I love a good gathering, whether it is for holidays or no reason at all, and I seem to have a special place in my heart for appetizers….I think you can do so much more than the usual chips and dip….so here are some yummy bites that I have come to love and some new ones that I just tried and were a pretty big hit!
SWEET AND SAVORY BACON WRAPPED BREADSTICKS
Dear Paula Deen…..wow. So I just made this for the first time a couple weeks ago and realized I may need to ask the deli counter for “thin sliced bacon” next time, or just let them cook for a bit longer; but DANG! I got this recipe from her 10th Anniversary Special Christmas with Paula Deen Magazine. Here’s what you need:
- 1 – 16 oz package of think sliced bacon, sliced crosswise
- 1 – 3 ounce box of thin breadsticks – I used Alessi Thin Breadsticks which is what she recommended
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; place wire rack on foil. Gently wrap one piece of bacon around each breadstick. In a shallow dish, stir together brown sugar, rosemary, salt and red pepper. Gently roll each breadstick in sugar mixurte, place in single layer on prepared rack. Bake until bacon is crisp, about 30 minutes (my bacon was too thick so I think it could have went for 40). Let cool completely before serving. (photo below is a copy of the one in Paula Deen’s 10th Anniversary Special Christmas with Paula Deen, page 47)
SOUTHWESTERN TWICE BAKED POTATO BITES
These little numbers are so delish, I plan to do this on a bigger scale, to actually serve with our Holiday Prime Rib Dinner! Everyone in my house and the house I took them to gobbled them up looking for more! Make sure you have some time because there is some work involved here; but you could make them the night before, and then just bake to warm through right before your gathering. Again, these are from Paula Deen’s 10th Anniversary Special Christmas with Paula Deen found on page 46. (Photo below is them straight out of my oven) Here’s what you need:
- 1 1/2 pounds small yellow potatoes halved crosswise
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1/2 (3 1/2 ounce) package smoked chorizo, finely chopped (look in your deli section…may be near the salami)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 450. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Trim a small slice off end of potato so they stand upright. Place on prepared pan, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Bake until potateos are tender, 25-30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop our potato pulp. leaving a 1/8″ thick shell. In a medium bowl, mash together potato pulp, sour cream, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Stir in chorizo and cilantro. Spoon mixture into potato shells, return potatoes to pan. Bake until lightly browned and heated through, about 15-20 minutes. SO GOOOOOOOD!!!!
CAPRESE SALAD ON A TOOTHPICK
This is so so so so easy; but a hit anytime I bring it out. Get yourself some:
- Boccoccini / fresh mozzarella…not the pearl size, those are a bit too small; but next size up.
- A bundle of fresh basil
- One package of cherry tomatoes
- Bottle of Balsamic Vinegar GLAZE from your grocery store, should be near the olive oils in a squeeze bottle
Tear the prosciutto into smaller pieces so you can fold it in half and put it on the toothpick; but still be bite size. Add to the toothpick as you like. I usually put the fresh mozza first, then the basil, then the prosciutto, then the tomato (I have a few in the house who don’t love tomato so this makes it easy for them to take it off before eating.) Make as many as you can and lay them on the serving platter. Then you want to drizzle the balsamic vinegar glaze across the plate and toothpick creations so each one gets a little bit of the taste of the glaze. Now watch them disappear. (it happens so fast, I had to use a stock photo from a google search!! These ones are missing the prosciutto, so you prefer a meatless version that works too!)
BAKED BRIE WITH BROWN SUGAR, WHISKEY AND PECANS
I got this recipe from my neighbor Michelle back in Airdrie….we had it at her house and I’ve been making it ever since! Here’s what you need:
- One medium sized wheel of Brie
- About 1/2 cup of brown sugar lightly packed
- About 1 tbsp of whisky, just to make the sugar more saucy; but not totally melted in
- how ever many chopped pecans you want
- Bake in an oven safe dish (I use a glass pie plate), at 400 for about 25 minutes. It should be bubbly and melty.
- Grab some crackers or baguette slices and dig in. The brie should be totally melted inside, and the sugar / whisky mixture should almost be like a candy on the outside. Wow…… (again, this is a stock photo; but I assure you, that this is the butteriest, creamiest, gooiest snack, so let it cool for a few minutes before you dive in….my husband may or may not have burnt his mouth once or twice due to being too eager to dive in)
SWEET & TANGY MEATBALLS
These are sooooooooo easy!!! I’m not kidding when I say these are a huge hit and one of those “set it and forget it” crock pot snacks. Get yourself some pre-made frozen Italian meatballs and put them in your crock pot. If you have time, make your own, and freeze them so you can save yourself time on the big day. Add 12 ounces of Heinz Chili Sauce (in the ketchup aisle) and 12 ounces of Welch’s (or your favorite brand) of Grape Jelly. (I personally like to add a bit more than 12 ounces of the Chili Sauce because I like a bit more kick). Put the lid on, and let them cook at low for the day. The sauce will become thick, sticky, sweet and tangy as it mixes with moisture that comes out of the meatballs from being frozen, and you can just set a dish of toothpicks beside then crock pot and let your guests help themselves. YUM. (pretty picture is from a Google Search. This came from Life In The Lofthouse)
So enjoy my friends!! Here’s to your festivities with family and friends sharing good times and good food! And hey, even if it’s just you and your hubby, or you and your little family, go ahead and make one night about appies! That’s what we do in our house….Christmas Eve is a night of appies, giggling, sipping (did you see my post about favorite Holiday Drinks!!) and, well, usually a bunch of toothipicks on our plates when we are done! haha!