1.) Deviled Eggs - These always fly at my house and are easy to make. Just hard boil your eggs, peel and split while scooping out the yolks. Mash the yolks with a bit of sweet pickle relish, mayonnaise, Hungarian paprika & Dijon mustard. Stuff the boiled egg whites with this creamy mixture and top with extra paprika.
2.) Oysters on a Half Shell - Be sure to get a good Oyster Knife (try Sur la Table) and check out our article on how to open & serve raw oysters under Shore Delights. We enjoy fresh, salt water Sewansecotts from H. M. Terry in Virginia. Slightly steamed or raw, they are plump with a delicate liquor that reminds you of fresh sea water.
3.) Fresh Baked Raisin Bread - This is a variation of your basic sandwich loaf only with a bit of brown sugar, 1 cup of raisins and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon added. Most bread machines will alert when you can add the raisins or other dried fruits. Slice and leave out with a tub of softened butter and chutney.
4.) Raw Nuts - We used to have a big bowl of walnuts, almonds, filberts, Brazil nuts and pecans set out during the holidays. Add a festive wooden soldier nutcracker to that extra touch.
5.) Bacon Wrapped Dates - These are so good! Get the bigger Medjool dates and wrap each one with a small section of sliced, smoked bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Bake in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees until the bacon in crispy.
6.) Dark & Milk Chocolates - You can have anything from Hershey's Kisses to Godiva Truffles, depending on your tastes. Fill the bowls and watch them disappear!
And for the Main Course...
You can slice your turkey, roast beef or ham ahead of time and cover with gravy and/sauce to keep it moist. You can keep your main course and hot entrees warm in foil pans with Sterno cans underneath.
What I've done is used an electric griddle set on low to help keep my casseroles warm. I like to use Pyrex and Mauviel Cookware because it can be used on the stove, oven and then go on to serve buffet style.