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When planning festive recipes for a New Year's Eve or New Year's Day party, home cooks can easily create a mix and match menu for guests to enjoy.

Whether you're going with a specific theme, such as appetizers, a chili bar or comfort food, there are various recipes to offer to revelers.

Fill a party table with fruit, vegetables, dips and assorted cheeses and other finger foods for a party where hors d'oeuvres are the star.

Or experiment with new ingredients to serve up a tasty, spicy chili or hearty soups that are perfect for a cold winter's day.

Use popcorn or candy in creative ways for snack-type offerings. Or choose an ethnic theme for easy recipes for salads, side dishes or entrees.

If you're looking for a new recipe to test on party guests, try one of the following dishes to add to your festive table.

SMOKED SALMON CHEESEBALL

8 ounces Lucerne Cream Cheese, softened

2 ounces smoked salmon, flaked into small pieces

2 tablespoons fresh minced chives

Zest of 1/2 a lemon

2 ounces fresh dill, minced

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, smoked salmon, and chives together until evenly incorporated. Reserve in refrigerator.

Place lemon zest, minced dill, and lemon pepper seasoning on a plate and mix together. Remove cheese mixture from refrigerator and form into a ball. Roll cheeseball into dill and lemon zest.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers and vegetables.

From Chef Jeff Anderson, Jewel-Osco executive chef

POPCORN PEPPERONI PIZZA DIPPERS

2 eggs

1/2 cup Tomato and Basil Reduced Fat Cooking Crème

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1/8 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

10 cups popped popcorn

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup thinly sliced pepperoni, coarsely chopped

Your favorite marinara sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together eggs, cooking crème, Parmesan cheese and black pepper in large bowl. Stir in popcorn, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.

Spread mixture in prepared pan, patting down with spatula or spoon.

Bake about 15 minutes until set and lightly browned. Let sit 5 minutes. Cut into 16 bars. Serve warm with marinara sauce.

From The Popcorn Board and popcorn.org

MONA’S SOUTHWESTERN CHILI

(makes 5 lunch or 4 dinner portions)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound 93 percent lean ground beef

2 cups chopped bell peppers

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained

3/4 cup frozen corn kernels

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat.

Brown the ground beef until fully cooked. Add the bell peppers, onion, jalapeño,and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes, just until the onion and peppers begin to soften.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pot, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the black beans and corn to the chili, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes before serving.

From "The Perfect Portion Cookbook" by Anson Williams, Mona Dolgov and Bob Warden, book is available through qvc.com.

CHINESE PORK SALAD

1 pound pork stir-fry strips

1/2 cup purchased stir fry sauce

1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 10-oz packages frozen pea pods, thawed and drained

1 8-oz can mandarin oranges, drained

1 3-oz can chow mein noodles

DIRECTIONS:

Marinate pork strips in sauce for 30 minutes. In large nonstick skillet, stir-fry pork and onion over medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together.

Serves 4

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Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.