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By Sara Moulton The Associated Press

Serve Spanish-style crispy potatoes for New Year’s party

The classic New Year’s libation is champagne, but what to eat is a matter of broader choice. This year why not make it a tapas party a feast of various little bites? And, if indeed that’s how you choose to roll, one of those dishes should be these crispy baked potatoes with a garlicky red pepper mayo sauce.

Serve petite beef filet for a holiday dinner

Want to serve a fancy roast for Christmas dinner without breaking the bank? Try a petite beef filet. Cut from the shoulder, long and thin, and weighing between 8-10 ounces, the petite filet looks like a mini tenderloin of beef one of the priciest and most popular of roasts. But it’s much less expensive and more flavourful than the tenderloin. And tender, too.

KitchenWise: Ants in a Tree is a crowd-pleaser

”Ants in a Tree” is the English translation of the Chinese name for this classic recipe. Built of spicy pork, bean thread noodles (aka cellophane noodles) and scallions, it earned its name because it’s not so far-fetched for the finished dish to call that image to mind ‚Äî the noodles look like tree branches, the scallions like tree leaves and the little bits of ground pork like ants.

Apricot Almond Coffee Cake is a special treat for holidays

If you’re expecting overnight guests during the holiday season, you might want to stock up on the ingredients for this recipe. Doing so will allow you to throw together a knockout coffee cake for breakfast, a special treat that features a cream biscuit dough packed with intensely flavoured dried apricots, layered with almond paste and glazed with apricot jam.

Basmati rice makes Greek Style Rice Pilaf special

With the exception of ooey-gooey potato concoctions, side dishes rarely get any respect. Most of us devote our love and attention to the protein in the centre of the plate and then throw together some kind of vegetable and/or starch as an afterthought. Here, however, is a pilaf fully capable of stealing the limelight from the usual star of the show.

Serve Green Salad with Pear Dressing

Digging into the Thanksgiving Day feast is a joy, but preparing it takes work. This Green Salad with Pear Dressing is a simple but elegant first course, and it will take some of the stress out of the gig. And bonus! it’s lighter than the usual holiday recipe. How did we do it? By swapping out some of the oil in favour of a very flavourful pear puree.