For the last few years, we've hosted a Halloween Chili party - it's my family's tradition to have chili on Halloween - to get you all warmed up before the trick 'r treating. So a few years ago when we got married, we decided it was a good excuse to get our friends together. This year, schedules (and races) got in the way, so October and November passed without a party. About mid-December, we were trying to figure out how to see all of our friends before the craziness of Christmas...and what better way to do that than to throw together a drop in at our house! When this was decided, we didn't have a tree, mantle decorations, or frankly, any decorations up at all. But some garland one night, lights another, and ornaments the next and the house was festive!
The party turned out to be a great night - we had about 30 people over - and some even drove down from Maryland! And while the Friday before Christmas is certainly a popular night for events, lots of people were able to attend!
Anchor Christmas Ale that husband picked out. All were purchased at Costco for around $8-10 a bottle. I was a little concerned about the Christmas beer being the only option, but everyone loved it!
Usually when we have parties, I feel the need to slave over food for days. This time, I took some shortcuts by purchasing some things at Costco and Wegmans - I was more relaxed, not as exhausted, and the food was just as good. As my heavier food items, I had meatballs (recipe below) which were a huge hit and super easy; flautas from Costco cut into 4ths and guacamole (I thought people were going to lick the bowl), buffalo chicken dip; and chicken salad (also from Costco) baked into cresent rolls. The chicken salad rolls were good, but a lot of prep work and got cold too quickly.
I also served warm brie topped with raspberry jam+balsamic vinegar+pecans; an amazing wine bar nut mix (recipe from Food & Wine) which made enough for Christmas Day, too. I took a log of goat cheese, rolled it in sunflower seeds, drizzled it with honey, and then served it with raspberries and mint leaves - yummy and festive! There were a few other small things like black olives, Ghirardelli chocolate squares, and praline bars.
1 large bag frozen cooked meatballs (from Costco - 140 pieces) - I used as many as I could get in my crockpot - it's not very big and ended up being about half of the bag
1 large jar grape jelly (32oz)
3 12-oz.jars chili sauce (I used Heinz)
- On stovetop, melt jelly and chili sauce together. Add meatballs and stir to cover them with sauce.
- Put in crock pot and cook for 4 hours (if meatballs are uncooked), or hold on low to keep warm for party. Mine were cooked so I just put them on low, for about 3ish hours, and through the party.
It doesn't get much easier than that!! Entertaining doesn't have to be expensive, or complicated. You just need some drinks, festive napkins for whatever the occasion, and some good food. Also, people are usually willing and offer to bring things - let them! (This is something I'm working on!)