This month on FBC we are forgoing our weekly menu plan for something different - with a festive twist! A whole week of holiday entertaining menu plans! Be it a cocktail party, a Christmas brunch, a New Year's Eve fete, to name a few, we've got 5 great FBC Members who will be sharing menu plans and entertaining tips so you'll have your holiday parties covered. And it's all with a little help from Egg Farmers of Canada!
For part 2 in our 5 part series of holiday entertaining menus we head to Life Through the Kitchen Window where Marlene Cornelis will help us navigate hosting a casual open house or afternoon mingle. The secret is simple items in big batches that pack a flavour punch! Take it away Marlene...
An afternoon holiday open house, or mingle, is a great way to gather friends, family, neighbours and colleagues to celebrate the spirit of the season.
You can entertain a lot of people in a relatively small space because they come and go at different times and many will stand. Inevitably, at some point you’ll have a crush of people, so keep the holiday décor to a minimum, but still showcase your personality and style. A charmingly child-decorated gingerbread house is a great conversation starter. And don’t forget to cue an upbeat holiday playlist to set the tone!
You and your guests will enjoy the mingle even more if you serve a relatively restrained selection of simple dishes that you can prepare in big batches in advance and easily replenish over the course of the afternoon. Choose food that’s easy to eat cocktail party-style, with one or two wow factor offerings to jazz up the holiday vibe.
Soup's On! Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Baby, it’s cold outside! These festive roasted red pepper and tomato soup shooters will help your guests warm up. Just keep the soup hot in a slow cooker on the buffet station and use a metal turkey baster to serve it neatly in shot glasses or espresso cups. Rent or borrow extra if you need to.
Hot Hors D'Oeuvres - Gougeres
Talk about wow factor: guests ooh and aah over gougeres, classic French cheese puffs. You don’t need to tell them how easy it is to crack out the Canadian eggs and make them! You can freeze gougeres unbaked weeks in advance and bake them off throughout the afternoon. Ask a friend to help; circulating with trays of piping hot hors d’oeuvres is a sure way to be the most popular person at the mingle!
Something Exotic - Muhammara
It’s always fun to serve a dish that may be new to some guests, like Middle Eastern muhammara. Featuring creamy roasted red pepper, the nubbly texture of walnuts and sweet tang of pomegranate molasses along with a spicy kick, this dip will get the crowd talking. Make it a day ahead and refrigerate so the flavours have time to develop.
Be An Accommodating Host - Chunky Guacamole
Your guests with dietary restrictions appreciate having suitable food options. This chunky guacamole with tomato packs a big punch of bright flavour. You can serve it on crostini, tortilla chips, sliced vegetables or porcelain spoons. Just make it a little less chunky to lessen the tumbling guac risk factor. It’s vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian and raw. The omnivores in the crowd will love it too.
Spiced and sugared nuts are the quintessential holiday nibble, especially with a glass of bubbly. Scatter dishes of these throughout the party space for people too engrossed in conversation to head over to the buffet table. Bowls of clementines look appealing and offer a fresh alternative to rich food; just put out plates for the rinds.
Bacon & Egg Canapes (From Egg Farmers of Canada)
These Bacon and Egg Bites from Egg Farmers of Canada are an easy way to dress up everyone's favourite bacon and eggs into easy and elegant canapés. Have all the ingredients ready and simply assemble before company arrives and you're good to go! Plus, they're easy to eat standing up!
Sweet Treats - Sparkly Ginger Snaps
Subject to the tastes of your crowd, generally about 75 percent of the food you serve should be savoury. That said, no holiday party is complete without a tray or two of sweets. Keep them small so your guests can sample everything (and surreptitiously have seconds). Holiday treats don’t need to be highly decorated to be festive, as proved by these sparkly ginger snaps that you can freeze in large batches ahead of time. They might even lure Leonard Cohen to your mingle.
Elfin Brownie Bites
It goes without saying that there must (must!) be at least one chocolate offering on the serving table to keep your guests happy. These elfin brownie bites in festive petit four cups, topped with a chocolate swirl or other party-perfect adornment, are yet another make-ahead offering with Canadian eggs that will free you up to mingle with your guests and be the life of your own party.
Marlene Cornelis writes the real life entertaining blog Life Through the Kitchen Window. She does crazy things like invite over one hundred people to a holiday mingle at her rather small home in Canada’s London, where she serves hundreds of gougeres, gingersnaps and other treats.
The Whole Holiday Entertaining Series
- Monday - The Cocktail Party (Jan Scott of Family Bites)
- Tuesday - The Casual Open House (Marlene Cornelis of Life Through the Kitchen Window
- Wednesday - The Holiday Sweets Table (Lisa Bolton of Food Well Said)
- Thursday - The Christmas Brunch (Jacqueline Delisle of Cooking With Jax)
- Friday - The New Years Eve Party (Brittany Stager of My Daily Randomness)
The Holiday Entertaining Menu Plan is brought to you by the Egg Farmers of Canada!