SOURCE: ALDI

November 14, 2013 05:00 ET

Happier Holiday Hors D'oeuvres

MISSION, KS--(Marketwired - Nov 14, 2013) - (Family Features) Holiday entertaining is all about food, wine and quality time with family and friends. This year, try a new approach to holiday get-togethers by hosting an hors d'oeuvres party.

Skip the hassle of preparing a full meal by serving a number of small bites, dips and spreads for your guests to enjoy. Most hors d'oeuvres can be prepared ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests instead of in the kitchen, making it easy to entertain flawlessly.

The best part is you don't have to break the bank to host a fabulous holiday gathering. By switching from national name brands to a grocer like ALDI, party essentials and seasonal must-haves, such as holiday gifts and baking necessities, can be as much as 50 percent less. Manufactured by many of the nation's leading food producers, these exclusive brand items often meet or exceed the quality and taste of the national name brands.

Try these hors d'oeuvre serving tips from food stylist and loyal ALDI shopper Janice Stahl:

  • Rethink the regular: Surprise guests and get creative with classic recipes by changing the presentation. Square pizza bites, circular tea sandwiches or star-shaped fruit make entertaining fun. 
  • Keep hors d'oeuvres simple: Serve foods that are bite-sized and easy to pick up. Try skewers to create festive kabobs, which are perfect for nibbling.
  • Presentation is everything: Experiment with serving pieces like vases, champagne glasses or appetizer cups that add special interest to bite-sized snacks from chips and dip to shrimp cocktail.

With these simple tips and recipes, you'll be ready to throw a festive holiday hors d'oeuvres party that's easy and affordable. Visit www.aldi.us for more entertaining ideas.

 
Cranberry Shrimp Ceviche Cups 
$0.58 per serving at ALDI  
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen 
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill 
Cook time: 3 minutes 
Yields: 16 ceviche cups 
   
1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt, divided
16 ounces medium raw shrimp, thawed
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
16 ounces tortilla chips
2 limes cut into wedges
  Fresh cranberries, optional
   

Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately plunge cooked shrimp into ice water bath. Peel shrimp and place in flat dish. In food processor, combine cranberries, red onion, parsley and jalapeno. Pulse until finely chopped. Add cranberry mixture to shrimp. Add lemon juice, lime juice, remaining salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Stir to combine ingredients thoroughly. Refrigerate for 1 hour. To assemble, spoon ceviche, about 4 to 5 shrimp each, into small clear cups or glasses. Garnish with tortilla chips and lime wedges.

 
Pistachio Lemon Truffles 
$0.43 per serving at ALDI  
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen 
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill 
Cook time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill 
Yields: 24 truffles 
   
1 1/4 cups pistachios, shelled
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces plain goat cheese
3/4 cup dried mixed berries, chopped
1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
  Pinch ground black pepper
   

Roughly chop pistachios, place in bowl. With electric mixer, cream together remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Scoop tablespoon size balls of cheese mixture and roll in pistachios to coat. To serve, sprinkle platter with remaining pistachios and place truffles on top. Serve with crackers.

Signature Drink
A signature drink is a must at any holiday soiree. Get creative by offering guests a specialty cocktail that matches the color scheme for the event. An avid party hostess, food stylist Janice Stahl makes the occasion special by pairing white wine with a splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice, garnished with fresh fruit or herbs. Giving your signature drink an original name to reflect your personality is an added touch your guests will love. For a lasting impression, hand out recipe cards of your signature drink as party favors.

 
Signature Drink 
$0.58 per serving at ALDI  
Recipe courtesy of ALDI Food Stylist, Janice Stahl 
 
  Sugar for glass rim
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup cranberry- pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon fresh cranberries
  Fresh fruit for garnish
   

Dip rim of glass in sugar. Pour wine and juice into glass, stirring to combine. Drop in cranberries, along with any additional fruit desired. Serve immediately.

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