We will be spending New Year’s Eve at home with our kids, probably asleep on the couch well before the clock strikes midnight, not because we are against a night out, but because we are old, tired and slightly grumpy. I know I’m not alone when I say, by the time this holiday rolls around, there is a zero percent chance I will be spending hours over a stove cooking a meal. No tending to pots, no baking, no roasting. I need easy. I need to be able to eat it while simultaneously lounging on a couch.
Whether you are keeping it small, or hosting a gathering, these snacks and treats are no fuss, relatively no mess, and will leave everyone feeling full and content as they ring in the new year. The entire menu is planned out for you, which is always the hardest part.
Bisquick Sausage Cheese Balls
A quintessential Midwest recipe, straight from my mom, who happens to be a former FACS teacher and served this appetizer often during my childhood. It is just as good as I remember! The main ingredient is Bisquick, so obviously it will be delicious.
What you will need:
- 2 1/2 cups of Bisquick
- 1 lb ground pork sausage (I prefer medium or hot)
- 4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (it’s best if you shred yourself rather than buying pre-packaged)
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer at low speed. Roll in to 1 1/2 to 2 inch size balls. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until browned and sausage is cooked through. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Meditteranean Lemon Feta Dip
This recipe for Mediterranean Lemon Feta Dip is to die for! Anytime I have made it, people rave. It is quick, and when accompanied by roasted vegetables, is relatively healthy!
Roast asparagus, large chunks of zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower together with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve with dip, alongside sliced raw cucumbers, carrots, Naan bread and crackers. Trust me on this one!
In true millennial fashion, I love a well-planned, grown-up Lunchable, also known as a charcuterie board. What dignified, grown person doesn’t? The answer to that question would be no one.
For those celebrating with members other than immediate family, charcuterie skewers are a great alternative to sharing one large board of meat and cheese heaven. My general rule for buying accouterments that complement each other is to focus on the rule of three. Buy a firm cheese, such as gruyere or manchego; a semi-soft cheese like muenster or havarti; and a soft cheese such as brie. Pair them with thinly sliced meats and stack them on skewers in between pieces of dried apricots, grapes, olives or cubed apples. Serve with a cupcake liner full of crispy crackers or baguette slices.
Another great idea is to make everyone their own individual board. Eliminate the skewers, and divide up your purchased goods on separate cutting boards or plates. No germ sharing here!
Kid Friendly Charcuterie Board
I consider this one of my greatest mom hacks! Not too long ago I was out of dinner ideas and exhausted from dueling requests for dinner. On a whim, I put together a kid friendly charcuterie board, made it look fancy (for kid standards) and served it to them on our ottoman in front of a movie. I have never received so many rave reviews about a meal.
A new go-to dinner was established, and it is perfect for lazy nights and special occasions. Layer on a mix of healthy and sweet treats, let them pick the items they love the most, and then do a happy dance celebrating the fact there’s only one dish to wash! Astonishingly, they were also more likely to eat the vegetables off the board than from their typical dinner plate.
Ideas on what to include on a kid friendly board:
- Cheese (mozzarella balls, cheddar, monterrey jack, Babybel individually wrapped snacks)
- Meats (pepperoni, sliced ham and turkey from the deli, rotisserie chicken in chunks)
- Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, baby carrots) Optional: serve with a little bowl of Ranch dressing!
- Fruits (sliced pears or apples, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe)
- Starches (Goldfish crackers, butter crackers, popcorn, pretzels)
- Sweet treat (chocolate covered raisins, little marshmallows, M & M’s)
Personalize to suit the needs of your own little ones. They can take their time enjoying their favorite parts of the board, and everyone ends up happy and full.
Fruit Skewers with Marshmallow Dip
Layer strawberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew and grapes on a wooden skewer. Serve next to this dip, and everyone is sure to be asking for seconds.
Save a little bit of the marshmallow crème for a festive drink!
Bacon Wrapped Dates
These feel special, but could not be easier! Make sure to buy PITTED dates or you will be cursing my name trying to prep these.
What you will need:
- 1 package of thinly sliced bacon
- Pitted dates
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
Instructions: Cut bacon slices in half. Wrap around one date and secure with a toothpick. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle a pinch of brown sugar over each date. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is cooked through and slightly crispy. Watch carefully as not to burn. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.
Marshmallow Cotton Candy Cocktail and Mocktail
Dip the rim of a champagne or wine glass in marshmallow crème (leftover from your fruit dip), then in fine, sparkling sugar sprinkles. Place a small piece of cotton candy in the glass, and pour over sparkling water or sparkling grape juice for a kid appropriate drink. For the adults, swap out the sparkling water or juice for champagne!
Caramel Chex Dessert Mix
You’ve been warned, this Caramel Chex Dessert Mix is the MOST addicting dessert you will ever taste. It’s sweet and salty, and can set out all night for people to munch. It will become a family favorite!
I sincerely hope these recipes warm your bellies, and give you a reason to gather around a table or kitchen island, reminiscing on what we all did right this past year, and how we can move forward to a brighter tomorrow. Cheers to new beginnings and good food!