Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Party Time

I love to throw parties!  It's wonderful to be surrounded by friends and family.  Laughter filling the air, smiles on every one's faces, what's not to love?  But, a lot of people freak out when they entertain.  They let the stress of it all rattle them to the point where they don't have any fun at all.  Why do you want to have a party if you're not gonna have fun?  Isn't that the point of a party?  To relax and enjoy yourself?  One tip is not to overdo it.  You don't have to make a seven course meal.  Have a cocktail party.  Pick a few simple, but delicious items and put them out so everyone can help themselves.  They key to a successful party is a relaxed host.  If you're having a good time, everyone else will, too.  .  and just think, if something disastrous does happen, you'll have a great story to tell at the next party!

Here are a few tried and true recipes that are always a hit.


1 (16oz) bag small pretzel twists
1 envelope ranch dressing mix
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp dill
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

In a very big bowl, whisk together oil, ranch dressing mix, dill and garlic powder.  Make sure it's mixed well. Add pretzels and gently stir to coat them with the mixture.  Pour pretzels onto a 15x10 baking pan (a large cookie sheet).  Bake at 200 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Make these the day before the party.  Let cool and store in an airtight container.  Then put them out in several small dishes all over the place.  That way everyone can mingle and still snack along the way.  You might want to make two batches, they're that good!


1 large pkg frozen meatballs (or make your own- but small so you can pick them up with a toothpick)
1 bottle BBQ sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Bake meatballs according to package directions.  Put cooked meatballs in crock pot on low.  In a bowl, mix BBQ sauce and soup.  Pour over meatballs.  Stir well.  Let warm in crock pot for a few hours.  You can serve these in chafing dishes, to keep them warm, or serve right out of the crock pot.  They are substantial enough to help fill you up, but still a finger food if you put them on a toothpick.


1 loaf King's Hawaiian Bread (this can be hard to find-you can also use a round loaf of sour dough bread)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 (2oz) jar diced pimentos
1 bunch green onions
1 (4oz) can mild green chilies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except bread.  Set aside.  Cut top off of bread and reserve.  Remove the insides of the bread, forming a bowl.  (use this bread to make bread crumbs for another recipe)
Stuff the loaf with dip mixture and replace the top.  Cover completely with foil (all the way around).
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.  (I know that's a long time, but it's worth the wait!  Go do your hair while this bakes!)
Serve with Melba toast or Fritos scoops.


1 gallon Hawaiian Punch, chilled
1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime soda (7 up), chilled
1 (1/2 gallon) container sherbet (lime, orange or pineapple - your favorite)

Keep the punch and soda in the fridge to chill.  When ready to serve, pour them both into a large punch bowl.  Stir.  Using an ice cream scoop, drop scoopfuls of sherbet into the punch.
Easy!  This punch is sort of retro, which is fun.  Both kids and adults love it.

I'll end with a funny story that happened to me.  I bought this fancy punch fountain and thought it would be elegant to fill it with champagne.  Everyone could fill their glasses at the fountain, how fun!  Well, I filled it with champagne and it wouldn't work.  The champagne would not flow.  I didn't know what to do.  I had all these guests standing around waiting for the wow moment, but no matter what I did it wouldn't work!  I thought maybe there wasn't enough liquid in the fountain, so I sent my husband out for more champagne.  As soon as he left, it started working!  When he returned, I added more champagne to be on the safe side...and it stopped working again!  So I gave up and starting ladling the champagne out for guests.  Then it starting flowing again!  I finally figured out that the carbonation was preventing the pump from working properly.  As soon as the bubbles settled down a bit, it would flow.  We all got a big laugh and I have a funny story to tell every time I bring out that fountain.  So, the next time you throw a party, try these recipes...and relax.  What's the worst that could happen?

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