Hungry to get 2013 started off right? Some recipes for success

KEARNEYSVILLE – Families celebrate the New Year in diverse ways: attending parties, spending quiet time with family, watching the ball drop in Times Square. Some shoot off guns, make noise and so on, waiting for the New Year to arrive. When I was growing up in the Midwest, I would look forward to New Year’s Eve when my dad would fire off one shot and let us beat on an old pan or bucket to make as much noise as we could to ring in the New Year with the neighborhood joining in. We would then go in for hot chocolate and cookies.

Hosting a New Year’s Eve shindig? Grab a platter, some crackers and say cheese.

Hosting a New Year’s Eve shindig? Grab a platter, some crackers and say cheese.

If you have guests stopping by on New Year’s Eve, plan to have a snack and drink to serve. One great possibility for a drink: steaming hot cups of Apple Cider. You can buy the cider, heat on stove and add cinnamon sticks or pour cider in individual cups and add one cinnamon stick to each. You also can use a crockpot to keep cider hot.

How about serving a great Spinach Dip? Start with one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained. Add one 8-ounce container sour cream, one cup mayonnaise and one 4-ounce packet vegetable soup mix (or a pack of dry onion soup mix). Blend in a bowl and serve with chips or crackers.

It’s also fun to create a fancier serving container by taking out the center out of a round loaf of bread. You can use the small bite-size pieces to scoop up the dip.

Cheese Spinach and Bacon Dip is another favorite for any holiday party. You’ll need one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained; one pound of Velveeta, cut into half-inch cubes; 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed; one 10-ounce diced tomatoes and with green chilies, undrained; 8 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled.

In a microwavable bowl, mix ingredients together and cook on high 5 minutes or until Velveeta cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 3 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips and cut-up fresh vegetables. To keep this dip warm, pour prepared dip into a small slow cooker set on low.

Because the party will go so late, lighter fare may be the way to go. You could serve a favorite soup with crackers or create a tasty cheese platter with a selection of cheeses, pepperoni and crackers.

Another easy (and healthy) idea: Put together a simple fruit tray with party picks to make it easy to skewer pineapple chunks, red and white grapes, berries, kiwi slices and other bite-sized fruits, perhaps along with a yogurt-based dip. You can always round our your refreshment table with a variety of homemade cookies and your favorite pastries.

Send your feedback on this column or ideas for future columns to Patt Welsh at pwelsh@shepherd.edu. Says Welsh: “I wish all the readers of the Spirit a wonderful, safe and prosperous New Year … and best wishes as you work to keep your New Year’s resolutions!”

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