Family Gathering Ideas for the Holidays


In keeping with the theme for MTTD’s fall blog posts, today I am going to talk some more about Holiday Recipes and Gathering Ideas. I have already shared a few fall family activities, some fall recipes, and one fall craft idea.

Today I am going to talk about buffets. No matter which fall holiday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or any of the religious or winter solstice holidays: Christmas, Kwanza, Hanukkah, or some other you may celebrate, buffets are an excellent option for serving food for family or friendly get togethers.

I really like buffets. They have a lot going for them.

Don’t get me wrong. I like formal and informal sit-down dinners too. And I have done my share of those over the years. But I really like buffets because I like to mix with my friends and guests. I like to be in the center of all the fun and action. I don’t want to miss a thing. Buffets allow me to do that much more than a sit-down dinner.

And during the recession buffets are also a less expensive option for entertaining. Everyone can bring a dish or two and spreading the expense makes holiday entertaining more affordable than a sit down or a go to a restaurant option.

Buffets also can promote more socializing and an opportunity to get to interact more with family or friends.

Another benefit of a buffet is you can serve a lot of finger food. And many finger foods can be made ahead of time.

Days ahead.

Even months ahead.

Get my drift?

I really like that: one, because as regular readers here know, I am basically lazy. And two, I do not have to work as hard on party day and so I am not exhausted by the time my guests arrive.

Later this year I am going to share a couple of ways to get some sharing and have some fun at any or all of your gatherings for any of the three aforementioned holidays, be it sit down or buffet. I am also going share a craft idea for making your own table placemats that will be less expensive than buying holiday mats. All of these ideas can also get your children involved in the preparation and help them learn they can contribute.

Over the next few months I will be sharing more ideas with you about buffets and buffet type foods, as well as some sit down holiday foods. It will all be mixed in with my usual commentary about life in America and life during this recession. 

So let’s get started!!!!!

Featured Recipe    Curried Cheese Olive Spread

This recipe is perfect for buffets. It can also be used as an appetizer for sit-down meals. It is perfect for any of the fall holidays. I have made it dozens and dozens of times. It is a favorite of mine and  of many of my guests over the years. Everyone, and I mean e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e,  loves this recipe. I have never had any left over either!!

It should be served warm so I always have plenty in the fridge to replenish the serving dish. I once had every single one of my guests follow me into the kitchen to wait for a new batch to come out of the oven. I felt like the Pied Piper with seven people scurrying behind me out to the kitchen. These tasty little morsels were gone before I could plate them.

It can be made ahead, days, even up to three months ahead of time. So this is a good recipe to make your holiday a little less stressful. Always a good thing!! And as usual, it is easy and inexpensive.

I got this recipe from my friend and great cook, Janet in New Jersey. You may remember Janet. She shared her Chicken Creole recipe with us several months ago. You can get that recipe by clicking here.

This is what you will need for 48 pieces:

½ cup of mayonnaise (I use less)

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 – 4.5 ounce can of chopped black olives

½ cup chopped green onions

Salt & pepper to taste, optional

½ teaspoon curry powder (sweet, mild, or hot)

6 English Muffins

Here is what you do:

Slice each ofthe muffins in half………….

……..then slice each half into fourths. (More fraction fun.)

Place the chopped olives in a bowl.

Wash and finely dice the green onions and add to the bowl.

Add the cheese, the curry, and salt & pepper, if using.

Add half of the mayo;  just enough to moisten and to hold everything together.

Mix well. If you need more mayo add till desired consistency.

Spread mixture on muffin pieces.

Then place each piece on a baking sheet. 

If you are going to freeze for later this is where you will do it. TIP: Freeze the pieces individually while still on the baking sheet for 20-40 minutes or more (See picture) till the spread on top is completely frozen. Then place in a plastic bag. This way the spread will not get all messed up. They will keep up to three months in the freezer.

If you are going to use later that same day, place on baking sheets and refrigerate till guest arrive.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes. I just heat them till the cheese starts to melt. I don’t want the muffins to get too dry.

Plate and set on your buffet table. IF they last that long!!! 

Close up of one piece.

Several pieces on a plate.


½ cup of mayonnaise                      $0.22

1 cup cheddar cheese                      $1.42

1 4.5 ounce black olives                   $1.19

½ cup green onions                        $0.67

½ teaspoon curry powder                $0.74

6 English Muffins                             $2.00

Salt & pepper to taste

Total Cost = $6.24
Cost per piece = $0.13
If everyone had 6 pieces this recipe would serve 8 people.
Then the cost per person = $0.78

Bon Appetit!!!!

Quote of the Day: Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.  ~  Swedish proverb.

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