Make ahead appetizers - suggestions?

katkatfNovember 16, 2011

DH and I are having our almost-annual Holiday Open House party in a few weeks. We usually have 50-60 people that come for minutes or hours during the afternoon, and I love offering a generous spread of fun and interesting appetizers, mostly finger foods. I have some T&T things I make every time, but want to bring in some new items. I've always done phyllo triangles with roquefort/walnuts and spinach/feta before, but want to try some new things. I am especially looking for things that can be made ahead (as in weeks or at least days) and frozen or otherwise stored, then either just need reheating or baking during the party. I also have 2 additional crockpots that can be used to rewarm/cook/keep warm.

Things already on the menu:

Baked brie in puff pastry with mango chutney

Ham balls (kept in crockpot) with cherry sauce

Hot mulled cider

Proscuitto pinwheels (made with puff pastry)

Various cookies

Crudite with dips

The key is I don't want to be stressed with too many things I need to do the day of the party other than plating/presenting or popping things in and out of the oven.

I'd be especially delighted to get suggestions for recipes of things I can prepare one or more days ahead in these general categories:

- Chicken wings/sate/skewers

- Mini quiches/tarts (especially any I could make soon and freeze)

- Mini sandwiches

- Something with crab (I'm in No. CA, and it's Dungeness crab season)

- Other fabulous finger food that doesn't need a lot of time the day of the party

While I don't need to do this really cheaply, I also can't afford to offer a large platter of shrimp or lobster. :)



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These can be made the day before the party. Use toothpicks for serving & a little dish nearby for used picks.

Marinated Cheese Cubes

2 lbs. cheese cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Garnish: flat-leaf parsley sprigs or fresh rosemary stems

Whisk the spices/herbs into the olive oil & pour over the cheese cubes. Toss until the cheese cubes are all coated. Cover & refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mini-meatballs in sauce (Swedish, BBQ + raspberry preserves, mixture ketchup & chili sauce, etc.) again served with toothpicks are always well received, can be made a couple weeks in advance, & freeze/reheat very well. If there will be a lot of little ones...there's a mess potential.

Here's a way to use crab inexpensively since a little goes a long ways & it looks holiday festive. You could make the filling early in the day & then just pop them in the oven when needed.

Crab & Cranberry Mini-Cups

1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce - homemade is best (or purchased)
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 Cup Crab Meat, minced
2 Tablespoons Green Onion, white and green parts, sliced
15 Individual Mini-Phyllo Shells, thawed

Preheat oven to 375�F.

Place cranberry sauce in a small mixing bowl; beat with a fork or wire whisk until smooth.

Combine cream cheese, crab meat and green onion in a small mixing bowl.

Fill each shell with about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture. Top with 1/2 teaspoon cranberry sauce.

Bake for 10 minutes or until heated through.

Makes 15 individual servings.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 3:11PM
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Well I am all about cheese.....and would love to see you offer a big board, set nicely on grape leaves perhaps of an assortment of cheeses.
Another do ahead thing I have offered is a3 or 4 pound beef filet, cooked medium rare and refrigerated, day of thinly slice and serve along side some nice tiny breads ior rolls with an assortment of sauces...horseradish comes to mind aas well as an aoli. Or you could roll slices onto tooth pick....but that's labor.\
Also see the savory cookie thread here....lots of good make aheads there.
Linda c

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 3:49PM
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Recipes...posted while waiting for the bread to rise...

Pomegranate-Walnut dip
1 cup walnuts, toasted & finely chopped (toast 350� 5 minutes)
2 small red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
3 T lemon juice
� cup bread crumbs (I use more to thicken, but it does thicken a bit anyway)
� cup pomegranate molasses
2 T sugar
1 T cumin seeds, warmed a bit and ground
2 � t kosher salt
1 t cayenne
� extra-virgin olive oil
� cup pomegranate seeds (do underwater in a bowl to prevent staining hands)
mint or parsley garnish
endive leaves
pita toasts
Grind the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add the peppers, onion, and lemon juice. Pulse on and off until finely chopped.
Add breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, sugar, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Mix well in the processor; add the olive oil until well mixed. Place in a serving dish. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint or parsley. Serve with endive leaves garnished with more pomegranate seeds and pita chips.

