Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Pajamadays!: SSC Presents the Most Comfortable Holiday Party Imaginable

Christmas. Yeah, it's basically awesome. Plus all those other holidays. Those are great too. Really what I'm looking for in a holiday is an excuse to be drunk and sparkly at the same time and not look like a stripper. This is my time friends...however, all that dressing up does get a little old after a while. Six nights in a row in heels is definitely not something I like to do on a regular basis.

That's where SSC comes in. I can't resist throwing a party, especially when there's so much awesome seasonal food around. So instead of going the traditional super dressed up route and even forgoing the recently popular ugly sweater party, I came up with a new and revolutionarily comfortable idea. A pajama party.

That's right, a party where you can pass out in what you wore there and not have dicks drawn on your face. Regardless of how you feel about theme parties, no one can argue with dressing as comfortable as possible and this pretty much takes the cake. So we stocked up on the best seasonal brews, made some casual, fun appetizers instead of that fancy-schmancy stuff and had a fantastic night to remember...or not, depending on how much you drank that night.

- Christa

Swedish Meatballs
This is one of my favorite holiday appetizers. If you manage to have any leftovers, they also makes awesome meatball sandwiches the next day!

1.5 lbs ground beef
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 cup onions chopped up in super small pieces
(a food processor works best)
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 egg
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 cup chili sauce
10 oz red current jelly
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/2 tbsp chopped garlic
dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp cornstarch

Italian or some other kind of hearty bread

Preheat oven to 350. Beat egg in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine meatball ingredients (including egg) and mix. You're eventually gonna have to use your hands and it's gonna be sorta gross. Go with it, its worth it. Shape into 1 inch balls. When making meatballs, don't pack them too tightly or they will be tough. Place meatballs in a glass baking pan. Bake 20 minutes or until brown.

In medium saucepan, saute garlic until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Combine remaining sauce ingredients, adding the corn starch last. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, stirring occasionally. Add cooked meatballs. Place in a crock pot on the warm setting so it tastes great all night! Serve with Italian or some other kind of hearty bread.

Ted's Mac and Cheese Soup
This recipe is warm, hearty and nothing short of perfect for a cold winter night...plus the bacon makes it manly.

1 1/2 cup dry macaroni
1lb maple bacon
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
14 oz vegetable stock
3 cups milk
1lb cheddar cheese
1tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni and set aside. Chop bacon into pieces and saute in a soup pot. When crispy remove bacon and drain most of the grease, reserving some to cook with. Add finely chopped onion and garlic to pot. Cook until tender. Add flour and mix well. Add stock and stir. Bring to a simmer for 2 minutes. Add milk and spices and bring to a simmer for another 2 minutes.

Add cheese and mix well. After it returns to a simmer add bacon and macaroni. Add salt and pepper. Give everyone a high five. Eat!

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates with Almonds

This appetizer is both classy and quick. If you have vegetarian friends or people who try to avoid pork, leave off the bacon and they're just as good! You can find the recipe on our very first SSC post, HERE.

Peanut Butter Balls
This recipe is super rich, super delicious, requires no baking and is really quick and easy to make. Also it might just be the most unhealthy recipe on the planet. Try not to think about it. New Years resolutions don't officially kick off until January 1st anyway.

1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 lb butter (2 sticks) softened
1.5 lbs powered (confectioners) sugar
8oz semi sweet chocolate chips or bulk chocolate
aluminum foil or cookie sheet

Use a hand mixer and beat butter until creamy. Beat in peanut butter. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Form mixture into 1 inch balls and place onto foil.

Put chocolate into a bowl and microwave about a minute. Take out an stir. If chocolate hasn't completely melted, put into microwave in 30second increments, stirring after each until melted.

Dip peanut butter balls into chocolate or drop chocolate right on top. (It's slightly less messy if you just drop in on top.) Put into plastic storage containers and refrigerate until chocolate has hardened. Tastes best cold, keep leftovers refrigerated.

Anise Cookies

This is a great simple Italian cookie recipe that always tastes great and fits with just about every meal. The cookies come out light, cakey and delicious!

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsps baking powder (scant)
2 tbsps lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp anise extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

2 cups powered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
multi colored sprinkles

Preheat over to 350. Whisk baking powder and flour together in a small bowl. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat butter until creamy. Add sugar gradually. Beat in extracts and lemon zest. Beat in eggs. Beat in flour gradually altranating with milk until blended. Dough will be sticky. Flour your palms and roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake about 10 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are light golden brown.

Immediately dip cookie into glaze and put on cooking rack. Dust on sprinkles. Cool.

Whisk together powered sugar and cream of tartar. Add milk gradually. Glaze will be thick but still a bit watery.

Gingerbread Cookies
I'm only bake these babies once a year and I always have a ton of fun making them. My favorite part is inviting over a bunch of friends to help me decorate them!


3 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1/2 cup unsulphered molasses
1 egg
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
cookie cutters

2 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsps milk or heavy cream

gel frosting
chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
any other candy you can think of!

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl beat butter until creamy with an electric mixer. Add brown sugar gradually. Beat in spices. Beat in egg and molasses. Add about 1/3 flour mixture. Continue to add flour mixture until it becomes too difficult to use an electric mixer and use your hands.

Form dough into a large ball and flatten. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Sometimes I cheat and throw it in the freezer for awhile to speed up the process but its not really the best idea. Heh.

Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350. Flour rolling pin and roll out cookie dough on a floured surface. Dough should be about 1/4 in thick.

Use cookie cutters to make different shapes. Along with the traditional holiday shapes, I also had awesome ninja cookie cutters, so I had both gingerbread men and NINJAbread men. For my Halloween party I also made gingerDEAD men...creating a trifecta of awesomeness...or nerdiness, I can't quite decide.

Place cookies about 1.5 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes, less time for smaller cookie shapes. Cool.

Frost cookies and decorate!

Booze Pairings!

Beer: Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Malty, sweet, hearty and wonderfully aromatic.
One of my all time favorite winter beers.

Lazy Man's Eggnog

store bought eggnog
dark rum
whipped cream

Pour eggnog into a glass. Dump a bunch of rum into it.
Maybe throw in a couple of ice cubes. Garnish with cinnamon and whipped cream.

Peppermint Patty Shot

peppermint schnapps (chilled)
chocolate syrup
memories of being at a stupid frat party

Pour peppermint schnapps into a shot glass. Squeeze some chocolate syrup into your mouth. Take the shot. (Look, no one said these were good ideas...but no matter how you spin it, this shot is pretty damn tasty.)

Me, Phoebe, Shea and one fantastic hat; Some of our pajama goers

The spread...regrettably taken after we ate most of it; A prime example of some kickass pjs

Camera shy; This photo reminds me of art school and Myspace

Cheers & Happy Holidays!
Christa & Phoebe

About Christa
Christa is a comedian, artist and graphic designer living in Boston. Because most of her family is fresh off the boat, she knows a thing or two about traditional European cooking and baking, provided that the recipes are in English (Thanks a lot, crappy American school system!). She also has a vast knowledge of fancy-smancy beers made by smelly hippies. Although she has no food credits to speak of, generally speaking everything she makes is considered to be "damn good." Check out her other blog Shameless Pomp and Circumstance if you feel like it!

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