New Year's Eve

We had Mark's brother and cousins join us to celebrate New Year's Eve. It is the first time we all were able to hang out together for an extended weekend and we had a blast! I love entertaining and could not have had more fun planning the menu. Knowing that everyone would be arriving close to dinner time I picked a full course of appetizers that could sustain us until midnight! Here are the recipes, a few of which were new adventures for me:

Bacon Wraps: (Hint: these can me made ahead of time! I did them the day before.)
1 box of club crackers (you won't need the whole box)
2 packages of bacon - the thinner the better!
1 container of grated parmesan cheese

2 baking sheets
2 baking racks/cooling racks to go in the oven

Preheat oven to 250°

On each cracker spoon 1 tsp. of parmesan cheese. Then carefully wrap the cheese covered cracker with half a strip of bacon. Be sure to cover the whole cracker.

Place each bacon wrap on a baking rack on top of a baking sheet

Once you have prepared as many as you would like, place in the oven and cook at 250 for 2 hours. Be sure to start checking when there is half an hour left. You do not want to burn the crackers.

Serve hot or let cool and freeze until the day of your party and cook for ten minutes at 250° to warm before serving.

Red Pepper Fritatta: (from Real Simple)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and pepper
10 large eggs
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 ounces soft goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400°

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix in the parsley. Pour over the vegetables in the skillet, stir once, and crumble the cheese over the top.

Transfer to oven and bake until the center is set, 18 to 20 minutes. Slide out of the skillet and cut into squares before serving warm or at room temperature.

Meatballs: (from Cooking Light)
1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh onion
1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (16-ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; shape mixture into 45 (1 inch) meatballs - think bite size.
Combine ketchup, sugar, juice, and sauces in an electric slow cooker; gently stir in meatballs. Cover with lid; cook on low-heat setting for 6 to 8 hours. The recipe originally called for them to cook longer, but I found that 6 hours was plenty with my crock pot!
Spinach Dip: (from my Christmas Swap Partner)
8 oz package of cream cheese
1 box of frozen spinach
6 oz mozzarella cheese
box of cherry tomatoes, diced
Stacey's Naked Pita Chips (love them!)

Cook spinach as directed, soften spinach in microwave. Mix first three ingredients together. Refrigerate until 20 minutes before the party. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes and top with tomatoes before serving.

I also served my Baked Brie, Pigs in a Blanket with three dipping sauces, Greek and Spanish Olives, and Clementines and Grapes for a sweet New Year

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