AP­PEAL­ING AP­PE­TIZ­ERS

The Sun Herald (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY AN­DREA YEA­GER

Whether host­ing a hol­i­day party or watch­ing a big game, serv­ing ap­pe­tiz­ers is a must.

Let’s get this party started. Whether host­ing a fes­tive hol­i­day party or watch­ing a big game on tele­vi­sion, serv­ing top­notch ap­pe­tiz­ers or snacks is a must. No, food doesn’t guar­an­tee the party’s suc­cess, but it cer­tainly helps.

One big no-no for the host or host­ess is to run out of foods and drinks. Plan on at least 12 ap­pe­tiz­ers per per­son. If you are hav­ing 24 guests, then 288 ap­pe­tiz­ers are needed. If the ap­pe­tiz­ers are re- plac­ing heartier fare or a meal, then 20 hors d’ oeu­vre per per­son are more like it.

Sound like a lot of food? Re­mem­ber to mul­ti­ply the num­ber of guests times 12. For big game par­ties, guests will prob­a­bly eat more food than at a two-hour cock­tail party. The av­er­age cock­tail party re­quires about 12 tid­bits per per­son.

Serv­ing a large quan­tity of fewer hors d’ oeu­vre is eas­ier on the host or host­ess. All he or she must do is dou­ble or triple the recipe. Al­ways serve tasty ap­pe­tiz­ers, ones that the host and guests en­joy. From party to party, keep notes on which ap­pe­tiz­ers are fa­vorites.

A sim­ple fare of cheese bis­cuits or wafers, meat­balls with a good sauce or a va­ri­ety of sauces for dip­ping, dips or spreads, chicken salad served in en­dive leaves, nuts or snack mix or cheese and fruit tray is a good place to start. Re­mem­ber, hosts and hostesses want to en­joy the party, too. Food that can be prepped ahead of time is al­ways a time- and stress-saver.

Here are ap­pe­tizer sug­ges­tions that can be used for any party or din­ner. Cran­berry meat­balls are tangy, yet sweet; spiced pe­cans for snack­ing, chicken salad in en­dive, cheese wafers, sausage balls, cold boiled shrimp with re­moulade or a crab ap­pe­tizer. I al­ways of­fer a fruit and cheese tray with a va­ri­ety of crack­ers, of course, some gluten-free.

For a cock­tail party, plan on a punch, plus a va­ri­ety of al­co­hol and mix­ers. A friend trims party costs by of­fer­ing pitch­ers of two dif­fer­ent cock­tails. Al­ways have club soda or soft drinks on hand as well as red and white wines.

Punch is a must for a non­al­co­holic party. Again, have club soda, tea, soft drinks and cof­fee for guests.

What­ever is served, be sure to re­lax and have fun. Af­ter all, it is a party.

MINI CRAN­BERRY MEAT­BALLS

1/2 cup bread crumbs

1/3 cup chopped fresh cran­ber­ries (or dried, if fresh is un­avail­able)

1 ta­ble­spoon to­mato paste 1 tea­spoon plus 1 ta­ble­spoon, di­vided Di­jon mus­tard 1 tea­spoon olive oil 1 tea­spoon plus 1 tea­spoon, sep­a­rated chipo­tle pep­per sauce

3/4 tea­spoon dried oregano 1/2 tea­spoon ground cumin 1/2 tea­spoon salt

1/2 tea­spoon ground black pep­per

2 cloves minced gar­lic

1 large lightly beaten egg 1 1/2 pounds ground round 1 (12-ounce) jar red cur­rant jelly

1/4 cup or­ange juice

3/4 tea­spoon or­ange zest 2 tea­spoons minced shal­lot 1/8 tea­spoon ground ginger 1 1/2 tea­spoons corn­starch Pre­heat the oven to 400 de­grees. Spray the rack of a broiler pan with non­stick cook­ing spray; place in an alu­minum foil-lined broiler pan.

In a large bowl, com­bine the bread­crumbs, cran­ber­ries, to­mato paste, 1 tea­spoon mus­tard, oil, 1 tea­spoon chipo­tle pep­per sauce, dried oregano, cumin, salt, pep­per gar­lic and egg. Add the ground round and mix to­gether. Shape the mix­ture into 40 1-inch meat­balls. Place the meat­balls on the pre­pared rack in pan. Bake un­til done, 15 min­utes. Serve with Sweet-Hot Dip­ping

Sauce.

Sweet-Hot Dip­ping Sauce In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the jelly, or­ange juice and zest, 1 ta­ble­spoon mus­tard, shal­lots, re­main­ing tea­spoon chipo­tle sauce and ginger. Bring the jelly mix­ture to a boil.

In a small bowl, com­bine the corn­starch and 2 1/2 tea­spoons wa­ter; add to the jelly mix­ture, stir­ring con­stantly for 1 minute. Re­move from the heat. Serve warm with meat­balls. Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

– Recipe by Paula Deen

AR­TI­CHOKE HEART DIP

1 can ar­ti­choke hearts

1 cup may­on­naise or salad dress­ing

1 cup Parme­san cheese

Mix to­gether and bake in oven at 300 to 350 de­grees for 30 min­utes and en­joy. Serve with toast points or va­ri­ety of crack­ers.

– From “Cedar Bayou United Methodist Church Sesqui­cen­ten­nial Cook­book”

CHEESE WAFERS

1 pound grated Ched­dar cheese

1 tea­spoon salt

4 cups flour

3 sticks oleo/but­ter

1 1/2 tea­spoons red pep­per Let but­ter and cheese get soft. Mix all in­gre­di­ents. Make small balls and mash with fork. Bake in oven at 350 de­grees for 20 min­utes on an un­greased cookie sheet.

– From “Cedar Bayou United Methodist Church Sesqui­cen­ten­nial Cook­book”

CHICKEN SALAD

4 cans white pre­mium chicken breast

1 1/4 cups may­on­naise 1/4 tea­spoon lime juice 1/2 tea­spoon lemon juice

2 pack­ages (4 ounces) cran­berry and roasted al­monds top­ping

1 green ap­ple, finely chopped

Mix all in­gre­di­ents to­gether and add salt and pep­per to taste. Re­frig­er­ate. Served chilled in en­dive leaves or with low­carb tor­tilla wrap, cut in half.

– Recipe by Robin Killeen from “Recipe for Life,” Women of Wis­dom’s new cook­book

CIN­NA­MON SPICED PE­CANS

1/2 cup sugar 3 tea­spoons ground cin­na­mon

1/2 tea­spoon salt

1 large egg white

1 pound large pecan halves

In small bowl, com­bine sugar, cin­na­mon and salt; set aside. In large bowl, lightly beat egg white. Add pe­cans and stir un­til coated. Sprin­kle with sugar mix­ture; mix well.

Spread in sin­gle layer on bak­ing sheet. Bake at 300 de­grees for 20 min­utes. Re­move nuts from bak­ing sheet to waxed pa­per to cool.

– From Taste of Home

An­drea Yea­ger can be reached at ayea­[email protected]­bleone.net and Cooks Ex­change, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulf­port, MS 39507.

Getty Im­ages

Meat­balls are a pop­u­lar party ap­pe­tizer and can be pre­pared in a va­ri­ety of ways, and served with sauces. Be sure to have plenty of food ready for your guests. Food doesn’t guar­an­tee a party’s suc­cess, but it cer­tainly helps.

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