We're fans of brut champagne for sipping, but had some spumante on hand so decided to make a champagne punch. I'd never used champagne punch, and I knew that I wanted to use sherbet in it but wasn't sure exactly how to go about it, so I found this recipe and used it as a base. It sounded a little too orange for my tastes, though, so I made a punch with two bottles of champagne, orange sherbet, orange juice and cranberry/raspberry juice. I also added some frozen strawberries and raspberries for garnish, but ended up chilling but forgetting the ginger ale! No matter, though, the punch still came out incredibly tasty, and I got compliments on it all night long.
As far as the food, we had debated a few different options - namely, gluten free pigs-in-a-blanket, gluten free sliders, and gluten free mini pizzas - before deciding ultimately on chili. Naturally gluten free, ultimately yummy, and easy enough to start mid-afternoon and let it cook all afternoon and evening. I'd never actually made chili before, but I found this recipe for "Flatlander Chili" that looked really good and easy, so went with it. Of course, this wouldn't be Kat's GF Kitchen if I didn't play with the recipe at least a tiny bit - now a disclaimer, I didn't measure anything at all, really. I doubled the recipe and used four lbs. of ground beef with two cans of red kidney beans - let me tell you, that makes a LOT of chili! Instead of tomato juice I used two or three cans of diced tomatoes (I had some Del Monte tomatoes already seasoned for chili that were very good). I also added about half a cup or so of cornmeal to thicken the chili up a little bit. We served the chili with fixings: sliced jalapenos, Kraft shredded Mexican cheese and Tostitos scoops. I was happy with the way it turned out for the party - though the next time I make this for just us, I'll probably triple the amount of cayenne pepper that I used!
Since it was a pot-luck, we had a lot of other great stuff. Sam made awesome gluten free baked ziti with Lundburg Farms brown rice penne, we had a wonderful salad with fresh strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese, shrimp cocktail, and all sorts of cheeses, dips and spreads.
Finally, the puggle also enjoyed New Years! Our friends brought their dog over as well, so she even had company the entire night! Here she is, in the best picture I could take of her celebrating the new year - she was not a fan of that tiara!
I hope that everyone else had a safe, happy, and fun New Years celebration - now it's on to what my friend Liz calls "Cookie-less January!"