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New Year’s Eve Finger Foods and Booze

One of my favorite holidays is New Year’s - more specifically New Year’s Eve. With two children in the house, we are fortunate to know other couples with younger kids so we can all gather together to celebrate and not have to get a sitter. We traditionally get together in a hotel, and the kids can swim and play while we play cards, etc. Everyone (okay, not the kids) has their beverage of choice and we don’t have to worry about driving. Oh, and there’s lots of food - typically finger food. This year will be no different - no posts for me New Year’s Eve for sure, and it’s a little fuzzy for New Year’s Day (also known as the day of recovery…hehehehe).

I thought it would be fitting to post a couple of fun appetizers and a drink recipe in the spirit of New Year’s Eve. Enjoy!

The Shrimp Cocktail Sauce
recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup prepared chili sauce
4 tbsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp sugar
few grinds fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
32+ tiger (jumbo sized) shrimp, fully cooked with tails on

Place all ingredients, except the shrimp, into a food processor and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (hint: the day or the morning before, I put the can of diced tomatoes into the fridge - as long as the other ingredients are chilled as well, you will have ready to eat, chilled shrimp cocktail sauce the minute you pour it out of the processor!).

I typically buy my shrimp frozen, ready to eat. Another hint, from Alton, is how to thaw the shrimp. Place them in a strainer inside another bowl and run cool water over them. This thaws them quicker than any other method. Once they are thawed, be sure to drain well.

No matter where I bring this shrimp cocktail - it’s one of the first things to go. YUM!

Mini Pizza Bites

2 Boxes Mini Fillo Shells (something I discovered last year!)
small can of pizza sauce
20 or so pepperoni slices, chopped fine
bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
garlic powder

The ingredient list is a ballpark - depending on how much you use in each bite, you may use more or less. I basically layer the ingredients into the shells as I would layer onto a pizza, then I bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes (until cheese is melted). This would be perfect for a toaster oven as well. My kids love these things hot or cold (just like regular pizza!). You can vary the ingredients to suit your own tastes, too. If you don’t have access to these little fillo shells, you can certainly take regular fillo dough and cut into small squares that will line mini-sized muffin tins. The shells really save on time, which is at a premium this time of year.

Merri’s Amaretto Sours

My favorite drink is an amaretto sour - and I’m particular about how they taste. I fill a cocktail glass about 1/2 to 3/4 full of ice, then pour on a shot of Di Saronno Amaretto (Sure, you can use other brands, but I won’t use anything else!). Then take sour mix and pour a couple of glugs in (you will probably use less of the sour mix than the amaretto). Following this, pour enough diet 7-Up or Diet Sprite to top it off. Put a couple of maraschino cherries into the glass, and splash in just a bit of the juice from the maraschino cherry jar, mixing in with one of the cherries. I LOVE this drink! YUM!

Best wishes to you and yours for a prosperous, safe, and joyous new year. May 2005 bring you the best!

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