Have you been perusing the ‘net for a few new great appetizer recipes or drink ideas for your next holiday get-together? If so, you’ve definitely come to the right place! Author and lifestyle expert Jennifer Bushman joined me recently to share a few great budget friendly appetizers, and dish on a new drink that’s sure to be a big hit with the chocolate/wine lover at your celebration!
Candace Rose: Entertaining, especially during the holidays can be stressful. What advice do you have for those hosting holiday get-togethers this season?
Jennifer Bushman: Part of it is planning in advance. We get kind of behind because we’re busy, we’re gift shopping and things are really busy this time of year. The trick is buying things that you can and really planning in advance so that you don’t get stressed. And certainly I find that what happens is my guests are arriving, I’m cooking and I don’t have time to think about (for example) the start of the meal- the appetizers.
Appetizers should be simple, they should be easy to put together, and what I’ve got here (please see video above) is Hillshire Farm Lit’l Smokies, and I made a cocktail length appetizer that are called ‘Party Animals’. You can lay them out on a platter and they’re simple to put together made in advance. You can actually find these in the refrigerator meat section of the grocery store. And you can get them in either chicken or turkey if you want different options. So again, a very simple appetizer while you’re getting everything else going because part of it is we have these different traditional foods that we want to make whether it’s turkey or roast beef or even a ham, and we don’t really have a chance to be creative with the cooking. So we have something that’s really creative in an appetizer.
Take a look at this side dish (please see video above), this is actually a potato gratin, it’s made out of sweet potatoes and russet potatoes as well. And speaking of making it in advance, you can make it in advance, have it in the refrigerator and then just pop it in the oven as soon as you’re getting ready to pull out the turkey. And it just needs to warm through so it’s a very simple easy side dish, but something different.
And then we want to think about different types of drinks as well. It’s something where often times there are a lot of opinions, there’s a lot of different things to serve but I like to pick something that’s new and also something that’s less traditional. ChocolatRouge wine is actually a blend of perfect flavors- red wine and chocolate. You can serve it as is or you can mix it into a cocktail. And there are three varieties so you can put it all out, there’s milk chocolate, there’s a dark red, and a sweet red so it kind of satisfies everybody’s palette.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Jennifer Bushman: “One of the things is we forget about equipment in the kitchen, things like sharpening your knives and also your cookware. Premium professional dishwasher safe cookware by Farberware is exclusively available at Macy’s, essentially it’s made with Dupont teflon. It’s a professional nonstick coating along with metal guard, which means you’re not going to be able to scratch the surface depending on what utensils you use which is great. It’s big relief not to scratch it. And the other thing is you can just prop it in the dishwasher, so essentially you make it all, you put all your dirty dishes into the dishwasher, run it and you’re ready for the crowd to arrive.”