Best of Party Favorites for the Holidays

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It is a tradition to have “Appetizer Day” at our Publisher, Elizabeth Millen’s home each year prior to the holiday issues coming out. This year, with the hurricane and the fact that Elizabeth's home was severely damaged, we decided to dive into our archives and bring back our favorite recipes to share in a "Best of Party Favorites." Little did we know it would be very hard to choose.  

Each year the recipes featured were prepared and given the star treatment—groomed, garnished and styled for their very own photo shoot. To add to the fun, we styled each recipe on their very own service tray from our wonderful advertisers for a beautiful presentation. This also allows us to show you that if we can do it, so can you.

We hope you enjoy these recipes. We have tried them all, and they all are delicious. You, your family and your guests are in for some decadent treats. Plus, having a beautiful serving tray makes it so easy to turn a simple recipe into a dynamite, showy offering. So, after five years and 20 plus pages of fantastic recipes, we narrowed it down to 12 favorites!

Ready to style your very own party favorite? Visit the following stores for a great selection of serving dishes: Forsythe, The Bleu Companies, The Gallery, Grayco, 2nd Chances, Bellavista, Octopuses, Lettrs, Gifted, The Blue Parrot, Le Cookery, Pretty Papers, Lowcountry Store, Cocoon, Artware, Three Sisters Resale & More, Antiques & Garden Collectibles at the Greenery and Marche de Macaron.


Apple Crescent RosesBestof AppleCrescentRoses
Chosen by: Lindsay Gifford, Art Director, Pink Magazine

3 med. Apples
2 Tbsps Lemon juice
Flour, for sprinkling
9 Tbsps Sugar, divided
2 tsps Ground cinnamon
Rolling Pin1 roll Pillsbury™ refrigerated Crescent Dough Sheet or puff pastry sheet

Heat oven to 400°F. Grease or spray 9 regular-size muffin cups. Wash and core apples. Thinly slice each one, leaving the peel on. In 2-quart saucepan, heat 4 cups water, 4 Tbsps sugar and the lemon juice to boiling. Add the apple slices; boil about 3 minutes or until apples are soft. You want to be able to easily bend them without breaking. Drain apples, and place on paper towels to dry and cool completely.

Sprinkle flour on work surface, and roll out dough sheet thinly. Sprinkle 5 Tbsps sugar and the cinnamon on surface of dough. Using pastry cutter (or pizza cutter), cut dough into 9 (1-inch) strips. Arrange cooled apple slices end to end down each strip. Carefully roll up each strip, and place in muffin cup. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely golden. Remove from pan, and cool on cooling rack. Serve and enjoy!

“These make a beautiful display and [shhhh!] they aren't as hard as they look!" -Lindsay

Bestof OreoTruffles
Chosen by: Dana Millen, V.P. of Sales, Pink Magazine

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream cheese, softened     
36 (1 pkg.) Oreo cookies, finely crushed
4 oz. White chocolate bark coating      
½ pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Finely crush Oreos (easiest in a food processor). Blend cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well mixed. Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls and place on cookie sheet covered with waxed or parchment paper. Freeze 10 minutes. In a double boiler, melt white chocolate. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer on a shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Place semi-sweet chocolate chips in a zip top plastic bag. Melt in the microwave in 10-second intervals checking each time. Once melted, snip a small piece from the corner of the baggie and garnish each truffle to your design preference. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Note: To easily coat truffles with the melted chocolate, add truffles in batches to the bowl of melted chocolate. Use 2 forks to roll truffles in chocolate until evenly coated. Remove truffles with forks, letting excess chocolate drop back into bowl.

"One of the best reasons ever to crush your Oreo Cookies. So rich and creamy." -Dana




Bestof HillyDipHilly Cheese Dip
Chosen by Elizabeth Millen, Owner & Publisher, Pink Magazine

2 cups Sharp cheddar cheese, fresh grated
2 cups Pecans, chopped
1 cup Green onions, green and white parts chopped small
Mayonnaise, to taste
1 jar Pepper jelly, red or green

Mix cheese, pecans, and onions together. Add mayonnaise one Tbsp at a time, until it reaches a thick spread consistency. Form dip into a pie plate and refrigerate, until ready to serve. Just before serving, cover the top with pepper jelly and serve with crackers. A hint of savory, sweet and spice, this dip is a delightful melding of flavors.