These can be baked, frozen and thawed/reheated just before serving.
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups flour
4 eggs
3/4 cup finely chopped pepperoni (3 oz.)
3/4 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (3 oz.)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 450 �. Grease 2 large baking sheets; set aside. In a large saucepan combine water and shortening. Bring to boil. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Stir in pepperoni, cheese, parsley, garlic powder and pepper.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm. (room temp is fine) Makes 48

And I think these can be frozen too....maybe ruthanna will chime in
2 packages frozen chopped spinach, cooked and drained
1 large onion, chopped fine
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing mix
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl; chill 1/2 hour.
Roll spinach mixture into small balls (rounded teaspoons or tablespoons). At this point, you can freeze the unbaked balls on cookie sheets, then transfer to plastic freezer bags and bake when needed.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Bake balls for 15 minutes.
Note: I like to serve these with a dip of mayonnaise or sour cream mixed with mustard and some dill.
Makes about 4 dozen.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:13PM
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When elery and I did the "appetizer reception for 600" for his son Ben's wedding, I made dozens of little quiches and froze them. i found they freeze best irf you just make the quiche in little mini muffin cups without crust, bake first and then freeze. I liked the spinach and cheese option but the italian sausage and Asiago combo proved the most popular.

I really like the savory cheesecake topped with Habanero Gold Jelly but any hot pepper jely will do and the cheesecake can be made ahead and refrigerated, then topped with the jelly just before serving. The cheesecake recipe is, I think, KatieC's.

8 ounces cream cheese
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
8 ounces jalapeno jelly

Mix first four ingredients with half of the jelly. Pour mixture into greased 6 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 for 335 minutes. Cool completely and remove from pan, heat remaining jelly and pour over top of cheesecake. Serve with crackers.

Note: I made a double batch and baked it in a round cake pan with a "releaser" bar that spins around the bottom to prevent sticking. I just dumped it out and spread the jelly on the bottom, no one notices because it�s covered with jelly. I used my homemade Habanero Gold instead of the jalapeno jelly.

I think this could be topped with something else if you like, maybe a bruschetta or an olive tapenade.

Cheese thumbprints are a favorite here too, and can be made a couple of days in advance. The recipe is actually from Rick Rodgers, via Readinglady:

Savory Cheddar and Jalape�o Jelly Cookies from Rick Rodgers

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen

8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup jalapeno jelly, or sub apple butter or chutney

Place cheese and butter in a food processor (could be creamed by hand or mixer); add flour and process until the mixture forms a soft dough. Gather up the dough and divide into two flat disks. Wrap in wax paper and freeze until chilled, about 45 minutes.

Position two racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 400�. Line two baking sheets with parchment or use nonstick sheets.

Using 1 teaspoon dough for each, roll the dough into small balls and place 1 inch apart on the sheets. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or 1/2-inch-thick dowel, poke an indentation in each cookie. Place the jelly in a small plastic bag and force it down into one corner. Snip off the corner of the bag to make a small hole. Pipe the jelly into the indentations.

Return to the oven and bake, switching the positions of the sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking, until the tops are very lightly browned, about 10 minutes. (Cookies will continue to crisp as they cool.) Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Can be baked up to two days ahead. Store at room temperature in an airtight container and separate layers with wax paper.

finally, one of my favorite appetizers is chous pastry, filled with chicken salad or whatever suits me. My family likes the "Reuben" combination with rye puffs:

Rye Party Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye flour
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
Caraway seeds

Corned Beef Filling
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 (2 1/2 ounce) packages thinly sliced
cooked corned beef, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons diced onion
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
10 small stuffed olives, chopped

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring water and butter to a boil. Add flours, parsley, garlic powder and salt all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at time. Beat until smooth. Drop batter by rounded teaspoons 2-in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with caraway. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until golden.

Remove to wire racks. Immediately cut a slit in each puff to allow steam to escape; cool. In a mixing bowl, combine the first eight filling ingredients; mix well. Stir in olives. Split puffs; add filling. Refrigerate.
Yield: 4 1/2 dozen.

NOTE:The corned beef filling makes enough to fill two batches of the dough.

have fun, your food sounds really good!


