Cocktail dresses, Champagne flutes and caviar on crackers make for fine New Year's Eve fantasy parties.
But let's get real. Most of us, if we do anything at all, will gather with a few friends on the couch to watch movies, play board games or eat Asian takeout. A wild few may do all three.
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So why not set your menu to match your mood? Ditch the gourmet dream and stick with real grub. And while you're at it, might as well make it do-ahead grub. No need to fuss in the kitchen when you could be winning at Monopoly.
Start with the subs. Just three ingredients plus a roll, yet the combination of seasoned sausage, provolone cheese and caramelized onions creates a deeply satisfying sandwich.
The subs—which are held together with parchment paper and kitchen twine — can be made up to a day ahead. The twine and paper aren't just practical; they look great, too.
Sausage and Caramelized Onion Subs
1. Use cooking spray to lightly coat a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add sausage slices and cook until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove pan from heat.
2. Spread onions over one-half of the roll or baguette. Arrange sausage slices over onions, then top with cheese. Complete sandwich with other half of the bread.
3. Cut a piece of parchment paper to about 7.5 by 30 cm (3 by 12 inches). Wrap this around the middle of the sub. Use a 60-cm (24-inch) length of kitchen twine to tie sandwich closed, wrapping it several times over the middle of the parchment paper.
4. Wrap sandwich in plastic and refrigerate up to 24 hours.
5. To serve, preheat oven to 140 C (300 F). Remove plastic wrap and place sandwich (still wrapped in parchment paper and twine) on a baking sheet. Heat for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Makes 1 serving.
Potato Chips with Smoked Salmon
1. In a food processor, combine sour cream, cream cheese and dill. Pulse until thoroughly combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to a self-sealing plastic bag.
2. Arrange potato chips on a platter (or multiple platters). Top each chip with a piece of smoked salmon.
3. Use scissors to snip off one corner from the plastic bag. Gently squeeze the bag to pipe a dollop of the sour cream-cream cheese mixture on each piece of smoked salmon. Season chips with freshly ground black pepper.
Makes 48 chips.
Source: Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, www.marthastewart.com