Recipe Ideas For A Winter Party

Dear Sugar
I am planning to throw a holiday dinner party at my home for eight friends in the beginning of December. Do you know of any delicious warm winter meals that I can serve that are relatively easy to cook? I work full time and will be able to get out early but will only have about an hour and a half to prepare. Hostess Hope

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Dear Hostess Hope,
This wonderfully delicious, four course meal is both easy and impressive. Your guests will leave with a satisfied belly that will make them think you've slaved for days preparing. Set the table nicely and add a festive gourd or colorful and prearranged flower centerpiece to the center of the table. Also, don't forget to serve water. It's important to drink and it will also help to fill everyone up! Here's everything you will need and how to do it. Bon Appetit.

APPETIZER: BEET, GOAT CHEESE & ARUGULA SALAD
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp thinly sliced shallots
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil
6 beets, cooked and quartered (yellow or red)
6 cups fresh arugula
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
3 oz crumbled goat cheese
Add salt and pepper to taste

PREPARE AND COOK:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and foil. Whisk the honey, balsamic vinegar and the shallots together in a separate bowl. As you are whisking, add in the oil slowly. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. Place the beets in another bowl with some of the dressing and then put them on the baking sheet to roast for 12 minutes. Stir them occasionally and them set them aside to cool. Next, stir the arugula in a bowl with some vinaigrette. Pre-plate the salad and arrange the beets around the greens when cool. Lastly sprinkle the cheese and the avocado on top.

*Serves four, so double the recipe for eight people.

ENTREE: HONEY SPICED GLAZED CHICKEN

1/4 cup honey
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cayenne pepper
4 chicken breasts cut in half on the bone with the skin on. (about 10 oz)
Add salt and pepper to taste

PREPARE AND COOK:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the honey, garlic, lemon juice, brown sugar, mustard paprika and cayenne pepper together. Place chicken on a baking sheet and with a sharp knife, put 2 deep slits into each breast. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the raw chicken and then use a brush to spread 2/3rds of the honey mixture evenly on top. Bake for 15 minutes.

At this time, brush on the remainder of the glaze on top of the semi-cooked chicken and bake again for another 10-12 minutes. Then preheat the broiler. Take the chicken out of the oven and pour the juices from the baking sheet onto the chicken and place it inside the broiler for 1-2 minutes until the skin is nice and crispy. Serve immediately.

*Serves four, so double the recipe for eight people.

SIDE DISH: ROASTED HERB RUSSET POTATOES

2 lbs russet potatoes (slice into wedges)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp chopped oregano
4 minced garlic cloves
8 oz. goat cheese or feta cheese (crumbled)
Add salt and pepper to taste

PREPARE AND COOK:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread out your sliced potatoes on another baking sheet. Then mix the oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper onto them. Roast the potatoes for about 15 minutes until they are browned on one side. Then, flip them over and roast the second side for another 15-20 minutes. They should be golden. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle either the goat or the feta cheese on top.

DESSERT: GOOEY CHOCOLATE WRAPS
1/2 cup almond paste
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/4 cup mini-marshmallows
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
Whipped cream
Vanilla ice cream

PREPARE:
Preheat a grill to low. Spread almond paste evenly on each tortilla. Sprinkle a little bit more than 1/4 cup of marshmallows and a little but more than 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips onto one side of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla up, wrap it in tin foil and it seal tightly. Repeat until all of the tortillas are filled. You can do this the night before so all you have to do is heat them up before dessert. Grill the bundles over low heat for about 5-10 minutes or until they are heated through. Remove foil and place on a plate. Garnish with fresh sweetened whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.

(Recipe is a "Sugarized" version of Paula Deen's).

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