A few simple dishes to liven up Christmas entertaining

Published 8:00 am Saturday, December 1, 2018

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder and the calendar reads “December.”

The Christmas season has arrived. Perhaps you’re hosting a holiday get together or open house for friends and neighbors.

Linda: When you’re planning a party, it’s always good to find recipes that are tasty but easy. I try to make it as stress free as possible.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

A honey baked or spiral sliced ham is always a good start. Then you can add your own creations for people to nibble on.

Lucy: My friend Pat in Tampa has a unique way to celebrate Christmas Eve. Instead of cooking dinner, she offers several different appetizers. Family and friends can munch and talk in a more casual setting.  I call her “the queen of appetizer recipes,” and we can feature a few of her favorites.

Linda: I think that’s a wonderful idea. Much more fun than sitting down to another big, holiday dinner. I can contribute one simple, munchable recipe that goes back about 58 years.

Back when my son was born, mothers stayed in the hospital for five days after the birth. I shared a room with another new mother, Ellen, who became a good friend for many years after our children were born. We were young, first-time mothers and enjoyed getting together to compare our babies’ progress.

One time, she served what she called “toasted things.” I still have the old recipe card. Every time I see her handwriting from so long ago, I’m always reminded of her and that time in my life.

Lucy: Yes, back then, before computers and email, we always exchanged recipes on index cards printed with the heading “From the kitchen of………” They bring back memories of the person who passed along the recipe. Looking through my recipe box can be quite nostalgic.

Linda: Let’s help our readers start planning a party with recipes they can easily prepare.

Lucy: Pat has been kind enough to share some of her favorites and assures me they’re delicious and easy, just what we need this time of year.


One loaf of party rye or party pumpernickel bread

Mix together:

1 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup chopped onion

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Place several slices bread on flat oven proof pan and toast for about three minutes under the broiler in the oven, just until slightly crisp.

Remove from oven and turn all slices over. Spread ample amount of mayonnaise mixture on each slice and return to oven under the broiler. Toast until golden brown.

Serve warm. Slices can be kept on a warming tray for buffet serving.


8 ounces cream cheese

1 can (15 ounce) “no bean” chili

Shredded Mexican cheese

Spread cream cheese onto a pie plate. Cover with the chili and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Bake at 350 until cheese is melted (20 to 30 minutes).

Serve with Fritos (“scoopable” type work best).


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup diced salami

4 ounces diced provolone

½ cup chopped roasted red pepper from jar

½ cup chopped green olives

Garlic clove, mashed

Mix everything together using hand-held mixer. Spread in pie plate or shallow baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Serve with pita chips or cut celery sticks.


4 ounces crumbled gorgonzola (Can use feta cheese, if you prefer)

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons chopped onion

½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

½ cup finely crumbled bacon

Mix cheeses, onion and Worcestershire sauce with hand-held mixer.

Form into small balls and roll in the crispy bacon.

Serve on a platter with grapes, sliced apples and other fruits.