Always the hit of the party! -Elizabeth




Buffalo Chicken DipBestof BuffaloChickenDip
Chosen by: Lindsay Gifford, Art Director, Pink Magazine

2 (10 oz.) cans Chunk chicken, drained (all white meat)
2 (8 oz.) pkgs Cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup Pepper sauce (I use Texas Pete® hot sauce)
1½ cups Cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in softened cream cheese, stirring often. Make sure the cream cheese is completely melted. Pour in ranch dressing and hot sauce and allow to simmer. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. (For an extra spicy treat add a ¼ cup more of hot sauce.) Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a Crock-Pot or baking dish. Crock-Pot: Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low until hot and bubbly. Oven: Cook for 15-20 mins at 250˚, until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks, crackers, or tortilla chips. This is my go to dip for any get together and I never leave without an empty dish!

Be careful it is quite addicting!  -Lindsay




Bestof MediterraneanCheese Mediterranean Cheese Log
Chosen by: Elizabeth Millen, Owner & Publisher, Pink Magazine

1 (8 oz.) block Neufchatel (light) cream cheese
2 (4 oz.) containers Basil/Sundried Tomato Feta cheese
Green onions, sliced (to taste)
1 small can Black olives
8 oz. Walnut pieces
Crackers of choice (Ritz are
delicious with this recipe)
Celery (low-carb option)

Combine Neufchatel cheese in a food processor or blender with both containers of feta. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Slice the green part of the green onions into small pieces. Add onions to cheese mixture and blend. Add black olives and pulse a few times to blend. Put mixture on wax paper and roll into a log shape. Refrigerate for at least an hour to firm. Toast walnuts on a pan sprayed lightly with Pam in 350°F oven for 10 minutes, watching carefully. Once cooled, chop walnuts. Roll cheese log onto walnuts covering the outside of the log. Serve with crackers and/or celery. Using celery truly makes this a delicious low-carb party favorite!

A flavorful low carb delight! Always a favorite. -Elizabeth



Carolina Shrimp PuffsBestof CarolinaShrimpPuffs
Chosen by: Lindsay Jones, Graphic Designer, Pink Magazine

1 (7.5 oz) can Refrigerator biscuits
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 Scallion
½ cup good Mayonnaise
½ lb fresh Wild caught shrimp
½ tsp Fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Fresh lemon juice
Cayenne pepper, optional

Preheat oven to 350˚. Take the biscuits out of the can and split them in half. Carefully press each half into the mini muffin cups, pressing into the bottom and the sides.

Combine all the ingredients thoroughly and fill each cup ¾ of the way up. Cook for about 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. This is so easy and delicious. Garnish with a small piece of dill on top.

Yields approximately 20 puffs using mini-muffin tins.

These can easily be changed up with lots of unique ingredients. Get creative for your next party and have some fun in the kitchen! -Lindsay



Mediterranean Crescent PinwheelsBestof MediterraneanCrescentPinwheels
Chosen by: Lindsay Gifford, Art Director, Pink Magazine

1 cup (4 oz) Feta cheese, crumbled
½ tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 Tbsps Fresh Basil, chopped

1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® crescent dinner rolls
OR 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent refrigerated seamless dough sheet
½ lb Prosciutto or cooked ham, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Cut dough into 4 rectangles; place on lightly floured surface. (If using crescent rolls, firmly press perforations to seal.) Press or roll each to form 8x5-inch rectangle. Arrange ¼ of prosciutto slices evenly over each rectangle. In small bowl, mix cheese, pepper and oil. Sprinkle mixture evenly over prosciutto on each rectangle. Sprinkle with basil. Starting at short side of each rectangle, roll up; seal long edges. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 5 slices. Place, cut side up, on cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

Servings: 20  |  Prep Time: 25 mins  |  Total Time: 45 mins

I’m always looking for new and fun recipes! I found this recipe at and everyone loves the unique flavors and pretty display. -Lindsay


