I came down with a horrific cold Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so I’ve been resting and medicating myself with Zicam, chicken soup, and nibbling on cranberry pecan pie crust leaves, (perfectly tasty all by themselves if you’re too lethargic to make turkey pot pie :)
Not up to Decking the Halls, I spent some time looking through back issues of Christmas magazines and cookbooks to get myself in the Christmas spirit, Making Lists and mentally making holiday plans and menus. I’m always on the lookout for make-ahead and easy appetizers for the holidays, even if my taste buds are numb from zinc lozenges. . .
I realized I was so consumed by my cookie haul from our cookie exchange last year, inspiring my Milk & Cookies for Santa table, that I hadn’t posted or shared recipes.
For a centerpiece for our cookie exchange, we filled my friend Annie’s beautiful Fitz & Floyd cookie jars with a mixture of cut greenery~ cedar, pine, Leyland cypress, magnolia, and holly and added some apples, artichokes and tucked in a few ornaments and pine cones.
My friend Annie has a beautiful home
that is always decked out for the holidays!
One of my favorite appetizers to serve straight from the oven is Ina Garten’s Savory Palmiers.
Puff Pastry filled with a mixture of pesto, goat cheese, sundried tomato and pine nuts~ while they’re best served warm from the oven, they can be made ahead in a roll and frozen, then sliced and baked later, a few at a time or by the roll!
I pull them out of the freezer 30 minutes before baking, slice them still slightly frozen (they’re easy to cut), and bake at 400 degrees for about 12 – 15 minutes. I make mine in a pin wheel shape for easier freezing and slicing but you can fold in the palmier shape, with printable directions from Food Network, here.
I always like to have Athens Mini Fillo Shells in the freezer for the holidays to fill with anything sweet or savory.
We served them filled with goat cheese, fig preserves and nuts. We used silvered almonds, but chopped pecans or walnuts are good too.
Marinated Shrimp and Artichokes was one of the 2011 Best Recipes in Southern Living~ and it can double as a side dish or appetizer, made 8 to 24 hours in advance.
Shrimp, artichoke hearts, black olives, feta cheese, and grape tomatoes are marinated in olive oil, white balsamic vinegar and garlic-and-herb dressing mix.
Serve in beautiful glass bowl or individual martini glasses!
You can find a printable recipe courtesy of Southern Living, here.
The season for greenery and wreaths, Spinach Cheese Tortellini and Marinara, from the grocery store is ready in minutes~ arrange in the shape of a wreath and add a bow!
And last but not least, Cha-Cha Chicken Salad~
A creamy chicken salad that’s pressed into a mold and inverted onto a plate or cake stand, made 8 – 24 hours in advance.
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened (I used lite)
1 cup mayonnaise (I used 3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup chopped roasted, salted almonds
Whisk together cream cheese and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in chicken, pineapple, and cranberries just until blended.
If desired, spoon mixture into a plastic wrap-lined 8-inch round cake pan; cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Invert chicken salad onto a cake stand, and remove plastic wrap. Gently press chopped almonds onto sides of chicken salad. Garnish, if desired.
You can find a printable recipe,
courtesy Southern Living, here.
Christmas Party Table Details:
Plates/ Spode Christmas Tree
Sleigh & Santa List Cookie Jars/ Fitz & Floyd, many years ago
Martini glasses (shrimp)/ Pier 1, many years ago
Red lacquer tray (shrimp)/ Target, several years ago
Glass platter (tortellini)/ T.J. Maxx, last year
Platter (palmiers), retail days
Bow platter (chicken salad)/ Fitz & Floyd, many years ago
Plate (chicken salad)/ Savinio Designs, HomeGoods, several years ago
‘Spread the Joy’ spreader (chickens salad)/ Williams-Sonoma, last year
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