Here are some inexpensive recipes to serve at your easy party.


1 1/2 cups dry white wine,

such as pinot grigio

2 large cloves garlic, minced

3 cups shredded fontina cheese

1 cup shredded Asiago

or Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Use any or all of these as dippers: brown cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved; small, cooked artichoke hearts, halved; red or gold cherry tomatoes; bread sticks, broken into bite-size pieces

In a fondue pot, over medium heat, heat the wine and garlic until bubbles form. Toss the cheeses lightly with the cornstarch until evenly coated. Gradually add the cheeses to the pot, a handful at a time, stirring each time until the cheeses are completely melted. Serve with bowls of vegetables and bread sticks to dip into the sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: "Fondue" by Lou Seibert Pappas


6 ounces milk chocolate

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

cup plus 2 tablespoons


2 teaspoons instant espresso


1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Use any or all of these as dippers: cinnamon coffeecake, marshmallows, doughnuts or gingerbread, cut into 1-inch cubes; fruitcake, sliced thinly.

Cut the chocolates into half-inch pieces. In a fondue pot, over low heat, combine the chocolates, half-and-half, espresso powder and cinnamon. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Keep warm over low heat.

Arrange the dippers on a serving platter and set it next to the fondue pot. Spear the morsels with fondue forks and swirl them in the warm sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: "Fondue" by Lou Seibert Pappas


cup chopped pecans

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place chopped pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Process blue cheese and butter in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds or until creamy, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper; pulse 9 to 10 times or until the mixture is crumbly. Add toasted pecans; pulse 9 to 10 times or until mixture forms moist clumps.

Transfer mixture onto plastic wrap on a flat surface, and gather dough into a ball shape; flatten into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 1 hour or until firm.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Pat or roll to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 1 1/2-inch and 2-inch holiday-shaped cutters. Place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 325 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes or until light golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack; cool 15 minutes. Makes about 40.

Source: Sheri Castle, Southern Living