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Keep Guests Busy With Fun Tasks and Easy Snack Recipes So You Can Cook Holiday Dinner

Guests are great, especially during the holidays. They fill our homes with laughter and help us to create great memories. Let's be honest though, sometimes they can get a little "under foot". It's a challenge to prepare the holiday feast while having to navigate around Aunt Jane in the kitchen, or field Nana Betty's questions about everything. So keep your family busy with a fun task and easy snack recipes they can nibble on during the day.

While you may need to recruit some help in the kitchen from a few family members, direct the rest of the crew to another room. Provide them with light food, plenty of beverages, and a fun game or challenge to keep them occupied.

Food

You don't want to be responsible for the holiday bloat before the big meal has occurred, so plan on some light, simple easy snack recipes for munching, and remember to keep a few in the kitchen for yourself!

Here are some simple ideas that should keep people from being ravenous, but still leave room for the turkey, roast, or other hearty foods to come.

  • Spiced nuts – sweet and savory
  • Flavored popcorn – sweet, cheesy, spicy
  • Skewers of grape tomatoes, mozarella cheese and olives drizzled with oil and balsamic vinegar

Or try this tasty recipe for roasted figs and prosciutto from Food Network:
20 large fresh ripe figs
20 thin slices Italian prosciutto (about 8 ounces)
Good olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Snip hard stems off of the figs and cut figs in half lengthwise through the stem. With a small, sharp knife, cut the prosciutto lengthwise into inch-wide strips. Wrap a strip of prosciutto around the center of each fig half, with the ends overlapping. Brush with olive oil and arrange cut-side up on a sheet pan.
Roast the figs for 10 minutes, until the prosciutto and the figs are warmed through. Serve warm.

light-easy-nibbles.pngDrink

Mix up some of this Spicy Rum Punch from Cooking Light to keep the adults happy, it will go perfectly with any easy snack recipes:
¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
2 Tbs black peppercorns
6 star anise
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2 (64 ounce) bottles cranberry-pineapple drink
2 cups dark rum
4 (12-ounce) bottles ginger beer

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; let stand for 30 minutes.
Strain cranberry mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Chill thoroughly. Stir in rum and ginger beer just before serving.
Makes 20 servings.

Fun

Keep them occupied without turning on the TV:

  • Have them each write down their favorite Christmas memories (let kids draw pictures) and create a scrapbook the family can look at each year.
  • Designate a family member to be the holiday photographer and capture some candid photos of the day as well as some organized group shots (include some crazy poses too.)
  • Put out simple board games that everyone can play.
  • Create a family Christmas song set to a traditional tune – let everyone weigh in on the lyrics.

Happy Holidays to all.