Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Very Casual New Year's Eve Plan

Holiday Party '09
One of my girlfriend's called me up a few weeks ago to stress the importance of getting together for New Year's Eve. Now, my schedule for the past and future months is somewhat up-in-the-air due to several factors beyond my control. My husband and I were itching to throw a holiday party, but have been unable to commit. So when my friend called, she had a very specific plan in mind that could take place anywhere really. It was something along the lines of "Can we just hang out and wear sweat pants or whatever?". Then she offered to provide the Carrie Bradshaw-esque Cup O'Noodles for sustenance. And how could I refuse?

My friend Cathy's NYE pants

At first I worried she would be unable to tow the oodles of noodles to Brooklyn which would be required by the hungry masses willing to sweat-pant it out for NYE. But we soon discovered that many of our cohorts have made other commitments, such as: falling down on ice in a fancy dress, hanging out with fabulous new lovers, spectating 1/1/11 nuptuals, and watching snow fall with in Western Massachussetts.

We are now 2 days away from the big little event, and are expecting just a few guests. The prospect at having a party started the menu-planning wheels turning, which reminded me of last year's cooking extravaganza which served dinner for 30 promptly at 11:30 at night (4 hours late). So I promised myself to take it down a couple notches this year in order to socialize more.

Bruschetta and Squash Skewers at Bunny Chow on NYE '09
I've actually spent more time figuring out what to make for this party than any of the larger ones I've thrown. The thing is I have about 5 or so confirmed guests, some "maybe's", and a few passing through during the evening. Dinner for 6 or so is easy, but this isn't really dinner, it's New Year's - typically a snacky spread type holiday. With some help from Fresh Direct and my husband, I began to put together a limited-work-required menu - until I realized that every single dish was centered around a dairy product like cheese or sour cream! My husband fails to see the problem with this.

Baked Poppers (recipe HERE)
I tried to find a balance between "This is way too much, you outdid yourself!" and "Where's the Beef?". I did try to minimize on meat products (and absolutely NO evil nitrates allowed), hence the cheese products. I hope it's not too unhealthy - but c'mon it's the holidays! After re-working my grocery order time and time again, and making sure to include my husband's requests, here is what I've come up with:

Fat-Free Ranch Dip w/ Carrots, Green Beans and Potato Chips (mix from a box)
Eggplant Caponata with Pita Chips (both store-bought)
Baked Jalapeno Poppers w/ Fakin' Bacon (fresh made)
Crostini with Onion-Rosemary Marmalade & Goat Cheese (catered/reheat)
Baked Ravioli with San Marzano Tomato Sauce: 
     with and without Organic Chicken/Turkey Sweet Italian Sausage slices  
     (frozen ravioli / packaged sausage / fresh made sauce)
Chilled Pineapple-Mandarin Vanilla Pie (assembled from store-bought items)


...and possibly the appearance of additional baked goods, such as sour-cherry brownies or sugar cookies.

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