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January 19, 2018

12/29/2017 10:40:00 AM
Appetizers are a must for a party

Well, the plan is that you won’t be reading the next column of “Food and Reflections” until next year. Did you know the Winter Solstice was on December 20th  when we have a bit more of daylight? Yea!! Who knows what 2018 will bring! I hope you had a joyful Christmas celebration with family and friends. If you are celebrating the New Year coming in, whether hosting or going to a friend’s home, appetizers for the get together are probably on your mind by now. Some guests may offer to bring an appetizer to add to the festive occasion, but check with the hostess as to what you should bring.  A variety of appetizers are a must and I have some suggestions for what you might like to serve. Today’s recipes are “do ahead” recipes, perfect for having foods ready without last minute preparation.


This barbecued meatball recipe is a change from the grape and chili sauce variety.

1 c. of your favorite bbq sauce
1/2 c. cranberry orange sauce (can use bottled cranberry sauce)
1/2 t. each, powdered mustard, ginger and salt
Frozen meatballs 2 pkgs., 16 oz’s each, thawed
2 T. freshly chopped parsley

Mix all ingredients, except meatballs and parsley, in a slow cooker until well blended. Add cold meatballs. Cover and cook on low setting 2-3 hours or until thoroughly heated. Stir in parsley, stirring gently now and then. Serve meatballs with cocktail forks or toothpicks.  Meatballs will hold on low setting for 2 hours; stirring occasionally. Makes 15-20 servings. Note: You can make the  whole recipe 1-2 days ahead of time, refrigerating crock pot and all.


2 – 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, cubes
3 – 5 oz. each, containers, process cheddar cheese spread
1/2 c. milk
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. smoked whole almonds, coarsely chopped, divided
4 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
Assorted raw veggies or breadsticks

Heat cream cheese, cheese spread, milk and garlic in 2-qt. saucepan over low to medium heat, stirring often, until cheese is melted and smooth. Stir in onions and 1/4 c. almonds. To make ahead of time, refrigerate mixture up to 24 hours, without bacon and remaining 1/4 c. almonds.  To serve warm, turn into microwaveable  bowl, heating on low heat just until warm. When ready to serve, sprinkle with bacon and remaining 1/4 c. almonds. Serve  with veggies or breadsticks. Makes 32 servings (2 T. dip each). Dip mixture can be made up to 24 hours ahead.


4  spinach or plain flour tortillas (8-10 inches in diameter)
1/2 c. bean dip
1/2 c. nacho cheese dip
3-4 T. thinly sliced green onions or chopped cilantro

Spread each tortilla with about 2 T. bean dip and 2 T. cheese dip. Sprinkle with onions or cilantro. Tightly roll up tortillas; wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours. To serve, cut off ends from each roll and discard (or eat them!). Cut rolls into 1/2 to 3/4 – inch slices just before serving Pierce each pinewheel with a frilly or plain toothpick if you wish.  Makes about 30-36 appetizers. (1 pinwheel each).  Note: If you wish, use 2 colors of tortillas to make pinwheels, then arrange on platter.


4 slices (1/2-inch thick) unpeeled English or regular cucumber, cut in crosswise in  half  (using a slim cucumber)
8 ounces Havarti cheese, cut into 3/4 –inch cubes (about 32 cubes)
1/2 c. balsamic vinaigrette
16 large (not jumbo) ripe black olives or Kalalmata olives
16 red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes or yellow pear tomatoes

Combine cucumber, cheese and vinaigrette in shallow dish.  Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to marinate. Thread 1 cucumber piece, 1 olive, 2 cheese cubes and 1 tomato on each of 16 small cocktail skewers. Refrigerate until ready to use. Note:  The kabobs can be made up to 4 hours ahead of time. Place carefully, not touching, in a plastic container and cover tightly; refrigerate. When ready to serve, place on serving plate and garnish with rosemary sprigs to resemble a wreath. Makes 16 kabobs. Note: To substitute for Havarti, try Gouda, Cheddar, Colby or Mozzarella.

Thought for the Day:    Have a safe and happy celebration of the New Year to come.  Resolution? Go for it and try to keep it. Don’t go wild with something you can’t follow through with…..like a resolution to make a million dollars in 2018!! 

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