December is a perfect time to clear out the kitchen. Raid the pantry to make these snacks, then invite friends over for a cooking-tool swap.

By Melissa Rubel Jacobson and Kristin Donnelly
Updated March 31, 2015

Quick Recipes

Chunky Chickpea Dip

In a food processor, puree chickpeas with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and a pinch each of black and cayenne pepper. Add more chickpeas, parsley and sliced scallion; pulse until chunky. Serve with pita chips.

Bruschetta and Crostini Recipes

Porcini Spread for Toast

Soak dried porcini mushrooms until soft; drain. In a food processor, pulse the porcini with sautéed shallots and olive oil. Serve on toast. You can also use up dried mushrooms (and odds and ends of pasta) in a cheesy baked pasta recipe, too.

More Ideas for Mushrooms

Figs in a Blanket

Stuff dried Black Mission figs with marcona almonds or other roasted nuts and wrap with thin slices of prosciutto. Skewer with toothpicks.

Fast Hors d’Oeuvres

Ice Cream with Raspberry Jam Sauce

Gently heat seedless raspberry jam with orange juice. Stir in white Lillet and spoon over vanilla ice cream.

More Ice Cream Recipes

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In this healthier version of the classic Mexican breakfast, mashed white beans replace the traditional refried beans. Beans are a good source of glucose and provide the brain with a steady source of energy.

Canned Beans

20 Holiday Parties:

  1. Impromptu 1-Hour Party
  2. Hanukkah
  3. Aprés-Ski Party
  4. Pantry Purge
  5. Cookbook Party
  6. Cheese Tasting
  7. Feast of the Seven Fishes
  8. Open House
  9. Fight Cancer with Cookies
  10. Gumbo Party
  11. Asian Tea Party
  12. Soup Kitchen Party
  13. White-Wine Tasting
  14. Antipasto Party
  15. Iron Chef Potluck
  16. Puff Pastry Prep Party
  17. Winter Solstice
  18. DIY Truffles
  19. Wrap Party
  20. Retro Cocktail Party