14 December 2009

Fast and Easy Holiday Appetizers, Chocolate Martini

From Denny: Chef Sandra Lee over at Food Network is one of my favorites because she finds a way to cut the work in half and still have the time and energy to enjoy your guests! Watch one of her episodes and you will be hooked, even if you don't feel ambitious enough to do one of her awesome tablescape themed decorations. She has a great eye for staging, that's for sure.

Enjoy these easy and tasty appetizers for your holiday gathering! You will be the hit of the home you visit when you make and take one of these goodies. Many times my husband and I make these appetizer recipes as a light supper - all with the big excuse that we are trying out future recipes for entertaining. :)

Asiago cheese Ham Pinwheels
Roasted Pepper Meatballs
Festive Cheese Chips
Best Ever Finger Dogs
Choco-Mint Martini

Asiago-ham pinwheels

From: Chef Sandra Lee, "Semi-Homemade: Cocktail Time"

Makes: 16 pinwheels

INGREDIENTS

• 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package directions
• 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/4 cup dried currants
• 1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
• 1 package (6-ounce) thinly sliced cooked ham

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll sheet into 14 by 11-inch rectangle.

In a bowl, combine preserves and mustard. Spread mixture over puff pastry, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with currants and cheese. Top with ham slices.

Starting with a short side, roll rectangle up in a spiral. Using a pastry brush, lightly moisten edge with water; pinch to seal seam.

Slice pastry roll into sixteen 1/2-inch slices. Place pinwheels, cut sides down, on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.

Red pepper meatballs

From: Chef Sandra Lee, "Semi-Homemade: Cocktail Time"

Makes: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

For meatballs:

• Non-stick cooking spray
• 1 pound lean ground beef
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
• 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
• 1 tablespoon water
• 2 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil

For red pepper sauce:

• 1 jar (7 1⁄4-ounce) roasted red peppers, drained
• 1/2 cup Catalina salad dressing
• 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
• Fresh thyme sprigs

DIRECTIONS

For zesty fried meatballs: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine ground beef, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, milk, and Italian seasoning. Form into 1-inch meatballs. In a bowl, beat together 1 egg and water. Place 1/4 cup bread crumbs in another bowl. Dip meatballs into egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs.

In a heavy saucepan, heat oil over high heat. Working in batches, add meatballs to hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Remove meatballs; drain well. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through (160 degrees F).

For red pepper sauce, in a blender, combine roasted peppers, salad dressing, and Italian seasoning. Cover and blend until smooth. Serve meatballs with sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme.

Festive cheese chips

From:
Chef Sandra Lee, "Semi-Homemade: Cocktail Time"

Makes: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

• 1 bag (5-ounce) potato chips
• 1/2 cup white sauce
• 1/4 cup cream cheese
• 2 tablespoons crumbled Roquefort cheese
• 1 tablespoon half-and-half
• 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chips on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine white sauce, cream cheese, Roquefort cheese, and half-and-half. Cook over medium heat until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Transfer hot chips to serving platter. Drizzle cheese mixture over hot chips. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles over.

Best ever finger dogs

From: Chef Sandra Lee, "Semi-Homemade: Cocktail Time"

Makes: 48 dogs

INGREDIENTS

• 1 package (48) small cooked smoked beef sausage links
• 1 container (16.3-ounce) buttermilk biscuits
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
• Mustard or other condiments

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

In a grill pan, cook half of the sausage links over medium heat about 5 minutes or until sausage links are plump. Set aside.

On a clean surface, cut each of the biscuits into 6 pieces. Place cheese in a small bowl. Roll each piece of dough in the cheese; shape pieces into balls.

Gently stretch each ball to fit a sausage link. Partially wrap the dough around the sausage. Arrange pillow dogs 1 inch apart on prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve warm with mustard or other desired condiments.

Choco-mint martini

From:
Chef Sandra Lee, "Semi-Homemade: Cocktail Time"

Makes: 1 drink

INGREDIENTS

• 2 ounces mint chocolate Irish cream liqueur
• 1/2 ounce vanilla flavored vodka
• Ice
• Small candy canes (optional)

DIRECTIONS

In a cocktail shaker, combine Irish cream and vodka. Add ice; cover and shake until very cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Embellish with a small candy cane (optional).

*** THANKS for visiting and have a great holiday season!

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