    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 4:17PM
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Toasted Crab Appetizers
* l stick butter or margarine
* 1/2 t garlic powder
* 1 5-6 oz. jar Old English Cheese Spread
* 6-8 oz crabmeat
* 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
* 6 English muffins

Soften the butter to room temperature while preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the cheese spread into the butter and stir in the mayonnaise. Add garlic powder and stir until all is completely blended - no lumps. Gently stir in crabmeat. Slice the muffins in half and divide the crab mixture on the 12 halves. Cut each half into quarters and place them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and the edges are brown. Serve at once. The spread can be made in advance and refrigerated for a couple of days. These may also be frozen before cooking for later use. Make the muffins up and cut into quarters. Freeze them on cookie sheets, and then place them in the freezer in zip-loc bags for storage. They will keep a month or two without losing much flavor.

Sausage Crescent Nuggets
1 lb. well seasoned sausage - I like Jimmy Dean brand
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 pkg. crescent roll dough
1 egg or just the white
poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350. In skillet, brown sausage, drain well. While sausage is still warm, add cream cheese and stir until melted and creamy. Cool.
Separate dough into two rectangles. Pinch perforations to seal the dough. Form a log of the sausage/cream cheese mixture lengthwise down the center of each rectangle of dough. Fold sides of dough over, covering the sausage log. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, seam side down. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake 20 minutes at 350 until golden brown. Cool. Slice into 1/2" slices.
These can be baked, frozen, thawed, and warmed before serving.
You can sub 2 cans drained chopped mushrooms for the sausage. Add a little dried marjoram, thyme or Italian herb seasoning. Or try adding some jalapenos!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 5:03PM
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I make these all the time. The recipe doubles, triples, whatever. In the interests of a lower-fat, lower cholesterol version I use a reduced amount of cheese (original called for 2 cups of cheese).

It freezes nicely and I don't bother reheating, as it's fine at room temp. Basically a crustless quiche - I've also made a spicy version with pepper jack, which got great reviews, but only from those who like their chiles, LOL!

Artichoke Nibbles
This popular appetizer is a favorite at Sunset magazine

2 jars (about 6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
4 large eggs
1/4 cup fine dried bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon each pepper, dried oregano, and liquid hot pepper seasoning
1 cup (about 4 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced parsley

Drain marinade from 1 jar of artichokes into a small frying pan. Drain remaining jar; reserve marinade for other uses. Chop all artichokes; set aside. Over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in pan, stirring often, until onion is soft when pressed, about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, beat eggs to blend. Stir in crumbs, salt, pepper, oregano, hot pepper seasoning, cheese, parsley, artichokes, and onion mixture. Pour into a greased 7- by 11-inch baking pan.

Bake in a 325 degree oven until custard feels set when lightly touched, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, then cut into 1-inch squares. Serve warm or at room temperature; or cover and refrigerate to serve cold.

To reheat, bake, uncovered, in a 325 degree oven until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 30 nice-sized squares.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 5:08PM
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lindac ~ your Italian Pepperoni Cheese Puff calls for *shortening* ~ silly question, but does that mean margarine?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 7:01PM
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Shortening means butter, margerine, lard, crisco, or coconut butter....I use either butter or crisco in that recipe.
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 11:57PM
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I see you have a fleet of crock pots.....might be fun to do an assortment of meatballs.....your bam halls in cherry sauce and Swedish meatballs in a cream sauce and Mamma's Italian meatballs in a marinara sauce.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 12:01AM
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Here's my heritage showing through. :-) This not a heart healthy dish but it's not meant to be eaten by the pound!

Savory Creton

2 lbs. fresh ground pork
5 oz. salt pork, minced very fine
1 large shallot, minced fine
1 small yellow onion, minced fine
6 large garlic cloves, microwaved 30 seconds, peeled then minced fine
2 tbs. dry vermouth
1/4-1/2 tsp. ground sage
1 tsp. herb de provence, rubbed in your hand until very fine
1 bay leaf
2 cups of water
1/2 cup very strong chicken stock with fat or add 1 tsp butter

In stock pot, slowly brown salt pork until crisp. Remove from pot, cool and mince fine. Add onions, garlic, and shallot to pot and saute slowly until just cooked. Add sage and herb de provence and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground pork to pot, breaking up with your hands as you add it to the pot. Add vermouth, water, bay leaf and chicken stock, stirring to gently break up pork. Bring to a boil reduce heat to a simmer add crisp salt pork. Simmer about 45 minute then remove bay leaf, continue simmering until all the water is gone.

