Empty-handed = eat and run acquaintance or party crasher
Fried whole turkey = best bud or guy trying to impress and/or steal your girl
Casserole = boring married guy
Bottle of booze = last one at the party (at least until bottle he brought is gone)
Then there’s the “pre-packaged guy” who stopped off at Trader Joe’s on his way over to grab some hummus and crackers. The thought is nice, but somewhat insulting. A host has not only opened up their home or workplace for their guests and stocked it up with the best Costco has to offer. Show some creativity and class. Be an adult. Don’t just mail it in, you’re better than that. The holidays are about giving, not just showing up to drink all the party host’s booze and hit on the random single chick. We’ve hosted and attended enough holiday potlucks to know what’s not only a hit, but also quick and easy. You don’t have to go all Martha Stewart, but get your hands a little dirty, show you care. At the very least a homemade DIY dish is a much better conversation piece than the vegetable party tray that the snack hack brought.
Beer & Cheddar Dip
Dips are a can’t miss potluck dish: easily transferable, able to heat up quickly and a sure-fire crowd pleaser. The Beer & Cheddar is like the (LSU freshman) Ben Simmons of dips: a born-ready, low-maintenance star, who can awe an audience with dunk after dunk, while making everything around that party spread great — even those damn raw vegetable crudités.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
2 cups evaporated milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
20 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 12-ounce bottles Amber beer (we use Fat Tire)
12 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices of chopped bacon into small bits
1 chopped green onion
Pretzels, crackers for serving
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together evaporated milk, eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and half of the shredded cheese. Once the cheese sauce warms, add the beer and cornstarch-water mixture. Keep whisking, gradually add the remaining cheese and boil until the sauce reaches desired thickness (no longer than 12 minutes). Season with salt and pepper. Rewarm over low heat, stirring until ready to serve. Garnish with bacon, green onions and serve with pretzels, crackers, etc.
Limoncello Fruit Salad
Sure, a tossed fruit salad isn’t exactly a party starter, but hear us out. The typical fruit salad unfairly gets a bad rap for its browning banana slices, slimy fruit chunks and don’t even get us started on the lumpy, mystery colored drip at the bottom. But, trust us. Holiday partygoers are gonna love the Limoncello Fruit Salad like a fat kid loves cake. Not only is it a healthy alternative to your fifth spiced vanilla cookie, but it gives you a chance to get drunk on Limoncello for the first time since high school when you stole it from your dad’s liquor cabinet.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
1 small cantaloupe melon, peeled and diced small
1 pound of strawberries, sliced
1 pint blueberries
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
3 kiwi, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1/2 cup of Limoncello liqueur
4 tablespoons of minced fresh mint or basil
Pro tip: Slice the fruits into small pieces, which not only look better, but will also add to the booze-to-fruit ratio. Feel free to add/substitute fruits like mango, blackberries, but avoid bananas (which get soggy and gross). Okay, now pour the fruit into a bowl and add the Limoncello. Use a wooden spoon to toss it like a salad. Cover and chill for 20 minutes. Top it off with the mint or basil before serving.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Kale is so 2014, and it tastes like dirty garbage. Brussels sprouts, which offer a burst of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, were the “it” vegetable of this year. We know, not everyone likes vegetables, but everyone does love bacon. This somewhat healthy side dish also adds some much-needed color (green) into your holiday diet, which so far consists of pigs in a blanket and fudge.
Prep Time: 35 minutes
3 pounds of halved Brussels sprouts
10 slices of bacon cut into 1/2 strips
2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
freshly ground pepper
Fry the bacon in a large skillet until it crisps. Add the Brussels sprouts on low-medium heat. Stir occasionally as the bacon grease naturally browns the Brussels sprouts. Add in the vinegar, salt, pepper.
Spiked Hot Cider
Spiked Cider is an iconic holiday drink that never fails to put us in the holiday spirit. Plus, people are going to want something else to drink than pumpkin spiced ale or boozy eggnog (gross) or Hot Toddy’s, which can start to taste like NyQuil. This cider with a kick warms the bones on chilly winter nights, while giving you liquid courage that you’re gonna need for caroling when it’s your turn to belt out Wham’s “Last Christmas.”
Prep Time: 10 minutes
1 gallon of apple cider
5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons of ground nutmeg
2 1/2 tablespoons of allspice
2 1/2 tablespoons of ground clover
1 shot of bourbon (we like Bulleit) with each serving cup
In a stockpot, heat apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. When mixture is hot but not boiling, remove from heat. Serve hot with one shot of bourbon. Remember NEVER EVER add the bourbon while heating up the cider or you will just be burning off all the alcohol.