Thursday, December 12, 2013

DIY Christmas Appetizers

HOHOHO! oH I just love this time of year! Everyone is full of cheer and the house smells of pine needles from the Christmas tree! The streets are lined with lights and the air is brisk with the mild smell of smoke bellowing from the chimneys.
  If you're like me and  have a Christmas party every year, then you're always looking for the perfect food for that party. Most of the time, I serve an array of appetizers at the party rather then a large meal that nobody wants to eat since they are drinking, some a little, some ALOT :0)
  Here are some of the choices that I am preparing this year, hope they help you also!

Some selections for my party table are:

Crispy Potato, Bacon and Clam Flatbread



  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered dry milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

    • 1/2 teaspoon salt


    • 3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed
    • One 6-ounce piece of bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon coarsely chopped thyme
      • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
      • 1 large Yukon Gold potato, sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick
      • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

        MAKE THE FLATBREAD: In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the yeast and sugar into the water until dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Mix in the powdered milk and the 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Add the flour to the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Replace the paddle with the bread hook. Knead the dough at medium speed until elastic but still sticky, 10 minutes. Scrape the dough into an oiled bowl and brush the top with oil. Cover with plastic and let stand in a cool place until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 hours.
        Punch down the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, shape it into a ball and transfer to an 11-by-16-inch baking sheet. Brush the top with oil, cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes. Using lightly oiled fingers, press the dough out to the edge of the baking sheet. Brush lightly with oil, cover with the damp towel and let stand until puffed, 1 1/2 hours.
        MAKE THE TOPPING: In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the clams, cover and cook over moderately high heat until they open, 5 to 8 minutes; discard any that don't open. Remove the clams from the shells and put in a bowl.
        Set a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven and preheat to 500°. Wipe out the skillet, add the bacon and cook over moderately high heat until browned; using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the thyme, remove from the heat and stir in the bacon. Season with salt and pepper.
        In a medium skillet, cook the potatoes in the olive oil over moderately low heat until just tender, 6 minutes.
        Stretch the dough out to the corners of the baking sheet. Lightly brush with oil from the potatoes. Spread the onion mixture over the dough and top with the clams. Arrange the potato slices on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake the flatbread on the heated pizza stone for 12 minutes, until the crust is golden. Sprinkle with parsley, cut into triangles and serve.

    Three-Cheese Mini Macs

    • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
    • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)
    • 4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
      1 large egg yolk
    • 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

      1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.

        Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.

        Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top.

        Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.

        Buffet Meatballs Recipe

        • 1 cup grape juice
        • 1 cup apple jelly
        • 1 cup ketchup
        • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
        • 1 package (64 ounces) frozen fully cooked Italian meatballs
        • In a small saucepan, combine the juice, jelly, ketchup and tomato sauce. Cook and stir over medium heat until jelly is melted.
        • Place meatballs in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Pour sauce over the top and gently stir to coat. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through. Yield:about 10-1/2 dozen.


Pinecone Cheese Spread

 A creamy mix of five cheeses plus Dijon mustard and 
almond slices will have guests pining for more.

Pinecone Cheese Spread recipe

pkg.  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

pkg.  (7 oz.) KRAFT Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese

Tbsp.  GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard

Tbsp.  canned chopped green chiles

cup  PLANTERS Sliced Almonds, toasted

 RITZ Crackers

PROCESS first 3 ingredients in food processor until blended. Stir in chiles.
SHAPE into 4-inch oval on sheet of waxed paper to resemble pinecone. Insert nuts in rows to completely cover cream cheese mixture. Transfer to serving plate.
REFRIGERATE 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator 15 min. before serving. Let stand at room temperature to soften slightly. Serve with crackers.

Antipasto Wreath

Pepperoni and olives folded into two kinds of cheese: yum. Dress them up with roasted peppers and fresh basil and you have a festive app that's holiday party-ready

Antipasto Wreath recipe

pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

cup  chopped OSCAR MAYER Pepperoni

cup  KRAFT 100% Grated Three Cheese Blend

cup  chopped black olives

Tbsp.  chopped fresh basil

Tbsp.  chopped roasted red peppers, divided

Tbsp.  chopped fresh parsley

 Fresh basil leaves

 RITZ Crackers

MIX first 5 ingredients and 2 Tbsp. peppers until well blended. Shape into 16-inch log; wrap in plastic wrap.
REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm enough to handle. Form into wreath shape on large plate.
TOP with remaining peppers and parsley. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve with crackers.

Shrimp with Chipotle-Lime Dipping Sauce

Shrimp with Chipotle-Lime Dipping Sauce recipe

cup  BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Zesty Blends Chipotle Sour Cream

Tbsp.  honey

Tbsp.  lime juice

 frozen cooked cleaned with tails left on medium shrimp (about 1 lb.), thawed

MIX all ingredients except shrimp until well blended.
SPOON 2 Tbsp. sour cream mixture into each of 8 shot glasses.
HANG shrimp on edges of glasses.

Onion and Brie Palmiers

Onion Brie Appetizers

Store-bought puff pastry makes quick work of these fancy-sounding appetizers. Simply wrap the pastry around caramelized onions and Brie and bake until they're golden and sizzling. Get the recipe at Taste of Home »

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