We had members of our Urban Family over to ring in the New Year this past holiday and I decided to keep it simple: a big pan of homemade macaroni and cheese and a bunch of snacks for our guests.
Here's the table before my awesome friends Paul and Anne brought their "Velvet Elvis" dip (Velveeta cheese and salsa melted together - one of our friends calls it "Velvet Elvis" - not sure where that comes from ...)
I had Ina Garten's Rosemary Roasted Cashews, leftover Christmas cookies, red velvet cupcakes, cocktail wieners, my friend Deb's Pesto Pinwheels and a big relish tray with green and black olives, baby dill pickles and baby carrots. Not pictured is the macaroni and cheese that was bubbling in the oven, getting ready for company to arrive.
For drinks, our friends brought some Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat (one of my favorite beers - I love you Wisconsin). Ryan and I had some wine from a winery in South Dakota that I visited when I went on vacation with my nephews (nothing says "quality family time" like dragging three boys to a winery). We drank Red Ass Rhubarb and Lawrence Elk (a black currant wine) from the Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City, South Dakota. We also had some homemade pear wine, some homemade wine from my friend Paul and apple pie shots - which we drank in tumblers.
I think a good time was had by all.
Deb's Pesto Pinwheels
from my friend Deb, who got it from a Taste of Home magazine
1 tube (8oz) refrigerated crescent rolls (I used Pillsbury's Garlic Butter crescent rolls to ward away vampires.)1/3 cup prepared pesto sauce
1/4 cup roasted sweet red peppers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup pizza sauce
Unroll crescent dough into two long rectangles; seal seams and perforations. Spread each with pesto; sprinkle with red peppers and Parmesan cheese. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side.
With a sharp knife, cut each roll into 10 slices or so. Place on greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with pizza sauce.
Editor's Note: I actually prepared these the night before, put them in a container and threw them on my side porch step because I had run out of room in my refrigerator. They got a little frozen, but baked up awesomely. If you are freezing these, whether accidentally or on purpose, give them about five extra minutes for baking.
Apple Pie Shots
These were actually packaged for Christmas gifts this year
Pretty, festive and powerful ... be careful when consuming since Everclear is, like, 150 proof
adapted from DrinkNation.com
* 750 ml Everclear
* 1/2 gal. Apple Juice
* 1/2 gal. Cider, apple
* 3 sticks Cinnamon Stick
* 1.5 cup Sugar
Mix apple juice, apple cider, sugar, and cinnamon sticks together. Boil until cinnamon sticks lose flavor (I gave this about 1/2 hour and sucked on the cinnamon stick - then I rationalized that while the concoction was cooling, the cinnamon sticks would continue to steep. And I was right.) Add Everclear. Refrigerate.