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Holiday Pot-Luck Assignments

More than 20 years ago, I hosted an annual holiday party. It was one of my most popular themes. For whatever reason (kids, overwhelmed moms, holiday craziness, etc.) it fell by the wayside.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was out with my longtime friends, Laura and Mary, who happen to be sisters. We were reminiscing about how fun that party always was and I decided it was time to resurrect the Holiday Potluck Appetizer Party.

Here is how it works: I find a bunch of great appetizer recipes. I pick the party date and time and email the invite and recipes. I tell the invitees to “Reply All” and let everyone know which recipe they will be making. Everyone makes their dish, and brings it to the party, and we all celebrate the season while enjoying a great variety of yummy food, a signature cocktail or two, and a full bar. A fun and festive night is had by all – with minimal effort.

The competition for which recipe to make is fierce. Within 10 minutes, three of the invitees had responded with their choices. An hour or two later, all recipes were accounted for. This is one of the best ways I’ve ever found to get people to RSVP lickety-split. Try it, and you’ll be tempted to organize all your entertaining this way!

Only one little problem – since I’ve been away from blogging for an extended period, I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking photos of all food ever served in my home. This is a real shame because the spread looked beautiful! The couples went all out in their execution and presentation. At least I have the photos from the original recipe links to share with you. The only two food photos I took are of the onion dip and the Greek dip. And those weren’t taken until the day after, since I took the leftovers to a family party the following night.

Time will fix that little glitch and I’ll be back in the swing of it soon enough. I hope you enjoy these eight great appetizers and maybe they’ll inspire you to throw an impromptu party of your own.

P.S. Find my signature cocktail below the recipe links.

meatballphoto and recipe via

Amy made Meatball Subs On-a-Stick. She said that it took longer than the recipe says for them to bake and brown.

mushroomsphoto and recipe via

Creamy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms courtesy of Lisa. By the way, button mushroom is the old-school name for your everyday white mushroom.

monkey breadphoto and recipe via

Anne made Herb Cheese Monkey Bread – even though she was under the weather and didn’t make it to the party. Annie, we missed you and your pretty face! xoxo

onion diprecipe via

Tram chose the Caramelized Onion Dip to bring, even though, with 21-month-old twins, she didn’t have time to make it. Her awesome cook husband, Steve, took the reigns on this one.

onion goggles

He sent me a photo-text message asking if he needed to double the recipe. The answer is “no” – the recipe already makes enough to feed a huge crowd!  And feed two crowds, it did; eighteen people at the appetizer party and at least 40 more people at our family holiday party the next night. This is a true crowd-pleaser!! In case you don’t know what those pink things are on Steve’s face – they’re the onion goggles that I gave Tram back in our Valley Dish days.

crab bitesphoto and recipe via

One of the original party guests from years past, Mary, made Parmesan-Crusted Crab Cake Bites.

poppersphoto and recipe via

Peggy decided on Sweet Corn Cake Chorizo Poppers and they were one of the first appetizers to disappear! Sweet, spicy, and pretty to look at – just like the cook herself.

greekrecipe via

Kim made the 5 Layer Greek Dip with fresh pita bread wedges. This recipe also makes enough for a crowd and was a hit the second night too.

Orzophoto and recipe via

Lastly, Ronnie brought the Avocado Feta Cheese Orzo Salad. For an appetizer soirée, I suggest leaving out the romaine and filling Belgian endive spears or radicchio cups with the orzo salad mixture.

angry frenchman

The cocktail was inspired by one that Tram and I tasted on our recent trip to Chicago to visit my friends and former neighbors, Lori & Jonathan. I ordered it at the lovely La Sardine. It is a take on a French Gimlet, although a gimlet uses more St. Germain than I did.

angry frenchman

Grumpy Frenchman

* 2 ounces gin
* 1/2 ounce St-Germain
* 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

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1 Marissa { 12.21.15 at 9:09 AM }

Love Steve in his onion goggles!

2 barbara.fenzl@cox.net { 12.21.15 at 5:36 PM }

Sounds like a great party, and what a good idea to furnish your guests with recipes. I may try that someday = whenever all the craziness of the holidays is over.
Merry Christmas and much love,

3 Tram Mai { 12.21.15 at 7:53 PM }

That was such a fun holiday party!! Your friends were delightful, the food was delectable, and I deserve some credit for buying the ingredients for the onion dip… which included 10 pounds of onions since I doubled the recipe!! (Now I still have 5 pounds left!) Thank you for including us- loved it!!!!

4 Tram Mai { 12.21.15 at 8:23 PM }

LOVED your holiday potluck party- so much fun!! Even though Steve made the onion dip, I deserve some credit for buying 10 pounds of onions (thinking we had to double the recipe! We still have 5 pounds left!) Your friends were delightful and the food was spectacular! Great choices on the apps! Thanks so much for including us! 🙂

5 Steve { 12.21.15 at 8:38 PM }

After hours and hours of slicing onions, slaving over a hot stove and totally forgetting the chive garnish, I finally made it into Les Petites Gourmettes!!!! I’M A STAR!!! Sooooooooo much fun that night, what a blast and I can’t wait till next year! How do I top the onion dip!!

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