This Christmas my roommates and I wanted to throw a party, but our place isn’t set up to throw a formal holiday party and everyone has enough formal holiday parties to attend already. We decided to throw a laid back, comfort food Christmas party with everyone’s favorite grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Have Yourself A Merry Little Cocktail
I found the cocktail napkins with the printed message “Have yourself a merry little cocktail” on them at a local party store. By just adding this little touch, it added a festive vibe to the party and saved me from purchasing expensive paper goods.
I knew that guests would have a little bit of a wait as everyone created their grilled cheese masterpieces, so we planned on having a few little bites for everyone to munch on.
Little Bites Menu:
Boursin and Sea Salt Pita Puffs
Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs
These are so easy to make and guys always seem to crowd around the crockpot at parties, so why not whip up a batch?
- Package cocktail meatballs
- 1/2 jar of Frank’s Sweet and Spicy Sauce
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
- BLT Deviled Eggs
- 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and heat on medium until ready to serve
- 6 Large Eggs hard boiled and peeled (I love to use the pre-peeled eggs you find at the grocery store, a huge time saver!)
- 1/4 cup Mayo
- 4-5 slices bacon cooked and finely diced
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1/8 cup finely diced tomato
- Parsley for garnish
1. Mash the egg yolk and then add mayo until creamy and smooth.
2. Add the Bacon, tomatoes, mustard and parsley.
3. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste.
As Sandra Lee would say, our “Table Scape”
Our table set up was simple, gold, cranberry and cream colors kept with the festive theme. We quickly dressed a blank wall in our dining room with package ribbon and attached Christmas cards with clothespins. I think every party should have fresh flowers and a small bouquet of cranberry colored flowers with golden accents completed our “table scape”.
The Grilled Cheese Bar
Step 1: Select your bread
- Asiago Peppercorn Sourdough
Step 2: Select your Fixin’s
- Fresh Spinach
- Red Onion
- Green Apple
Step 3: Select your Cheese
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Pepper Jack
Step 4: Grill It!
There are tons of Panini makers out there, but I highly recommend the Cusin Art Griddler. It has two types of grill plates, ribbed and flat. It can be used as a press for grilling, an open flat indoor grill or a open flat griddle.
The Tomato Soup Bar
Creamy Tomato Bisque
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 strips bacon
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 carrot
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 small yellow onion
- 5 tablespoons flour
- Two 28 oz cans of whole, peeled tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup cream
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- Parmesan cheese
1. Melt the butter and brown the bacon, onion, celery and carrots. Sauté until the onion is translucent and celery and carrots are soft.
2. Add garlic and cook.
3. Add flour and cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Wisk in broth and bring to a boil, allow to thicken and then add tomatoes.
5. Lower hat to a simmer for about 30-45 minutes.
6. Use an immersion blender or transfer to blender in batches to blend soup mixture until smooth.
7. Wisk in cream, then add cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste and then add basil. I prefer to also add a 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.
8. Heat over medium low until serving.
- Crumbled bacon
- Garlic and Cheese Croutons
- Mini Saltines
- Goat Cheese
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Hot Chocolate Bar
I placed the hot chocolate maker (please see previous post) out with a pitcher of milk and then provided guests with the ability to whip up their customized hot chocolate.
Guests could mix chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps or Baileys Caramel Irish Cream and then top their drink with mini marshmallows, toasted coconut marshmallows, whipped cream and marshmallow fluff. Soft peppermint sticks made great stirrers once the drink was complete!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Ladies of Clarkson Green!
Please note: Karly was sick with the stomach flu and could not attend the party :(
Tips for throwing your Grilled Cheese Party:
A grilled cheese party is a great idea year-round, here are a few tips from my experiences.
- Put out idea cards for combinations of cheese and toppings. The amount of toppings can be overwhelming, so it can help stir up creativity if you provide some starter ideas.
- The prep and grilling process can be time consuming, prepare for people to be standing around waiting for their sandwich. Consider having a mini bar next to the grill station so people can replenish drinks or place the soup bar nearby so they can fill up while they wait.
- Cut the bread into smaller pieces so guests can create several small sandwiches instead of one large sandwich. With the variety of sandwiches available, guest will have a hard time deciding on just one sandwich, so make it easier by encouraging multiple creations!
- Serve tomato soup shooters and mini grilled cheese sandwiches. I love this idea for a cocktail party
- Prepare extra bacon.