Chocolate Eclair DessertBestof ChocolateEclair
Chosen by: Lindsay Jones, Graphic Designer, Pink Magazine

1 pkg (3.4 oz) Jell-O vanilla flavor instant pudding
2 cups Cold milk, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool whip topping, thawed
22 Graham crackers
1 pkg (4 oz.) Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
¼ cup Butter
1.5 cups Powdered sugar

Whisk pudding mix and 1¾ cups milk in large bowl for 2 minutes. Stir in cool whip. Layer about ⅓ of the graham crackers and half of the cool whip mixture in a 13 x 9-inch pan, breaking crackers as necessary to fit; repeat layers. Top with remaining graham crackers. Microwave chocolate and butter in medium microwaveable bowl on high for 1½ minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar and remaining milk; stir until blended. Immediately spread/pour over graham crackers. Refrigerate for 4 hours.

"I chose this recipe because it's the perfect guilty pleasure." -Lindsay




Mini Lasagna CupsBestof MiniLasagnaCups
Chosen by: Lindsay Jones, Graphic Designer, Pink Magazine

1 Tbsp Olive oil
1½ cups Ricotta cheese
24 (2-inch) Wonton wrappers
2 Italian sausage links, casing removed
1½ cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsps Fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup Marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat 12-cup standard muffin tin with nonstick spray. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook about 3-5 minutes until browned, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and stir in marinara sauce. Season ricotta cheese with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside.

Fit wonton wrappers into each of the 12 muffin tins, pressing carefully to make sure there is an opening in the center. Fill each cup with 1 Tbsp ricotta cheese. Top with 1 Tbsp marinara mixture and 1 Tbsp mozzarella cheese; repeat with one more layer. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the wonton wrappers are golden brown. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

These lasgna cups are a fun hearty finger food for any party. -Lindsay



Sweet & Succulent Bacon WrapsBestof SweetSucculentBaconWraps
Chosen by: Laurie McCall, Client Concierge, Pink Magazine

1 can large Pineapple chunks
½ lb Bacon
½ cup Dark brown sugar
½ cup Worcestershire

Drain pineapple. Wrap each chunk with 1/3 slice bacon. Secure with a pick. Put in a ziplock bag. Mix brown sugar and Worcestershire and pour over wraps.  Let marinate several hours.  Place each wrap on a broiler rack or cookie sheet, lined with foil. Bake at 300˚ for 30-45 minutes, turning once, or until crisp.

This quick and easy appetizer is sure to be a big hit! -Laurie






Pimento Cheese & Bacon Mini Cheese Ball BitesBestof PimentoCheeseBaconMiniCheeseBallBites
Chosen by: Christine McElroy, Distribution Diva, Pink Magazine

For the Pimento Cheese:
8 oz. Cream cheese, at room temp
¼ cup Mayonnaise
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp Garlic salt
¼ tsp Onion powder
¼ tsp Ground cayenne pepper
8 oz. Extra-sharp cheddar cheese,
freshly grated
1 (4 oz.) jar Diced pimentos, drained
Salt & freshly ground black pepper,
to taste

For the Mini Cheese Ball Bites:
18 oz. Bacon, cooked until crisp and
finely diced (about 1½ cups diced)
1½ cups Pecans, toasted
& finely chopped
1 to 2 Jalapeños, minced
(seeds & membranes removed)
Pretzel sticks

To make pimento cheese: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer. Beat in mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, garlic salt, onion powder and cayenne. Scrape bowl and mix in grated cheddar and diced pimentos until well combined. Season with salt and/or black pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until firm.

To make Mini Cheese Ball Bites: In a medium bowl, combine diced bacon, chopped pecans, and minced jalapeños. Using a spoon, form heaping Tbsps of pimento cheese into balls. Roll each pimento cheese ball in the mixture of bacon, pecans and jalapeños, pressing coating into cheese so that it adheres. Refrigerate cheese balls until firm, and keep them chilled until ready to serve. Just before serving, skewer each cheese ball with a pretzel stick.

This quick and easy appetizer is sure to be a big hit! -Laurie







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