I have always loved this time of year; getting together with friends, sharing some holiday cheer! Most of the time these get togethers’ are planned; but every now and then they just “come up” or people just “show up” at your house
I came up with a list of items to always have on hand this time of year; just in case I was in that situation. Keep in mind; I now live just a couple of blocks from the grocery store; when I lived in Minnesota it was a little further and not as convenient!
Let me share a few recipes that are simple, easy and your guests will think you went through a lot of work to prepare them!
First of all, go to the store and get your “must have” items ~ this should get you started. I’m such a food nut that I sometimes wonder if my neighbors could just shop at my house…
Shredded cheese (cheddar, swiss, mozzarella)
A wheel of Brie (cheapest is fine)
A box or 2 of Pepperidge Farm Frozen puff pastry
A bag of frozen shrimp – for shrimp cocktail
Little Smokies or cocktail hot dogs
Cocktail Sauce & Chili sauce
Can of snow crab meat
A box of mini filo dough shells
Green and Black Olives
1- 8oz. package of cream cheese – set it out before you hop in the shower, should be good to go when you get out!
3/4 bottle of chili sauce
1 can of lump snow crab meat
Spread the softened cream cheese on a platter. Pour chili sauce over cream cheese. Sprinkle with garlic salt (generous). Drain well and shred the crab meat on top. Sprinkle with Parsley flakes. Serve with crackers.
HAM & SWISS TARTLETS
2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1 cup chopped ham – I just use the smoked or honey ham from the deli
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup sour cream
salt & pepper to taste
24 of those wonderful premade mini filo dough shells
Mix all ingredients and fill shells. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
TO DIE FOR TOMATO BASIL DIP – this recipe calls for fresh basil. I realize that we usually don’t have this on hand; but fresh herbs are the way to go. I will post a link on how to keep those fresh herbs “fresh”.
1 – 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 T. chopped fresh basil*
1 medium tomato seeded and chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced black olives
Mix cream cheese, garlic powder and 1/2 the basil until well blended. Spread into a 9 inch pie plate, top with tomatoes, cheese, olives and remaining basil. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with crostini, hard breadsticks or a good cracker.
*Tip on chopping basil ~ pile up you leaves that you need and roll them up like a cigar, then slice thin Works great!
EASY STUFFED MUSHROOMS
20-30 large mushrooms (stemmed & hollowed out)
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
3 green onions – finely chopped
8oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine cream cheese, garlic salt & green onions. Fill mushroom caps with cheese mixture. Center on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 10 min. or until cheese is melted.
SPICY SHRIMP COCKTAIL
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup water
2 T. Old Bay seasoning
1# large shrimp (peeled & deveined)
Bring the beer, water and Old Bay to a boil; add shrimp. Cover to steam the shrimp for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp are pink. Refrigerate until ready to serve -
MINI PIGS IN A BLANKET
1 pkg. crescent rolls
1 pkg. little smokies or cocktail hot dogs
canned Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375
Unroll but leave intact 2 triangles of crescent rolls
Pinch seam together and cut lengthwise into 5 strips and then cross wise to make 10 strips (pizza cutter works great)
Roll each strip around smokie and place on a baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray
Sprinkle each pig with parmesan and garlic salt
Bake according to crescent roll package instructions
Serve with mustard, ketchup and BBQ sauce
EASY BAKED BRIE WITH JAM
1- sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, slighly beated
1- 8oz. wheel of firm Brie cheese
1/4 cup apricot jam
Roll puff pastry into a 12 inch square – using a 9 inch round pie plate trim pastry into a circle. Brush the edges with egg. Place Brie in the center of pastry circle and wrap in pastry, leaving a “well” in the center (for the jam). Refrigerate the Brie and pastry for 30 minutes. Then bake on a parchment papered baking sheet at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove cheese from pan and spoon jam into middle. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers & fruit.
SAVORY PALMIERS – Taken from Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics
I made these for the first time last year. They were really simple – some of you maybe thinking the ingredients are a little “out of the box”..I did too at one point; but I guarantee you will not be disappointed! If you bring them to a party, be prepare, you will be asked for the recipe!
1 pkg. frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry – thawed
1/4 cup prepared pesto (found in the deli dept at most grocery stores)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil – drained ( I keep a jar of these that I bought at Costco in the fridge all the time, they are great on salad, pizza, or if you just mix it with cream cheese and spread on crackers – there is another appetizer idea )
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (to toast pine nuts, place them in a dry saute pan and cook over low heat, tossing often, for about 5 minutes.
Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of the puff pastry. Roll the pstry lightly with a rolling pin until it’s 91/2 x 11 1/2 inches. Spread the sheet with half the pesto then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the tomatoes and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt.
Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again toward the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover both rolls with plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the prepared rolls of pastry into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them faceup 2 inches apart on parchment lined sheet pans. Bake 12-14 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm.
SAUSAGE CHEESE BALLS
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1# seasoned pork or chicken sausage
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan.
Mix all ingredients and shape into 1 inch balls ( I use a mini cookie scoop)
Bake 20-25 minutes or until brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve on fancy picks with a green olive – dip in sweet and sour sauce.
WARM SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP
2 cloves garlic – minced
2 Tbls. minced onion OR 1 Tbls. dried minced onion
1/4 cup real butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup fresh-grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sour cream
(2) 10 oz. boxes frozen chopped spinach – thawed, squeezed dry
12 oz. jar artichoke hearts – drained, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
|-In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté garlic and onion in butter until golden, about 3 – 5 minutes.-Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.-Slowly whisk in cream and broth and continue cooking until boiling.
-Once boiling, stir in Romano, lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt; stir until cheese has melted; remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
-Stir sour cream into pan, then fold in dry spinach and artichoke hearts.
-Fold the mixture into a microwave-safe serving dish, or into several serving-size dishes.
-Sprinkle cheddar evenly over top(s).
-At this point, the dip can be refrigerated until ready to serve, if desired.
-You can either microwave this dip or I like to put it in a mini crockpot on low.
Notes: Serve with tortilla chips for dipping and sour cream and salsa.
Well friends, I hope some of these recipes help you this weekend! Go out and spread some Holiday Cheer!