“Appy” Holidays!

December 8, 2012

I love the holiday season.  Everyone gathers together bringing tidings of good cheer, and there just seems to be a magical buzz in the air.

Last weekend we hosted a holiday cocktail party, and great fun was had by all!  Cocktail parties keep things pretty light, and allow for more conversations over appetizers.  PLENTY of appetizers.

Here are some of the things in our spread- and yes, many were crockpot friendly… take the help where you can!

Holiday Meatballs
3 ingredients…and a crockpot.  It honestly doesn’t get any easier than this.
1 bottle of Heinz Chili Sauce
1 can of jellied cranberry sauce
1 bag of frozen party meatballs
Mix all together in the crockpot, heat on low for 8 hours….or pretty much as long as you wish.
I like ours with a little extra kick, so I add in some red chili flakes.

Reuben Dip1 package of deli corned beef- chopped
2 blocks of cream cheese
2 cups of shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup of russian dressing
1 cup of sauerkraut, drained…and pressed with towel to remove excess moisture

Toss is all in a crockpot “little dipper” on low for 6-8 hours, stirring now and then.  Serve with party rye!

Sesame Chicken Wonton Cups

Sesame Chicken Wonton Cups3 cups cooked, diced chicken (I use Tyson’s precooked diced chicken- saves on time)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup snap peas, chiffonade
50 wonton wrappers
2 tbsp plum sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1tbsp soy sauce
sesame seeds as garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray.  Press a wonton wrapper into each muffin cup, and spray again with nonstick spray.  I found it worked best to trim the corners off of the wontons so they were more of an octagon.  They stayed more “open” that way for filling.  Bake about 8 minutes until golden brown.

Mix all of your remaining ingredients- the chicken, carrots, snap peas, and sauces. 
Fill each wonton cup with a spoonful of the mix, and garnish with sesame seeds.
Tasty little bites!

Say Cheese!

A Good Cheese Plate
Never underestimate the power of an easy and delicious cheese plate.  We served 4 varieties of cheese, along with a sweet italian salami.  We served it with a variety of crackers and baguettes.  Some special mustards or savory jellies go a long way as well.  Pick out cheeses that YOU love to eat, along with 1 or 2 that you haven’t had or don’t normally buy unless it’s a special occasion.  Being able to recommend a favorite cheese to your guests, or describe the cheeses, opens up conversations. 
For this party, we chose:
                                       A 1 year aged white cheddar
                                       A Stilton with cranberries
                                       A goat cheese rolled in fig and walnut
                                       An apple wood smoked provolone (Our favorite cheese)

Cannelloni Bruschetta- Food Network Version

Cannelloni Bruschetta– I’ll admit it.  Food Network let me down on this one.  It was in their tiny pull out book of easy appetizers, and I thought “SURE! Why not?!”  It did n’t go over well- it wasn’t bad…but it simply could have been made better.  It called for Giardiniera originally, and I found that it was just too many variations in texture. It did not make for a pleasing bite. Here’s how I will change it for the future.

1 can of cannelloni beans, drained, rinsed, and heated in the microwave for about 2 minutes.
1/2 cup roasted  red, orange, and yellow peppers- diced
1/2 cup roasted tomatoes-diced
1 TBSP Italian seasoning- parsley, basil, etc.
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix all together and top garlic brushed crostini’s.

Delicious Blue Cheese-Pecan Spread

Blue Cheese- Pecan stuffed Celery
Holy Moly- I could have eaten these all night.  The picture simply doesn’t do them justice.
1 small tub of marscapone cheese
1 small tub of crumbled blue cheese
1 cup of finely chopped pecans
3 tbsp honey

Mix it all up, and stuff your celery with a spoonful a piece..or two depending on the size of your celery.

We also served nuts, chocolate dipped milanos cookies, and some other pre-made treats, and buffalo chicken dip.  No one ever goes home hungry at our parties.

We had a few signature cocktails, and punch as well.  Maybe I’ll post those recipes next.  They were fairly simple!

Keep it easy on yourself, and realize that you don’t have to make absolutely everything.  The easier you can make it, and the more that can be tossed into a crockpot… the more relaxed you’ll be when your first guests arrive. 

Until next time,
Happy Eating!

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