New Year’s Eve Cocktail Party

It’s New Year’s Eve, and since our days of going out on the town to celebrate are long gone, we’re staying in and celebrating with family and friends. New Year’s Eve seems like the perfect time to forego the sit-down dinner, and instead have a selection of fancy appetizers to go with some fun cocktails (and bubbly, of course). It works for a grown-up gathering, but it’s adaptable for a night when the kids are included, too. Do you really want to sit everyone down, napkins in lap, and make sure they take three bites of vegetables before dessert? Me, neither. You’ll find us gathered around the kitchen island, Champagne (or sparkling cider) in hand, nibbling and talking. So here’s our fancy but family-friendly New Year’s Eve menu. I think it would work for any time of the year!

The key to this menu is that everything can be (mostly) prepared ahead of time and baked or reheated when it’s time to party. The other benefit to a mix of appetizers is that your guests can bring anything they like and it will fit right in on the buffet table. And one more secret: While you’re planning the party menu and the oven is hot, plan a little something for breakfast on New Year’s Day. I’ve got some granola baking and the crust for a quiche chilled and ready. When we groggily roll out of bed in the morning, it won’t take much effort to have a delicious breakfast to help us greet the new year.

 New Year’s Eve Menu

Pineapple-Ginger Sparkling Wine Cocktail

Gougères (French cheese puffs)

Homemade pizza (I like to use no-knead dough); make a big one and slice it into strips, or make little pizzettes and vary the toppings for picky eaters

Baked potato bites from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (roasted potato slices with all the toppings)

Chestnut Soup with Grappa Cream (it’s become tradition at our house–and better if made a day ahead)

Kale salad with cranberries and pecans (festive but healthy)

Chocolate-Espresso Lava Cakes with Espresso Cream


 Melissa Jerves writes about food, family and 21st century home economics on her blog, Home Baked.



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