Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Holiday Entertaining: Appetizers

Whatever you celebrate and wherever you are, I hope the holiday season has been filled thus far with peace, love, joy & great food!

Today, I posted a video about how to make 3 appetizers that we really enjoy here in our house (see the link a bit farther into the post): Taco Bites (which I have long promised to share a recipe for), Pesto-Parmesan Crostini & Sausage Rolls. The latter 2 apps really require no recipe at all (visit the video link for instructions), but I wanted to share the actual recipe for the Taco Bites with you here (as well as for any viewers who might like some guidelines to follow).  All of three of these appetizers are delicious and perfect for your New Year's Eve parties (or any other entertaining opportunities that you may have coming up).

A former coworker of mine found the Taco Bites recipe in a magazine – it was the winner of one of those recipe contests where you create a recipe with a specific ingredient – Ranch Dressing in this case – and she thought it sounded good so she fixed it for our company Christmas party.  We all loved them, so she shared the recipe and I’ve been making them ever since.  They are always a hit!  

I don’t actually measure anything with these, I just go head and brown my sausage of choice, then add chopped bell pepper and olives until it looks balanced, throw in the cheese and add just enough dressing to hold it all together.  Here's the video, in case you'd like a visual:

You can bake the shells a couple of days in advance and also make the filling a couple of days in advance, but don’t fill them until the day you’re going to serve them, or they’ll get soggy.  Also, if you’re going to take them to a party or someplace where you’re unsure of the oven availability, you can bake the shells a full 10 minutes, then fill them, keep them cold and transport them wherever you’re headed.  Microwave them when you’re ready to serve, just until the cheese melts and everything is bubbly.

I hope you will enjoy all of these.  What are your favorite appetizers for the holiday season?

 Here's the recipe for the Taco Bites:

Taco Bites

1 pkg - Won Ton Skins (or egg roll wrappers cut into ¼’s)
1 lb sausage, any kind you like (I like Italian)
1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
7 or 8 oz olives, sliced
2 cups shredded cheddar and jack cheese
1 cup ranch dressing (I never use the whole cup, I just use enough to hold everything together)

Preheat oven to 375.  Spray mini muffin pan with olive oil spray or brush with olive oil.  Line mini-muffin cups with won ton wrappers (you can also use egg roll wrappers cut into quarters), then spray or brush with olive oil.  Bake 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Brown sausage in a skillet, drain on paper towels.  In a bowl combine brown sausage, olives, peppers and cheese.  Add ranch dressing until it all holds together.

Fill baked won ton wrappers with filling and place on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan.  Bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and everything is bubbly.  Serve hot. 


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