Fast Apps For New Year’s Eve

If you’ve been cooking and celebrating and hosting throughout the holiday season, you may be rethinking your plan to host a New Year’s Eve party this year. Putting together a party can be a LOT of work, and maybe it’s the last thing you need as 2010 comes to a close. But we have a way to make it quick and easy for you to put together a New Year’s Eve party that is pure class all the way. So put a couple of bottles of champagne on ice and get ready for an easy New Year’s Eve party–we’ve even provided the shopping list!

Cheese Platter with Baked Brie

You’ll Need

  • Three different types of cheese (we suggest: a cheddar, a blue or goat cheese, and a smoked cheese like gouda)
  • A wheel of brie
  • Pastry dough (find it in the freezer section>
  • A couple kinds of crackers

Arranging a cheese platter is easy, but what makes this one extra festive is the baked brie, which is a cinch to make. Get your cheeses to room temperature and arrange them artfully on a plate with crackers and garnish like grapes or cranberries. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350 degrees and grab your brie and pastry dough.

Thaw the dough so it’s workable but still cold (usually takes about 10 minutes) and roll it out nice and thin so that it will cover the entire wheel of brie like wrapping paper. Then, cut the rind off the top of the brie. You can add preserves or nuts on top if you’re feeling fancy, but if not simply lay the pastry dough over the brie and join it up on the bottom so the whole wheel is covered.

Put it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the pastry dough is cooked. Then take it out and let it cool for a minute before transferring it to your cheese platter (or else you could have an exploding brie on your hands! Voila, an extra special cheese platter!

Asparagus Wrapped in Proscuitto

You’ll Need

  • Asparagus
  • Prosciutto di Parma (half a slice per asparagus spear)
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Toothpicks

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. While it’s preheating, chop the dry ends off the asparagus and spread them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus in the oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it–you want it to be bright green and the cooking time varies based on the size of the spears.

Cut your prosciutto slices in half, and wrap half a slice around each spear. Secure with a toothpick and arrange on a plate. When you are done setting them up, drizzle a bit of good olive oil on them for presentation.

Assorted Calzones

You’ll Need

  • Pizza dough (one for each calzone)
  • Cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Whatever stuffings you want (pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, etc.)
  • Italian seasoning

Calzone doesn’t necessarily sound like the most elegant of apps, but when you slice it thin and serve it, it’s not only a pretty appetizer, but also a great hunger satisfier for any guests who haven’t eaten dinner. Plus, you can make it ahead and reheat it when the party starts.

Preheat your oven to 425. Start by flouring and rolling out the dough in a long oval. Down the center, sprinkle plenty of cheese and whatever topping you want. My suggestions are spinach and mushroom, pepperoni, or the classic Italian meat calzone, with lots of different salty cured meats from the deli, but you can also do buffalo chicken, roasted red peppers, or whatever you have in the fridge. All meat should be precooked before being put in the calzone.

Sprinkle Italian seasoning or any combination of garlic powder, basil, oregano, and parsley that you have in the cabinet over the toppings. Then, close the calzone by taking either side and pinching the two sides together in the middle, and flipping the ends up so you get what looks, in size and shape, like a long French loaf. Brush the top with olive oil.

Cook the calzone for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. The cooking time depends on how thick your crust is, so keep an eye on it!

Supplemented with a few appetizers from the frozen section at Trader Joe’s and a baked good or two brought by your guest, this quick and simple app menu will make your New Year’s Eve party a stress-free event. Plus, no one will leave hungry! Happy party planning!


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