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Easy Apps for Holiday Entertaining

Dec 01, 2015 02:34AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) If gatherings with family and friends are the fabric that weaves each holiday season together, the mouthwatering foods that accompany these celebrations are what bring everyone to the table.

For seasoned pros and home cooks alike, holiday entertaining is an opportunity to gift loved ones with a taste of festive fun. A few simple tips will help make it easy to cook up one delicious holiday season.

  • Plan a menu that lets you enjoy the party, too. Serve a simple main course, and let the smaller dishes and desserts be the heroes of the holiday. Flavorful finger foods, appetizers and sweets are easily prepared and guests can serve themselves.
  • Keep your kitchen stocked with a few key ingredients that can be used in a variety of dishes. For example, Philadelphia Cream Cheese makes the holidays because it’s perfect in rich cheesecake and other desserts, but it also lends a creamy texture to appetizers and main dishes.
  • Remember that special can be simple, and recipes do not need to be complex to be guest-worthy. Take care to offer a diverse selection to satisfy a range of tastes and dietary needs, and guests will be eager to enjoy the bounty of your efforts.
  • If you’ll be hosting or attending multiple events, work ahead. You can make the same dish more than once for different groups of people. Look for recipes you can prep or cook and freeze ahead of time, so you can shop once and make the most of your kitchen time.
  • Impromptu visits add to the excitement of the season, but leave little time to serve up your culinary best. Find a few go-to recipes for flavorful appetizers, such as these Savory Mini Cheese Balls, that can be prepared in minutes when unexpected guests drop by.

Find more tips and recipes to make your holiday entertaining sparkle at

Savory Mini Cheese Balls


  • 1 1/2 packages (8 ounces each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese (12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Planters Pecans


  1. CUT cream cheese into 6 pieces; roll each into a ball.
  2. COMBINE sesame seeds, poppy seeds and half the garlic in small bowl. Mix herbs and remaining garlic in separate small bowl. Combine cranberries and nuts in third bowl.
  3. ROLL 2 cheese balls in sesame seed mixture, 2 cheese balls in herb mixture and remaining cheese balls in nut mixture.
  4. CUT each cheese ball in half and serve with crackers.

Sponsored by PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese

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