Cheers to the Holidays!

The holidays are right around the corner – and along with this joyful time of year comes the fun of creative entertaining with great snacks and festive drinks. Here are just a few of our favorite holiday recipes that we want to share with you, our valued readers. Enjoy – and bon appetit!

Appetizers

Mini Mushroom and Goat Cheese Tarts

½ sheet puff pastry

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons butter

½ cup crumbled goat cheese

¼ pound mushrooms, sliced

4 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Mix all ingredients together

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking tray.
  2. Lay puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 squares. Prick the squares in several places with a fork. Place the puff pastry squares on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake the puff pastry squares for 7 minutes. Remove tray from oven and flatten the squares using the backside of a spatula. Return puff pastry to the oven and bake until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven.
  4. Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over high heat. Cook and stir the mushrooms and garlic in the butter until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Top the baked puff pastry squares evenly with the mushroom mixture. Crumble goat cheese over mushrooms and sprinkle with parsley.

Holiday Hot Spinach Dip

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

½ cup red bell pepper diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 (6.5 ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained and mashed

½ cup sour cream

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and ground pepper to taste

¼ cup heavy cream

Mix all ingredients together

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix together spinach, bell pepper, garlic, artichokes, sour cream and parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. The mixture will be thick; add cream to thin to dip consistency. Spoon into 1-quart baking dish.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with your favorite crackers.

Holiday Drinks

Candy Cane Cocoa

4 cups milk

I cup whipped cream

3 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped

4 small peppermint candy canes

4 peppermint candy canes, crushed

Add all ingredients

Directions

In a saucepan, heat milk until hot but not boiling. Whisk the chocolate and crushed peppermint candies until melted and smooth. Pour hot chocolate into four mugs and garnish with whipped cream. Serve each with a candy cane stirring stick.

Rudolph-Tini

2 fluid ounces vodka

1 fluid ounce hazelnut liquor, such as Frangelico

1 fluid ounce coconut-flavored rum

1 fluid ounce half-and-half cream

2 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks

1 maraschino cherry

Directions

Pour the vodka, hazelnut liqueur, rum and half-and-half into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover and shake until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into a chilled martini glass; garnish with the cinnamon sticks to look like antlers, and the cherry on the rim to look like a nose.

Sparkling Cranberry Lime Cocktail

1-ounce vodka (about 2 tablespoons)

Handful fresh cranberries (or thaw frozen)

Lime slices

Ice

1/4 cup 100% pure unsweetened cranberry juice

1 cup club soda

Agave nectar or any liquid sweetener, to taste (About 1/2 teaspoon agave)

Directions

  1. Add the vodka into a 16-ounce tall glass. Then add a handful of cranberries and a couple of lime slices.  Add the ice on top.
  2. Pour in the cranberry juice followed by the club soda.
  3. Add a squeeze of lime juice (if desired) and agave to taste. Stir to combine.
  4. Enjoy immediately!

Tips: For a mocktail, simply omit the vodka and add a couple extra tablespoons of cranberry juice.

The season for holiday cheer is upon us. We wish you a delicious and joyous holiday season!