Pack the meat mixture tightly in a loaf pan (I use a spatual to press it down). Do not drain off the fat. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

To unmold on to platter, dip the loaf pan in hot water for 2 minutes, do not submerged. Remove plastic wrap, place a platter upside down on top of loaf plan. Holding the platter and loaf pan together, flip over so the Creton falls on to the platter.

Serve with French bread slices, Dijon-naise (mix Dijon mustard with a little mayonnaise) and sweet gherkins and cornichons.

May be prepared 1-2 days ahead or frozen for later use. I usually freeze it in the loaf pan.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 8:44AM
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Hmm, I THOUGHT I posted a follow up message yesterday, but I don't seen it here in the thread. I apologize if this is a duplicate....

Yummm, so many wonderful sounding options; how will I choose? I've also been going through all my cookbooks and have a pile set aside with little slips of paper bookmarks sticking out of them. I've been non-stop hungry the last few days. :)

LindaC - you made me giggle with the "fleet" of crock pots comment. :) I had thought more meatballs might be too repetitive, but maybe if I make them really different as you suggested.....

Has anyone made mini quiches (I have some of those mini muffin tins) and frozen them successfully? Then just pop 'em in the oven like the frozen ones you can buy in the store? I like the idea of little quiches, but I'm trying to make everything "from scratch" so don't want to buy them.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Annie - couple of questions.
Jalapeno Cheesecake - when you double that, what size cake pan are you using? And are you serving this cold? How far ahead can you make this?

The Rye Party Puffs - Again - how far ahead can those be made?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 2:12PM
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This Parmesan Walnut Salad in Endive Leaves went over very well at a recent party, and the reviewers offer some excellent suggestions. I made it a day ahead and did chop the cheese into tiny bits, but next time I'll pulse it in the food processor for faster prep. It's still excellent 3 days later, and leftovers can be tossed on salads. I served it with endive leaves and crackers.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 9:09PM
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1 pkg. Azteca Super Size Flour Tortillas
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. green onion, chopped
1/4 c. black olives, chopped
2 (2 1/2 oz.) pkgs. sliced, pressed, cooked ham

Remove tortillas from refrigerator. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, onions and olives. Spread thin layer of mixture on tortilla. Arrange four slices of ham over cheese. Tightly roll up tortilla. Wrap individually in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight. To serve, cut into 3/4 inch slices. Makes about 64 appetillas.
Make a dipping sauce if desired of sour cream and salsa.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:24AM
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I've made mini quiches (with pastry) in the shallow cupcake tins (so they're at most two bites) and frozen them many many times. I just line the tins with a circle of short pastry (cut with the right size cookie cutter) then make an egg mixture with three eggs to a cup of cream or half and half. Place whatever flavouring ingredients you want in the raw shell (cooked mushrooms, diced ham, cooked or canned asparagus, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese etc) then pour in egg mixture to fill. Bake until set and pastry is golden.

Another one which is popular and also freezes well is a mini tart lined with short pastry, then filled with a mixture of pepperoni, cabanossi or krakowurst, cheddar cheese, all in very small dice about 1/4" or so, and more or less equal proportions, and some chopped up canned champignons. Overfill the tart shells and bake until the pastry is golden. Serve warm. May be frozen and reheated.

If you're interested in making curry puffs I'll dig out my recipe, also popular. They are made with pre-rolled puff pastry and if you have one of those little hinged turnover makers so much the better, you can churn them out. The filling has diced potaotes, onions, peas and curry spices (not hot) and these also freeze well.

Mini vol-au-vents are fairly easy as well, I make a filling with bechamel sauce and some flavouring ingredient (chicken and mushrooms, ham, cheese and asparagus etc) which can be frozen until I want to use it. Fill the (bought) vol-au-vent cases with a spoonful of the filling and heat in the oven until warmed through.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 4:36AM
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This is wonderful, throw it together and let it cook!
Marinated Mushrooms
1 pound butter
4 pounds extra large whole fresh mushrooms
1 quart burgundy or other red wine
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon flavor enhancer (Accent) can leave out
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups boiling water
4 beef bouillon cubes
4 chicken bouillon cubes
�Combine all ingredients in large pot
�Bring to a slow boil on medium heat
�Reduce to simmer and cook 5-6 hours with the pot covered
�Remove top and cook another 3-5 hours until liquid reduces to barely cover mushrooms
�Serve hot

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:33AM
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Thank you, everybody, for so many wonderful ideas!

