizona, then 10 days in Ireland immediately after. I am also signed up for two classes so far at the Boston Center for Adult Education, their celebrity chef series and a champagne/sparkling wine tasting class. AND I am going to be taking a wine class online at The Wine Spectator School. My goal? To take 12 food or wine related classes in 2010. There is so much to learn!

We are trying to decide whether or not to go out tonight to get out of the house for a bit. I hope you are all staying warm and safe in this wintry weather. Get ready for a short week!

  1. Christine @ FRESH LOCAL AND BEST’s avatar

    Score! There’s so many great appetizers and dishes that can be made out of roasted red peppers. I like the idea of the creamy red roasted pepper dip! Bravo on your expedition to continue accumulating knowledge about food and wine. I agree there is so much to learn!


  2. Simply Life’s avatar

    A friend of mine just made that bread for a holiday party and it was great!


  3. MarathonVal’s avatar

    Love your holiday entertaining tips – and you are going to have such a fun year taking 12+ food and wine classes, it will be a blast to read about everything you do and learn!


  4. Kelly’s avatar

    I saw the Apple Spiced bread at TJs and I wanted to get it, but I didn’t for some reason- now I should haha.

    I can’t wait to read about what you learn about in your food and wine classes!


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