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Party Planning & Entertaining

10 Tips for Effortless Holiday Entertaining Plus Easy Holiday Entertaining Recipes

Recipes in this Feature:
~ Salmon Puffs
~ Dubliner White Bean and Rosemary Dip
~ Cheddar and Poppyseed Straws
~ Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake in Mint Condition
~ Caramelt Your Heart
~ Bailey's Butterscotch Dream

(Family Features) - It's the most hectic time of the year. And yet, it's the season when we all yearn to entertain. These tips can help you be a gracious host without spending hours getting ready.

  1. Mix homemade dishes with store-bought items. Make sensational appetizers and a fabulous dessert and just buy the rest pre-made - such as a honey-baked ham, rolls and a big salad of pre-washed, packaged baby greens.

  2. For starters, think cheese. Imported cheeses are available conveniently from the supermarket and are always crowd-pleasers. Try such cheeses as Dubliner, Blarney Castle or Ivernia, made with milk from grass-fed cows with no antibiotics or growth hormones. Arrange on a bread board with a scattering of nuts and dried fruit and a bowl of chutney. Surround with breads or crackers for an instant appetizer.

  3. Skip the baking and end the meal with a spectacular drinkable dessert. It's easy to create a drinkable twist on traditional desserts - just start with a base of Baileys Original Irish Cream liqueur or one of Baileys Flavors shaken with ice, pour in a martini glass and decorate with a fun garnish like chocolate shavings, syrup or whipped topping. Guests are sure to be impressed.

  4. Organize your shopping list by store - grocery, housewares, party supplies. Keep lists handy and purchase staples when you are out and about.

  5. Anticipate serving needs. Lay out serving dishes on the table in advance to make sure the platters fit the space and look harmonious. Identify what food goes in which platter with a sticky note. Borrow additional platters as needed.

  6. Make a schedule. Backing up from the party start time, note important time needs: when to remove cheeses from the refrigerator to get them to room temperature, when to preheat the oven to heat the hors d'oeuvres, when to put the ham in the oven, when to start mixing dessert drinks.

  7. Set the stage. Add instant enchantment throughout the house with inexpensive pillar candles. Tuck branches of fresh evergreens at the base for their heady scent.

  8. Add signature touches. Garnish ham with red and green grapes. Serve rolls with a distinctive imported butter, such as Kerrygold pure Irish butter. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on the salad.

  9. Save your guests the hassle of finding a ride to the party. For friends who live near each other, offer to arrange a carpool with a designated driver or provide your guests with the phone number for a local taxi service.

  10. Select from these appetizers and desserts to plan your menu. They can be used for cocktail parties, dinner parties or large buffets; fill in with purchased items for the rest.

Salmon Puffs

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

1 cup shredded Kerrygold Ivernia Cheese

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup creme fraiche

1 (4-ounce) package very thinly sliced smoked salmon

Tiny fresh dill sprigs

Heat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll puff pastry into 14- x 14-inch square on lightly floured board. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and pepper and cover with waxed paper; press firmly into dough with a rolling pin. Cut dough into six equal strips vertically and five equal strips horizontally to make 30 pieces and place on baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely. (May be prepared a day ahead and stored airtight.) Spread equal dabs of creme fraiche on each puff. Top with salmon and dill sprigs. Makes 30 appetizers.

White Bean and Rosemary Dip

1 (15-ounce) can small white beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup shredded Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese

3/4 cup sour cream

1 to 2 cloves garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Dippers: colorful vegetable pieces, baguette slices or crackers

Puree beans, cheese, sour cream and garlic in food processor until very smooth. Add rosemary; using on and off pulses, process until rosemary is finely chopped. Season with pepper. Serve with dippers. (Dip is best prepared a day or two in advance and refrigerated to meld flavors.) Makes about 2 cups.

Cheddar and Poppyseed

1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

1 cup shredded Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar Cheese

1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Garlic salt

Heat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Knead all ingredients except garlic salt together for a few minutes. Form into walnut-size balls, then roll out to form long thin sticks. Place on baking sheets and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Makes about 32 straws.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake To Drink

2 1/2 ounces Baileys Mint Chocolate liqueur

1/2 ounce Smirnoff Twist of Black Cherry Vodka

2 teaspoons cheesecake pudding and pie mix

Garnish: whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings, mint sprig, a maraschino cherry

Shake together liqueur, vodka and pudding mix in cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into martini glass. Garnish with whipped cream, dark chocolate shavings, mint sprig and maraschino cherry.

Caramelt Your Heart

1/2 cup ice

1 cup caramel ice cream

1/4 cup milk

2 ounces Baileys Caramel liqueur

1 1/2 tablespoons hot fudge

Garnish: caramel and whipped cream

Combine ice, caramel ice cream, milk and liqueur in blender and blend until combined. For more texture, add more ice. Drizzle caramel into tall glass and then add mixture from blender. Heat up hot fudge and drop into center of drink. Top with whipped cream and caramel.

Baileys Butterscotch Dream

2 ounces Baileys Original Irish Cream liqueur

1 ounce Smirnoff Twist of Vanilla Vodka

1/2 ounce butterscotch syrup

Garnish: mint sprig, cinnamon, brown sugar and crushed graham cracker mixture

Add ice to martini glass to chill and place aside. In shaker, pour ice, liqueur, vodka and syrup and shake. Empty ice out of chilled martini glass and rim in cinnamon, brown sugar and graham cracker mixture. Drizzle butterscotch syrup into martini glass to decorate. Pour contents of shaker into glass and garnish with mint sprig.

SOURCE: Baileys Irish Cream / Irish Dairy Board



 
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