I think I'm going to try a few small batches of some things, just to see how they go (plus I just can't wait to try some of these ideas!) before making a ton for the party.

I'm also thinking this is a great time for me to try doing some innovating, using a recipe as a base and making my own tweaks. I've never really done that much before as I've always pretty much just followed recipes. I think I will let my creativity out just a bit....

I'm also realizing I need to make sure I don't put too many things on the menu; I don't want it to be overwhelming, either for me or for our guests. I'm going to have an interesting challenge coming up with a balance of things; some hot, some cold; some sweet, some savory; some for non-dairy, some for vegetarians, etc. I have to say, I do enjoy the planning as well as the execution.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:57AM
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One of my oldest T&T recipes is for stuffed-mushroom caps. The are relatively easy to make a day or so ahead, and then you merely pop them in the oven for 10 minutes or so and serve them.

Bob's Magical Mushrooms
1 lb white mushrooms
12 oz cream cheese
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
4 slices of provolone cheese
3 green onions (chopped fine)

Remove stem and cut away the lower half of the mushroom exposing the gills
Soften cream cheese in microwave, mix garlic and green onions into cream cheese.
Melt butter in small dish.
For each mushroom, spoon the cream cheese mixture into the mushroom, then dip the top into the butter, and place in a glass baking pan. Then cover the top of the cream cheese with provolone cheese.
The above amount should fill a 13x9 baking pan.

At this point you can refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 deg F
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the provolone is melted and the mushrooms are cooked.
Serve immediately.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 2:14PM
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Speaking of innovating. I once made the above recipe but mixed crab meat in with the cream cheese mixture, and the result was wonderful.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 2:20PM
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Give us a review on what you made and how it went over. :)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 5:13AM
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These always get rave reviews

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

This is a crowd pleaser. The crab filling works well as a dip all on its own. This is from and was submitted by Wilma Scott. Serves 6 people.


1 pound fresh mushrooms
7 oz crab meat (I use canned crab meat)
5 green onions, diced
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika

In a medium bowl, combine crabmeat, green onions, herbs, and pepper. Mix in mayonnaise and 1/4 cup parmesan until well combined. Refrigerate filling until ready to use.

Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove stems. Spoon out the gills and the base of the stem. Discard stems or save for another use. Fill the mushroom caps with rounded spoonfuls of filling and place in an ungreased shallow baking dish. Sprinkle tops with parmesan and paprika.

Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Serve immediately.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 7:37AM
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Sui Mai is a nice change. They freeze beautifully and the dipping sauce can be made ahead. You may find steaming at the last minute annoying. I'm OK with it as it takes just a few minutes.

Shu Mai (Opened-Faced Chinese Dumplings)-Sue (Cookingrv)

(Makes about 60)
Dipping Sauce
1/4 Cup 'Light' soy sauce
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Rice vinegar (Kikkoman
2 Large Garlic cloves -, Minced
1 Tsp Ginger root - or, Grated
1 Pkg thin wonton wrappers
2 Lb pork and/or veal, Ground
8 Greens (scallions), Onion
1 tsp minced garlic, Chopped
2 1/2 Tbl Cornstarch
2 1/2 Tbl 'Light' soy sauce
2 1/2 Tbl Sesame oil
5 Cup Napa cabbage, chopped fine

For dipping sauce:
C Mix all ingredients and chill overnight, if possible.

For dumplings:
Remove wontons from freezer 15 minutes before assembling.

Remove wrapper and cover wontons with a damp towel (this prevents
them from
drying out).

In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine meat, green onions,
soy sauce, sesame oil, and Napa lettuce.

Working one at a time, gently peel off a wonton wrapper, and
place in the
palm of your hand

Fill with 1.5 to 2 T of filling forming a tight cup with your
Gently tap the wonton on the table to flatten bottom. (They will
look like
little purses)

Place on a jelly roll pan
When all wontons are stuffed, freeze, uncovered, on a cookie
sheet for 8
hours or overnight.

