Thanksgiving Appetizers

Shrimp Puffs

These appetizers are tasty and perfect to be displayed on a buffet table. An assortment of fabulous ingredients make each puff a hit.

6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 large eggs
1 cup chopped shrimp
1/4 cup sliced green onion
5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Melt butter in a saucepan with water. Bring to a full boil over medium heat. Immediately stir in flour and garlic salt all at once. Stir vigorously until the dough forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan, about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Stir in cooked, chopped shrimp, sliced green onions, and 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Drop by spoonfuls about 2-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Bake in a 400*F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

Makes 24 appetizers.

Bite Sized Quiches

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onion (white and green parts)
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 ounces Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Makes 18 bite-size quiches.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease one tray of 24 mini muffin-pan cups (1 3/4- x 1-inch). In a small saucepan, melt butter over moderate heat. Add bell pepper and onion; saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool slightly.

Step 2:
In a medium-size bowl, combine eggs, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir in the bell pepper and onions. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each muffin cup. (The mixture will fill 18 to 22 cups.)

Step 3:
Bake until the centers are set, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the quiches cool for 1 minute. Using a knife, loosen the quiches around the edges and remove from the cups. Arrange them on a platter and serve.

Blue Cheese, Port And Walnut Spread

This spread keeps for 3 weeks if refrigerated. Make to serve with bread or crackers for the Big Day, or keep it on hand for drop-in guests.

1 pound blue cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup port wine
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts

In a food processor blend together cheese, butter, and port until the mixture is smooth. In a bowl, combine the cheese mix and the walnuts. Transfer the spread to a crock. Chill.

Cheddar Shortbread Bites

These flaky, cheesy bites are easy to make and store well. Make them ahead of time and keep them in an airtight container.

Shortbread Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 (8-ounce) package (2 cups) Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Topping Ingredients:
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

Combine flour, butter, salt and red pepper in medium mixer bowl; beat at medium speed until dough forms (1 to 2 minutes). Add cheese; mix until a ball forms (1 to 2 minutes). Shape dough into circle; wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. (It will be hard to roll at first, but will soften. Press together any cracks that form on edges of dough.) Cut dough with 1-1/2-inch cookie cutters or pizza cutter into desired shapes (squares, triangles, circles). Place onto ungreased baking sheets.

Combine poppy seeds and sesame seeds in small bowl. Beat egg white and water together in another small bowl. Brush cut-outs with egg wash; sprinkle with seed mixture.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until very lightly browned around edges. Immediately loosen from pan; let cool on pan.

Makes 60 appetizers.

TIP: Line baking sheets with kitchen parchment paper to make shortbread easier to remove and clean-up faster.

TIP: Shortbread can be topped with a variety of other ingredients such as chili powder, seasoned salt, fennel seed or herbs.

Cheese Straws

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl cream butter and cheese. Stir in flour and salt; mix well. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch in thickness. Cut into 2 inch strips and sprinkle with ground red pepper. Place strips on prepared cookie sheet(s) 1-1/2 inches apart.

Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp.

Cocktail Meatballs

These tasty meatballs will disappear quickly from anyone's holiday party. These do very well in a slow cooker, as you can simmer them before serving, as well as keep them hot for the duration of your party.

Yields 10 servings.

1 pound lean ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 (8 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.

Ham & Swiss Bites

4 ounces (1 cup) Swiss & American cheese, shredded
2 ounces (1/2 cup) sliced deli ham, finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sliced green onions
1 tablespoon horseradish
48 rye chips, melba toast or bagel chips

Stir together all ingredients except rye chips in small bowl. Spread about 1 teaspoon cheese mixture on each rye chip. Place on microwave-safe plate; microwave on HIGH 10 to 15 seconds or until cheese begins to melt.

Makes 48 appetizers.

*Substitute 4 ounces (1 cup) American Cheese, shredded

Holiday Snack Toss

A combo of cereal, crackers, cashews, pretzels and dried cranberries is an easy holiday snack.

5 cups corn, rice or wheat cereal squares
2 cups oyster crackers
2 cups pretzel sticks, broken in half, or holiday-shaped pretzels
1 cup dried cranberries
1 (9.5-ounce) can (2 cups) salted cashew halves
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (1.2-ounce) package Caesar dry salad dressing mix*

Heat oven to 300°F. Combine cereal squares, oyster crackers, pretzels, cranberries and cashews in large roaster pan.

Stir together butter and salad dressing mix in small bowl. Pour over cereal mixture; toss to coat.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring twice, until lightly browned. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered containers.

Makes 24 (1/2-cup) servings.

*Substitute Italian dry salad dressing mix.

TIP: Snack may be baked in two 13x9-inch pans or two 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pans

Monterey Pumpkin Dip

Expect the unexpected with the addition of pumpkin to a traditional layered dip. The more you eat the more you'll find yourself being drawn back. Good to the last spoonful!

1 (15-ounce) can Pure Pumpkin
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons Pickled Jalapeños sliced, finely chopped,
plus 3 tablespoons of their juice
1 cup sour cream
1 (4-ounce) can diced Green Chiles
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced ripe olives
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

Combine pumpkin, cream cheese and jalapeño juice in medium bowl. Spread into 8-inch square baking dish.

Combine sour cream, chilies, jalapeños and garlic salt in small bowl. Spread over pumpkin mixture. Top with tomato, olives, green onions and red onion. Cover; refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips.

Makes 12 servings.

Pumpkin Fluff Dip

1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (5 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping.

Chill in the refrigerator until serving. Serve with regular or cinnamon graham crackers.

Party Cheese Ball

Serve these to a crowd you want to impress! Caution. This makes a lot, the two small balls are as big as baseballs!

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (8.00 ounces) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 (2.00 ounces) jar pimiento
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
10 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained and crumbled
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 dash salt
1 dash pepper
1/4 cup snipped parsley
1 tablespoon poppy seed
assorted crackers

Let Swiss and cheddar cheeses come to room temperature.

In a large bowl beat together cream cheese and sour cream till fluffy. Beat in Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, undrained pimiento, pickle relish, half of the bacon, 1/4 cup of the pecans, salt and pepper. Cover and chill till firm. Shape into 1 large or 2 small balls on wax paper. In a small bowl combine remaining bacon, pecans, parsley, and poppy seeds.

Turn mixture out onto clean sheet of waxed paper. Roll cheese balls in seed mixture to coat.

Wrap and chill. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving. Serve with crackers.

Spiced Pecans

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
3 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl beat the egg white with the water. Stir in the pecans, mixing until well moistened.

In a small bowl, mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Sprinkle over the moistened nuts. Spread nuts on prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Be careful not to overcook and burn the nuts.

Thanksgiving Cooking and Baking

Cooking Notes



 © Cooking Notes 2006