Recipe Box, Party Recipes & Presentations

To be a RELAXED HOST OR HOSTESS there is one rule you MUST follow, KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Especially during the holidays when there is so much stress anyway.  When you are hosting a meal or a party this season, use some of your tried and true dishes, things that are always good, and tweak them a little by changing the PRESENTATION.  You can serve everyday chips and dip, but if you put them in unexpected serving pieces your guests will rave!

Here are some photos to get your creative juices flowing…

Veggies  served in a strawberry pot with a bowl for the dip on top.  There is a ziplock bag full of ice in the pot which keeps the veggies & dip cold and keeps the veggies from slipping down.

How about some colored chips spilling from a cornucopia for some Thanksgiving snacking?

And your dip could go in a relish server like this glass turkey

just try to keep an open mind and use what you have in different ways

or maybe you could make something like this tureen work

I just set a dish on his back as a serving option.

For Christmas there are endless possibilities for veggies and dips, and here is an obvious one I did last year

A simple antipasto tray, but made special with some simple presentation touches, the rolled salami, artistic arrangement of items and the addition of some more interesting things for munching like, snow peas, asparagus spears, and radishes.

These little sandwiches pretty much scream Christmas anyway, and you could plate them in a circle on a bed of greens to look like a wreath, or arrange them to look like ornaments on a tree.  Just take an easy, tried and true favorite recipe and think about an unusual or dramatic way to present it and it will seem like gourmet fare!

This is a great starter for a party, a simple warm bleu cheese fondue with an elegant presentation of crisp romaine leaves in an oversized martini glass

Here’s another standard party fare, tortilla spirals, that is elevated to dramatic presentation with a simple stacking on a spinach leaf lined holiday plate and a few cherry tomatoes …Instant Holiday Tree!  It was a big hit at our family Christmas Eve last year.

Sorry this photo is blurry, but I had to show you this “Peanut Butter & Jelly Sushi” that I made for the kiddos last Christmas.  They loved it!  Simply PB & J on thin white bread, rolled up and sliced sushi style.  It too was stacked in a tree manner on a bed of spinach, garnished with whole strawberries.

These Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin sliders are always a hit with the guests and they are perfect for a party because they have the 3 qualities that makes this recipe a all time favorite: EASY, DO AHEAD, SET & FORGET.  We grill the meat several hours before the party, let it rest for 30 minutes and then slice and plate the little sandwiches.  They are served at room temperature so you can JUST SET THEM OUT AND FORGET ABOUT THEM!

You will find the recipes from yesterday’s post, BABY HE OR BABY SHE? And the recipe for today’s Bleu Fondue below:

NOTE: If you don’t want to make a from scratch dip for your veggies, you can get away with using a GOOD QUALITY SALAD DRESSING.  It’s all about PRESENTATION anyway.  Chop some parsley, chives or herbs and sprinkle on top of the dressing and it will be party ready.


Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 pound blue cheese crumbled (recommended: Pt. Reyes)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Crisp small whole Romaine leaves celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumber spears, asparagus spears, pea pods
  • baguette toasts


  • In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter and cook until it is just beginning to brown. Immediately add the thyme and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent the garlic from browning.
  • Add the cream, raise the heat to medium, bring to a slow simmer and reduce the cream by 1/3, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cheese and stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is smooth, season, to taste, with pepper. Pour the sauce into a fondue pot and set over a candle to keep hot.


For an elegant presentation serve with crisp romaine leaves and long spears of salad vegetables arranged vertically in vases or glasses, placing cherry tomatoes on skewers.
Keyword blue cheese fondue, warm salad dressing dip


Perfect for any gathering, make a lot, they will disappear quickly!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 24


  • 6 slices thin bread like Pepperidge Farm thin white
  • 6 slices bacon cooked
  • 2 green onion tops
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 12 grape tomatoes
  • black pepper


  • Lightly toast bread. Cut each slice into 4 squares*. Chop green onion tops and bacon. Combine with just enough mayonnaise to bind. Season with pepper.
  • Cut ends off tomatoes and slice. Spread bacon mixture on toast squares and top with tomato slices. You can make these several hours ahead and refrigerate. Make a lot, they will go fast!


