You might recall me talking about holiday related stress earlier in the week. Part of that was prepping for the MNO holiday party I was hosting Thursday night. A wonderful time was had by all and I enjoyed the hosting part, though I think next year I’d like to do it earlier in the month if I were to host again.

One of the great things about parties is the food and there was some delish food at the party. And a cookie exchange! I’m going to share a few of the party food recipes as well as some cookie exchange recipes. I don’t know if anyone out there does nack/appetizer type things for Christmas Eve or New Years Eve, but if you still have a holiday party to attend, maybe you could try one of these recipes.

Sausage Balls (I ended up not making this one but am sharing it because they’re delicious!)

1 pound hot and spicy sausage (breakfast sausage like Jimmy Deans or Bob Evans, bulk roll…also does not have to be spicy)
1 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup Bisquick

Mix together. I find it easier to mix the Bisquick and sausage first and then add the cheese. Roll into small balls. Place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Serve hot (but also yummy at room temp!) Makes 4 dozen.

Pepperoni Dip
(2) 8 oz blocks cream cheese, softened
1 can cream of mushroom soup
(1) 8 oz bag Hormel thin sliced pepperoni
Shredded cheddar cheese

Cut pepperoni into quarters. Mix with cream cheese and soup. Place in baking dish and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with crackers (or tortilla chips) *Tip* I was told that it’s best to mix the night before and put in fridge overnight to let flavors blend. That’s what I did and it turned out great.

Seafood cocktail dip (thanks to Jaci for this recipe)

2 blocks cream cheese
2 cans crab meat
1 to 2 jars cocktail sauce (I used one because it was a bigger bottle)

Let cream cheese soften, spread on a platter. Drain crab meat, spread across cream cheese. Then spread evenly with cocktail sauce. Yummm–this was my favorite dish at the party. I did a variation of this, though. I did one can cocktail shrimp and one can crab meat. I put cocktail shrimp on one side and crab on the other half. You could mix it up though. Or use just cocktail shrimp, if you prefer. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

Cocktail Meatballs
A bag (or half bag if you do like I do and buy from Sam’s Club)
1 12oz jar of Chili Sauce (don’t break one on the floor at Wal-mart–it’s messy. Just saying)
1 16 oz jar of Grape Jelly

Mix chili sauce and grape jelly together and bring to a boil to mix together. Add meatballs and cook for about 3 hours in the crockpot. Serve warm.

Cookie Dough Truffles (compliments of Jennifer)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts
1-1 1/2 pounds semisweet chocolate candy coating (I get mine at Michaels’)

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour, milk and vanilla; mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt candy coating, stirring often until smooth. Dip balls in coating; place on waxed paper lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes, If desired, remelt emaining chocolate and drizzle over candies. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.

Cracker Candy (also compliments of Jennifer)
30-40 crackers (approximately one sleeve or just a bit more)
2 sticks butter (do NOT use margarine)
1/4 cup sugar
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels*
nuts of your choice (about 1/2 cup)**

Line a cookie sheet with foil (even up sides) then line with crackers as closely together as you can. Melt butter and add sugar. Boil for 3 minutes stirring constantly to prevent scorching (this will thicken). Drizzle over crackers keeping crackers as close together as possible. It will spread though it looks like it doesn’t cover the crackers. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate over crackers. Chocolate will start to melt, spread with a spatula until top is totally covered. Sprinkle with nuts and cook in fridge for about an hour. I noticed that Jennifer sprinkled hers with holiday sprinkles/sugar and made them look more festive but that doesn’t add to the taste–just the presentation 🙂 Break into pieces. Store in a bag (doesn’t need to be refrigerated). These have a kind of toffee taste and are so good!

*I used half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate and then chopped up a bar of dark chocolate to mix in. Because I like dark chocolate.
**My friend Jennifer, who made these for the cookie exchange, used walnuts. When I made them, I chopped up a handful of cashews. It didn’t take but a handful.

Snickerdoodles (made by me!)
Ingredients:
½ cup butter
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400?F.
2. In large bowl, cream butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
4. Add to creamed mixture until well blended.
5. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes (I refrigerate mine at least for an hour, it makes it easier to use).
6. Combine sugar and cinnamon in shallow round pan (mixture should suit your taste).
7. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
8. Place 1 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
9. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. (Snickerdoodles will puff up at first, then flatten out during baking)*
10. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack

*I like to flatten mine down before baking, just a little, because I don’t like puffy cookies. If you like puffy cookies, leave them in a ball.

Andes Creme de Menthe Chunk Cookies (compliments of Trish)
½ Cup Salted butter-softened
¾ Cup Dark brown sugar
½ Cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Baking powder
2tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 Package Andes baking chips
2 2/3 Cups flour

Blend butter, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla
and eggs until mixed. Stir in chips and flour. Chill dough
for about an hour. Form 1oz balls and slightly flatten. Bake
at 350 on non stick baking sheets, for approximately 8-10
minutes. Cool on pans for 2 minutes before removing.

Ginger cookies (what I WAS going to make for the exchange until I went to bake and realized I didn’t have ground ginger. I KNOW I bought the ginger, dang it)

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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