The 7 Dishes That Will Make You a Holiday Party Star
Whether you've got to bring an appetizer, main course or dessert, these foolproof, seasonal recipes will ensure you're invited back soon.
By Lynn Andriani
The Simply Amazing Chip and Dip
Crunchy chips and creamy dip are a mainstay on the party circuit, but they aren't usually the foods everybody talks about the next day. Two simple recipes will change all that. Homemade, crispy rounds (all you need are potatoes, garlic, oil, salt and pepper) and a garlicky, herby Parmesan spread are so good that you might want to make a double batch.
A coating of panko bread crumbs ensures that these showstopping cheese fritters will have a perfectly crusted exterior. When frying, leave an inch between each fritter (if they're packed too tightly, the oil temp will drop and make the panko soggy). The balsamic dipping sauce (recipe included with the fritter instructions) is a lovely go-with, as is basic marinara sauce.
Mini anything—meatballs, crab cakes, twice-baked potatoes—are always a hit at parties. They've got the "aww" factor and also allow guests to multitask, i.e., eat with one hand while holding a drink in the other. These micro-BLTs fit the bill with mini everything, from baby lettuce to sliced cherry tomatoes.
The thought of making chicken potpie for a crowd may sound like your basic nightmare (who wants to roll out that much dough—or has that many ramekins?). Not if you follow this recipe, though. Crystal Cook and Sandy Pollock, aka the Casserole Queens, tell you to buy rotisserie chicken, mix it with a few basics, cover it with frozen puff pastry dough, throw the whole thing into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and heat until golden.
Can a bowl full of raw vegetables possibly compete with a table loaded with indulgent main courses? Yes, thanks to the can't-miss combination of color, crunch and clean flavors. You can easily make this heaping platter of baby spinach, figs, cranberries, almonds and apples ahead of time; just add the apple slices and the pomegranate vinaigrette right before serving.
"Oh posh," you say, "I can just pick up a package from the supermarket on my way to the party." And while the authors of The Art of Living According to Joe Beef say these doughy homemade potato rolls may look like "the cheap grocery-store doughy rolls that your grandma serves," they taste nothing like them. Instead, they're smooth and airy—the closest you'll come to fluffy little pillows of baked mashed potatoes.