Many people are sacrificing the champagne bubbles this holiday season in an effort to cut back on cost.
But Sandra Lee, author of "Money Saving Meals" and host of "Semi Homemade," shows you how you can still throw a festive party that won't break the bank:
• Gorgonzola-Pear Toasts
Start to finish: 25 minutes
Makes 40 pieces
1 baguette, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, Bertolli®
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, Philadelphia®
4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, Athenos®
2 cans (15 ounces each) sliced pears in juice, drained, Del Monte®
1⁄2 cup candied pecans, chopped, Emerald®
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush 1 side of each baguette slice with oil. Place baguette slices on baking sheet. Toast in preheated oven for 5 to 7 minutes or just until beginning to brown. Let cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine cream cheese and Gorgonzola cheese, stirring until well mixed. Spread toasts with cheese mixture. Top with pear slices and chopped candied pecans. Sprinkle with parsley.
• Petite Pear Puffs
Prep: 20 minutes
Chill: 15 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes
Cool: 5 minutes
Makes 16 puffs
1 teaspoon water
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed, Pepperidge Farm®
5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs, Boursin®
2⁄3 cup diced pears, drained and thinly sliced,* Del Monte®
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. For egg wash, in a small bowl, lightly whisk together egg and 1 teaspoon water. Set aside.
2. Unroll puff pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll puff pastry to a 14×10-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut into sixteen 3 1⁄2×2 1⁄2-inch rectangles.
3. Spread 1 teaspoon of the semisoft cheese in middle of a pastry rectangle. Top with 2 teaspoons of the pears. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash around perimeter of the puff pastry rectangle. Bring corners of the pastry to the center and pinch seams together. Repeat to make 16 puffs. Arrange puffs, seam sides up, on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and brush tops with remaining egg wash.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
*Note: Reserve remaining pears for another use.
• Pomegranate Margarita Martini
2 cups of Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita Mix
½ cup of pomegranate juice
¼ cup Jose Cuervo Tequila Gold
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Garnish: lime zest curl
• Cranberry Honey Punch
1 bottle (20 fl oz.) green tea, chilled
2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1 cup Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita, chilled
¼ cup honey
Fresh cranberries for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a 1 1/2 or 2 quart pitcher. Stir. Make swizzle sticks by lining skewers with cranberries. Serve over ice in chilled tall glasses with cranberry swizzles.