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Holiday Entertaining Made Easy

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Fancy Pigs in a Blanket
Mustard-Maple Dipping Sauce
Spicy Southwestern Barbeque Dipping Sauce
Warm Swiss Cheese-Apple Dipping Sauce
Buffalo Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

(Family Features) When preparing a holiday feast, you want to know your friends and family will enjoy every last bite. But cooking the meal can often mean spending more time in the kitchen and less time connecting with loved ones. This holiday season, use these tips and recipes to create truly delicious dishes, while spending more time with your guests.

Effortless Entertaining Tips

Whether you've been planning a holiday party for weeks, or you just got a call to alert you of unexpected company, here are some great tips for how to be prepared for hosting guests this season.

  • Surprise! We're on the way. The last-minute arrival of company doesn't have to be stressful. Simply whip up a tray of convenient savory cocktail links, such as Hillshire Farm Lit'l Smokies - these pre-cooked favorites for both adults and kids are ready in less than 60 seconds. Accompany these savory sausages with easy-to-make dipping sauces using many of the ingredients found in your refrigerator.

  • Planning a dinner party? Think simple. Think ahead and plan your menu with recipes that can be made in advance. Whip up dips, casseroles and desserts the day before. This way you'll only have to worry about meats, cheeses and veggies on the day of your event.

  • Need some flair? Add a garnish. Serving beautiful plates is easy when you create garnishes from items already in your fridge. Slice vegetables on the bias, or use fresh herbs to add color and flavor to dishes.

  • Stock up for delicious nibbles. Keep the pantry and refrigerator stocked with tasty ingredients so you can make convenient snacks to keep you going through all the holiday prep. To cut calories without cutting the flavor this season, opt for fresh or better-for-you options like low-fat artisan cheeses, sweet or tart fruit, and poultry-based products such as the new Hillshire Farm Applewood Smoked Lit'l Smokies. With 60 percent less fat than traditional Lit'l Smokies, these sausages can see you through tree decorating and present wrapping.

When hosting friends and family for the holidays, time together is highly valued. Whether you have 40 minutes to spend in the kitchen or just a few minutes to whip up a delightful treat together, enjoy these flavorful cocktail links that are simple to prepare and sure to be new holiday family favorites. For more recipes, visit www.hillshirefarm.com.

Make It a Team Effort

Don't carry the holiday cooking burden alone - share the responsibilities by asking everyone to bring a little something to the feast:

  • Beverages - Sparkling wine, juices, lemonade or flavored waters will ensure everyone will have a favorite.

  • Breads - Most grocery stores now carry artisanal selections, such as rosemary and olive oil, or asiago breads.

  • Desserts - Make sure to ask for a variety, such as pecan pie, cheesecake and brownies, for example.

  • Side Dishes - Potatoes, vegetables and whole grains can be warmed up in your oven shortly before serving dinner.

Fancy Pigs in a Blanket

Ingredients
  • 2 packages Hillshire Farm Applewood Smoked Chicken Lit'l Smokies
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls (reduced fat)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard plus extra for dipping if desired
  • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce

Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Open package of cocktail links and drain off any liquid; set aside.
    2. Separate crescent rolls from both cans into 8 rectangles total; firmly press perforations to seal. Cut each rectangle into 6 squares.
    3. Spread a small amount of mustard in center of each square. Place approximately 1/2 teaspoon of cranberry sauce on top of mustard. Place a sausage on top of cranberry sauce; bring up 2 opposite corners of dough over sausage and pinch to seal.
    4. Place wrapped pigs in a blanket on baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with additional Dijon mustard if desired.

Preparation Time
25 minutes

Cook Time
15 minutes

Serves
Makes 15 appetizer servings (3 each)

Mustard-Maple Dipping Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Applewood Smoked Chicken Lit'l Smokies
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Preparation
    1. Remove Lit'l Smokies from package and place on microwave-safe dish. Microwave on medium-high power for 1 to 3 minutes, checking every minute.
    2. Mix mustard, maple syrup and horseradish in small bowl. Serve with heated cocktail links.

Preparation Time
5 minutes

Cook Time
1 to 3 minutes

Serves
Makes 1/2 cup (8 servings)

Spicy Southwestern Barbeque Dipping Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Applewood Smoked Chicken Lit'l Smokies
  • 1/2 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 small chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce

Preparation
    1. Remove cocktail links from package and place on a microwave-safe dish. Microwave on medium-high power for 1 to 3 minutes, checking every minute.
    2. Place barbeque sauce and pepper into bowl of small food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Serve heated with cocktail links.

Preparation Time
5 minutes

Cook Time
1 to 3 minutes

Serves
Makes 1/2 cup (8 servings)

Warm Swiss Cheese-Apple Dipping Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Applewood Smoked Chicken Lit'l Smokies
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apple cider

Preparation
    1. Remove cocktail links from package and place on microwave-safe dish. Microwave on medium-high power for 1 to 3 minutes, checking every minute.
    2. Rub garlic halves around inside of medium microwave-safe bowl. Discard garlic.
    3. Place cheese, mustard and cornstarch into garlic-rubbed bowl.
    4. Place cider into microwave-safe mug or small bowl. Microwave on medium-high power for 1 to 3 minutes, checking every minute.
    5. Stir hot cider into cheese mixture. Place mixture into microwave and cook on medium power 4 to 6 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring every 2 minutes. Serve with heated cocktail links.

Preparation Time
5 minutes

Cook Time
1 to 3 minutes

Serves
Makes 1/2 cup (8 servings)

Buffalo Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Ingredients
  • 1 package Hillshire Farm Applewood Smoked Chicken Lit'l Smokies
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek-style yogurt

Preparation
    1. Remove cocktail links from package and place on microwave-safe dish. Microwave on medium-high power for 1 to 3 minutes, checking every minute.
    2. Mix remaining ingredients together in medium bowl. If desired, further break up pieces of cheese with spoon as you stir. Serve with heated cocktail links.

Preparation Time
5 minutes

Cook Time
1 to 3 minutes

Serves
Makes 1/2 cup (8 servings)

SOURCE: Hillshire Farm


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