*If you want to get fancy, cut bread into shapes or circles with a cookie or biscuit cutter
Keyword Bacon & tomato sandwiches, bacon aioli, Christmas appetizer, party appetizer, tea sandwich, tomato canapes


Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


  • 1-2 small red potatoes per person
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • sour cream & chive dip


  • Wash red potatoes, place on foil lined baking sheet.
  • Drizzle with oil and roll around to oil all sides.
  • prinkle liberally with Kosher salt or seasoned Kosher salt blend.
  • Roast potatoes at 425 until just tender, 25 min.  Let cool.
  • Carefully halve potatoes being careful to keep skin in tact.
  • Gently scoop out most of the insides creating a shell.
  • Fill potatoes with SOUR CREAM & CHIVE DIP.
  • At this stage they can be refrigerated and baked right before serving.  When ready to serve, bake filled potatoes at 350 until everything is warm and yummy.  Serve warm, but they also are good at room temperature.
Keyword stuffed baby new potatoes, stuffed potato appetizer


Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


  • 8 oz cream cheese [light is fine
  • 2 tsp milk or cream
  • 2 T minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz sour cream [light is fine]
  • 2-3 oz dried beef
  • chopped chives or green onion tops
  • 2 T butter, melted [use real]
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans


  • Cream milk into cheese.
  • Mince beef slices with scissors and add to cream cheese with sour cream, chives and seasonings.
  • Put into a 1 qt dish and top with melted butter and then pecans.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


If you are using this for stuffed new potatoes, you can refrigerate until later or fill the potatoes now and either bake or refrigerate.
Keyword dried beef dip, sour cream and chive dip, stuffed potato appetizer


Prep Time 5 minutes
marinate 1 day
Course condiment, Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 1 pkg dry Onion Soup Mix [Lipton’s]
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2-1 bottle cooking sherry [1 cup]
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 T sesame oil


  • Mix ingredients together and pour over filet mignon, beef or pork tenderloin. [Or just put everything in a large ziplock and add meat]  Marinate overnight or up to 48 hours.
Keyword pork marinade, steak marinade, teriyaki marinade, teriyaki tenderloin

the Sesame oil is the secret ingredient that really amps up the flavor so don’t leave that out!

Also, let the meat marinate at least 24 hours, give it a chance to really soak up the flavor.

I used King’s Hawaiian Rolls, but they were so thick that I cut about a 1/2″ slice from the center while I was slicing them, see bread slices on far right in photo above

Then they weren’t so thick, I didn’t want the sandwiches to be all bread!


Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


  • 16 ounce package small cooked smoked sausage links
  • 15 slices bacon each cut crosswise into thirds
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil; lightly coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Wrap each sausage link with a bacon piece, overlapping the bacon piece at the end. Press the end of the bacon piece to seal or secure it with a wooden toothpick.
  • Place brown sugar in a large plastic storage bag. Add several bacon-wrapped sausages to bag and seal.
  • Shake bag gently to coat sausages with brown sugar; place sausages in prepared pan.
  • Repeat with remaining bacon-wrapped sausages and brown sugar.
  • Bake about 30 minutes or until the bacon is browned. Serve immediately. Makes about 45 appetizers.
Keyword bacon wrapped smokies, brown sugar bacon dogs, cocktail franks


I just changed up my recipe for HARVEST SNACK ATTACK using Chocolate Chex, vanilla goldfish, honey roasted peanuts, brown sugar & white chocolate, and not pictured, butter and powdered sugar.

Just mix the cereal, nuts and cookies together in a deep baking sheet, drizzle with melted butter mixed with brown sugar and bake for 30 minutes at 250, stirring half way through baking time.  Mix in white chocolate chips when hot from the oven and stir until they are melted evenly.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Course Appetizer, Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 1 box Chocolate Chex
  • 1 cup goldfish grahams vanilla cupcake
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 jar Planter’s honey dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz white chocolate chips


  • Combine chex, grahams, and nuts in a large baking pan with sides.
  • Melt butter and stir in vanilla and brown sugar. Pour butter mixture over dry ingredients and stir to coat.
  • Bake 250 30 min, stirring every after 15 minutes.
  • Toss the chips onto the hot mix and let sit for 1 minute to begin melting. Gently toss and stir mix to distribute the melting chips.
  • Cool and refrigerate to harden.
Keyword chex mix, snack mix, white trash snack mix

Try some of these great easy stand-bys for your next party!

The painted glassware is from JMdesigns Gallery

I’m joining

the Tablescaper for SEASONAL SUNDAY



The Gunny Sack for WHAT’S IN THE GUNNY SACK?

Savvy Southern Style for WOW US WEDNESDAY

Rattlebridge Farms for FOODIE FRIDAY

The Everyday Home for “Better Late than Never” Thanksgiving inspirations

Alderberry Hill for Make the Scene Monday

The Dedicated House for Make it Pretty Monday

check out these amazing blogs!


4 Responses to “Recipe Box, Party Recipes & Presentations”
  1. I’m dying over the bleu fondue. How clever, creative and simple! I am going to incorporate your ideas into my annual Christmas party. THANKS for the ideas!!!

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