Remove from pan and store in plastic bags until ready to use, but
no longer
than 1.5 months.

NOTE: Wontons should be frozen before cooked, as they hold their
better when steamed.

When ready to cook, line a baboo steamer, or any other type of
steamer, with
white paper towel.

Bring water to boil and steam dumplings over high heat, covered,
for 12-15
minutes, or until cooked through.

Serve with dipping sauce.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 7:41AM
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I will definitely let you all know the final menu. So far, I'm thinking something like this:

Hot mulled cider

Hamballs (in crockpot)
Chicken wings (in crockpot)
Turkey meatballs of some kind (in crockpot)
Proscuitto pinwheels (in puff pastry)
Baked brie with Mango chutney in puff pastry
crudite with Blue cheese and honey mustard dips
Mini chicken salad sandwiches in choux pastry
Mini crab somethings
Mini quiches (2-3 kinds)
Italian pepperoni cheese puffs
Marinated cheese cubes
Savory cookies of some kind(s)

Pecan tassies
Mini apple pies (or tarts or turnovers)
White chocolate raspberry bars
?something chocolate
?shortbread or spritz cookies

Does this seem balanced? Enough choices, too many? Anything in particular I'm missing? Should I, for example, add some spiced nuts for easy nibbling?

Now I need to confess - I don't do mushrooms! Some of the thin gs you all have shared sound like they'd be fabulous if I weren't anti-fungus! But, for something like this, if I don't like it, I don't cook it. :)

chase - the dumplings sound great, whether I will use them for the party or not, I'm not sure, but that's the kind of thing DH and I sometimes have as an easy dinner. It would be great to have our own vs. store bought. Can they be fried instead of steamed like pot stickers?


    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 1:16PM
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jkom51 - I made the artichoke nibblers yesterday. They are great except I should have taken your advice and cut the cheese in half. I went with the two cups because I love cheese, but can definitely get away with a cup versus two cups. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 12:09PM
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Okay, the artichoke nibblers just got added to the probably/test drive list. :)


    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:12PM
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These are really good and can be made ahead and frozen.

Onion Puffs

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
3 T Mayo
3 green onions (including green part) chopped
3 drops tabasco
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 lg loaf good quality white sandwich bread
1 stick butter - melted

Blend cream cheese, chopped onion, tabasco. mayo, and parm cheese until thoroughly mixed.
Use small cookie cutter to cut four rounds from each slice of bread. Brush 1 side of each bread circle w/butter and toast on cookie sheet in oven until browned. Spread untoasted side of circle evenly with cheese mixture.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 10 mins until bubbly and slightly brown.
To make ahead: Prepare puffs and freeze before baking. Just put frozen puffs under broiler just before serving.

I also have a great recipe for make ahead mini crabcakes in case you're interested....

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:02PM
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This is an old recipe that's been around, but it's very tasty, simple to make and freezes well.

English Muffin Appetizers

1 1/2 c. white cheddar cheese grated ( gold foil Kraft )
1 c. pitted black olives chopped
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. scallions - white part only
6 English muffins

Just mix everything together and spread on the open muffin halves. Cut the muffins into serving pieces. Broil 'til bubbly.

It's a shame you don't do mushrooms. I have a wonderful one for that.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:16AM
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Please post your cherry sauce for hamballs. Sounds wonderful

Lindac - how much olive oil in the Pomegranate-Walnut dip? Eager to try.

Here are a couple of make-aheads.

For us chicken-livered challenged souls this is the pate. A make-ahead.

Liver Olive Pate
1 env. unflavored gelatin
10.5 oz. can beef broth
1 1/2 C. liver sausage
1 C. sour cream
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt (I omit)
1/8 tsp. white pepper
4.5 oz. can chopped ripe olives

Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup cold beef broth.
Heat remaining broth and stir in gelatin mixture til dissolved; set aside.
Beat liver sausage til creamy; beat in gelatin-broth mixture until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients and mix til blended.
Turn into 3 1/2 cup mold & chill firm.
Unmold & serve with crackers.

A surprisingly sophisticated flavor. Great make-ahead.

