Throw a cozy housewarming party

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Welcome your friends to their new home with inviting smells and delicious food.

Throw a cozy housewarming party

Your friends just moved into their dream home and you want to find them the perfect gift, but what to get them? Offer to throw them a housewarming party in their own home. You'll fill their home with the scents of tomato, garlic and cinnamon, as they show guests to see their new place -- and they don’t have to do the dishes.  It’s a win-win.

Of course, you’re not going to have quick access to your kitchen come party time, so this menu can be made ahead of time and is very easy to transport.

Mulled cider

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons apple cider
  • 1 package pickling spice or 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Vodka

Yield: about 2 gallons of cider 

Directions:

  1. Pour the apple cider into a pot along with pickling spice. The spice should come in its own flow-through package or you can put it in a teaball.
  2. Heat the apple cider over medium heat until the cider just starts to boil, then turn the heat down so the cider is just barely steaming. Continue cooking until the spices have infused the cider, at least an hour.
  3. This can be done the night before and reheated during the party. Just keep the heat low -- the cider will continue to improve with age.
  4. Serve the cider by itself for the kids and with a shot of vodka for the adults.

Caramelized onion and garlic flatbread

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 store-bought pizza crust
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 ounces goat cheese
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella

Yield: 1 pizza (about 8 servings)

Directions:

  1. First, caramelize the onions. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onions and garlic and cook them until they start to turn clear (about 10 minutes).
  2. Cover the skillet and turn the heat to medium-low and cook for another 50 minutes. After an hour, they will be very dark and brown.
  3. Place the pizza crust on a greased cookie sheet and bake according to package directions. Remove the crust from the oven and immediately spread the goat cheese on the crust while it's hot. (This will make it easier to spread.)
  4. Spread the onions on top of the goat cheese and add the mozzarella. These four steps can be done the night before and stored in the fridge.
  5. When you are ready to serve, take them out of the refrigerator so they can come to room temperature and then bake them in the oven at 350 degrees F. until the mozzarella is just melted.

Slow-cooked pork

Ingredients:

  • 1 2 pound pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bottle barbecue sauce
  • Hawaiian rolls

Yield: 16-24 sandwiches

Directions:

  1. Cover the pork shoulder liberally with salt and pepper.  Then, using your knife, make four slits long enough to stuff a clove of garlic into each one.  Stuff the garlic in the slits.
  2. About eight hours before the party starts, put the pork in a slow cooker with the barbecue sauce.  Set the heat to low (or eight hours.)
  3. Serve with Hawaiian rolls (it will make at least 36 sandwiches.)

Baked apples

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 12 apples (Fuji or Honeycrisp are best), peeled and cored
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon

Yield: 12 servings

Directions:

  1. Take one stick of butter and use part of it to grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Set aside the rest of the butter.
  2. Arrange the apples in the baking dish so that the holes from the cores are up and stuff each hole with a tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon over the apples.
  3. About 90 minutes before you want to serve dessert, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and bake the apples until soft. Serve with ice cream.

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