You may be able to get out of hosting the big family Christmas dinner
by having the crowd over on Christmas Eve for a bit of carol-singing and
nibbles. Serve finger food, including the following hot dip, to show
that you care.
As for decorating, dim the lights, turn on the tree, and light lots
of candles. It not only makes the house looks festive but it hides the
fact that you didn't have time to dust or tidy too much. When you are
serving them good food at a nice party, nobody will care.
Easy Eggnog: Buy good quality, commercially prepared eggnog
(the kind in the refrigerator section, not in a can), and spike it with
brandy (or rum flavoring) and a hint of extra vanilla and nutmeg.
Mulled Wine: Simmer a couple of bottles of red wine on the
back of the stove in a stockpot, along with a cup of orange juice, 2
cinnamon sticks, 10 cloves, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Don't let
Cheese Ball and Crackers: You have made cheese balls and you
have bought cheese balls; the bought one are practically
indistinguishable from the homemade kind, and they are sometimes even
better. A cheese ball is one of those silly dishes that we laugh at and
then fight for the knife to spread it on crackers. If you don't want
round cheese on your table, though, serve several wedges of cheese on a
wood board with a knife and selection of crackers.
Hot Spinach Dip with Tortilla Chips or Rye Bread: A hot dip
makes the whole event feel more like a meal, especially when it's served
with rye bread, although tortilla chips are good, too. This recipe is
full of fat, but it's delicious, fragrant, and easy. Sauté one pound of
spicy sausage meat with 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic tat have
been minced. Stir in two 10-ounce packages of frozen chopped spinach,
one 8-ounce package of cream cheese, and 1 cup of store-bought salsa.
Simmer for about 5 minutes until the spinach is cooked through. Serve it
on a hot plate, if you like, or simply a bowl - it stays hot for a