Stuffed Celery
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1/4 C. sour cream
1/4 C. soft butter
1 Tbsp. minced capers
1/2 tsp. anchovy paste
1/2 tsp. minced onion
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. paprika

32 - 6" celery lengths (when removing 'strings' also take a narrow lengthwise
slice off the rounded bottom to prevent tipping over)

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, and butter until smooth.
Mix in remaining 5 ingredients.
Fill celery stalks. Regrigerate overnight.

And this one from a few years back sounds like a tasty addition.

* Posted by: Ginger_St_Thomas (My Page) on Thu, Dec 15, 05 at 17:39
How about this one I've posted before? Everyone I've served it to really liked it
& you make it ahead of time:

1 lb large, seedless red grapes
10 oz pecans
4 TBL crumbled Roquefort cheese
8 oz pkg cream cheese, room temp.
2 TBL heavy cream

Wash grapes & pat dry.
Crush pecans on a platter or sheet of waxed paper.
Cream Roquefort, cream cheese & cream.
Roll grapes in cheese mixture; then in pecans, coating well.
Chill, covered, until serving time.~~ First Impressions

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 8:00PM
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1/2 cup olive oil in the pomegranate dip...
Don't know what those strange little symbols are....???

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:27PM
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Thank you Linda!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 6:55PM
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I need to make appetizers for 200 people for a fundraiser. Any suggestions Simple an cheap

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Deviled eggs
Pinwheels (either tortilla or puff pastry)
Hummus and pita chips
artichoke and red pepper squares (recipe below)
Crispy bread with bruschetta
Crispy bread with a smear of goat cheese, a few toasted walnuts, fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of honey
Tapenade on crackers, bread, pita, etc

Artichoke Heart and Red Pepper Bites

6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts in oil
6 ounces roasted bell peppers
1 small chopped onion
2 minced cloves garlic
4 eggs
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Dash hot pepper sauce
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch baking dish. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving 2 tablespoons of the oil. Drain the roasted peppers and discard the liquid. Finely chop the artichoke hearts and peppers and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the reserved oil, onion, and garlic. Cook for five minutes, or until soft and translucent. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat the eggs in a large bowl until thick and lemon colored. Beat in the remaining ingredients along with the artichoke hearts, peppers, and onion mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes, then cut into one inch squares. Tightly wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to a month. Serve cold, at room temperature, or gently reheated in a 300 degree oven for 5-10 minutes.

Makes @60 1” bites.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Cooling Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 6:20PM
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Pigs in blankets. Little sausages wrapped in bacon and baked in the oven.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 3:41AM
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I also could use suggestions as how to keep some of these hot for 3 hours. We are having a Christmas Open House Benefit for out local food pantry again this year and I don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all evening. I have crockpots and chafing dishes. Ours is a much smaller affair with only about 80 coming. Any help greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Julie, I'm a couple of years late, but maybe someone else wanted to know too.

The cheesecake is actually KatieC's idea, and I have made it the night before and served it at the office the next afternoon. I use an 8 inch round cake pan with the releaser, dump it onto the plate upside down and don't worry about turning it oven because I cover it with the jelly.

The rye puffs can be made ahead and not filled, if you fill them too far ahead they get soggy but the filling and the puffs do well the day before and put together shortly before serving.


    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Momof2doxies, it's not really safe to keep food warm for three hours, unless you keep it above 75C, and by three hours it will not be very edible. Plan to replenish your warmers at least twice.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Thanks Colleenoz. That is what I thought also. Guess it will just be cold apps again this year so I don't have to spend the entire evening in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 8:02AM
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momof2doxies, you could just use hot/warm apps in crock pots or fondue pots that you can start warming and bring out in batches. Have the first batch warmed in the crock pot before the party starts, then start another batch warming. Plan so that when the first pot is empty the 2nd pot will be warm enough to serve. It would only require a few minutes of your time in the kitchen as each batch is started or served. A microwave would be helpful if you need to warm something more quickly.

PS: my favs for hot/warm apps like this would be hot broccoli dip, cheese & jalapeno dip, artichoke dip, and chalupa dip, etc., served with other cold dips and veggies and tortilla chips for dipping. A crockpot of meatballs is always good. And someone here posted an Italian Beef thing to make sandwiches that we love to serve at gatherings like this!

This post was edited by party_music50 on Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 8:45

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 8:39AM
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