Let the party begin…

12 Dec

Appetizers are those little bits you eat until you lose your appetite.” Anonymous

With the holidays approaching, I like to have emergency appetizer ingredients on-hand…just in case unexpected company arrives or I’ve decided to invite guests on the spur of the moment. Now’s the time to have a couple of 8 oz. packages of cream cheese on hand, along with some interesting jams or preserves. A block of cream cheese can be quickly softened in the microwave (10 seconds on high), placed on a small dish and topped with one of the following:

  • Jalapeno jelly
  • Onion/garlic jam
  • Hot peach or raspberry preserves

Sprinkle with green onions and serve with an assortment of crackers and you’ve got an instant appetizer. You’ll find any of the above toppers in better grocery stores and department/cooking stores alongside the customary jellies and preserves. Check out Rothschild Farms and Stonewall Kitchen brands!

Here are a couple of additional ideas for tried and true appetizers:

Jarlsberg Dip

Simple but delicious; keep warm in a mini slow cooker for serving.

2 cups shredded Jarlsberg cheese

2 cups finely diced onion

2 cups mayonnaise (low-fat works!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients and place into an ovenproof dish. Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with crackers or chunks of bread.

Note: Don’t need that much? Cut it in half.

This one seems putzy but calls for ingredients you usually have on hand and can be thrown together quickly. The finished “puffs” look amazing! Keep a loaf of bread in the freezer for this one. You can even cut the bread rounds, pre-bake them and place them on a cookie sheet and throw them in the freezer; once they’re frozen, pop them into a plastic freezer bag so you’re ready to go – whenever!

Parmesan Puffs

3-ounces cream cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

1½ teaspoons grated onion

⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 loaf thin-sliced bread

In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, onion Parmesan and pepper. (You can do this in advance). Cut 2-inch bread rounds with cookie cutter or small glass and bake on cookie sheet in 300 degree oven for 5 minutes to harden. (This is also a “fix-ahead” step you can do; do not store in plastic bag as that will soften bread; instead place on a plate and cover loosely with waxed paper.

Spread cheese mixture generously on bread rounds. Sprinkle with extra grated Parmesan cheese and a dash of paprika. Broil until puffy and golden on top; Serve hot.

Makes about 30 hors d’oeuvres.

Looking for specific appetizer recipes? Let me hear from you and I’ll have more to share!

Stay tuned this week for some Hanukah crafts. Martha Stewart can’t be the only one having fun with glitter!

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