Friday, December 30, 2011

"I Was Told There'd Be Appetizers!"

Ok so the New Year is fast approaching, this whole season and year as a whole has gone by far too fast for my personal taste. What the heck happened, you blink and it's time to pack away all of the Christmas decorations when quite honestly I still have items from Halloween stacked in the basement to be properly stored. Meanwhile Target already has Easter stuff out, nooooooo! I'm seriously in a whirlwind and can't wrap my mind around this crazy time warp I feel I'm in, meanwhile everything just keeps whizzing by! We had an absolutely wonderful and blessed Christmas and I hope you all did as well, it really was beautiful and I'm so sad it's over already!

So I figured I had better get on the ball and share some killer party food just in case anyone is still trying to throw some things together for New Year's celebrations. Let me tell ya, we are not get dressed up, going out dancing in the streets until the wee hours, champagne bottle popping party folks around here, dare I say we're probably pretty boring when it comes to New Year's festivities.  We prefer to stay close to home, like walking over to the neighbors house close, and maybe saying up to toast the midnight hour, but man we make some killer appetizers and drinks! lol :) Here are a few favorites, that are guaranteed pleasers at any gathering, hope you enjoy and have a wonderful, safe and truly blessed New Year my friends!!

Corn Salsa

We call this Corn Salsa (creative, I know), I've seen many variations with names like Cowboy Caviar and the like, but I stick to the original recipe given to me by my Mother in Law years ago, it is a party staple around here and always well received. Make sure you make it early on party day or the night before so you give all of these wonderful flavors time to meld and blend for the perfect bite. I sometimes make an entire batch for myself and take it for lunch for the week, my office smells like onions, but dang I'm happy, lol. I'm giving a scaled down version, but my norm is double this and if you're lucky there will be some left over!

  • 1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained
  • Two + Tablespoons of chopped jalapeño pepper slices
  • 1/2 red bell pepper - cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper - cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing (I like Zesty)
  • 1/2 Ranch Dressing
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Couple shakes of Red Pepper Flakes
  • If you are one of those cilantro lovers, go on and add some of that too ;)

Mix it all together really well, cover and refrigerate for a few hours minimum, but overnight is even better, Tostido Scoop tortilla chips are perfect to serve along side, but any tortilla chip will do.

Cheese Ball in a Bowl
Sorry couldn't find a photo in time to post, so this stock one will have to do :)

My friend Steph gave me this recipe many moons ago and it has been a regular guest at parties ever since. This goes in the so easy it's almost a crime category, lot of bang for your buck here. Believe me, even if it sounds strange, give it a shot, it's quick to throw together & really tasty! For sure give this one some time for the flavors to blend, make in the morning or the nigh before if at all possible.

1 bunch green onions, chopped fine
2 packaged of Carl Budding Chipped Beef diced

1 tbsp. Worcestershire
2 (8 oz.) Blocks low fat cream cheese (softened)

In a large bowl, mix softened cream cheese, green onions, Worcestershire and diced beef. Mix well (I use the hand blender to get it whipped together fast). Cover & Chill (overnight if possible), serve with crackers, Wheat Thins are really good and sturdy enough to stand up to this beast of a dip. P.S. If you;re feeling froggy you can actually roll this into a ball or a log, I would rather not be covered in cheese and beef particles and since no one ever cares that mine is in a bowl with some token parsley flakes on top, that is where it shall remain :)

Three Cheese Tortellini Skewers

Got this spark of appetizer inspiration from the fine folks over at Southern Plate when they posted this recipe, bingo! Always amazes me when the simplest of ideas is right there and brilliant, not to mention, who doesn't love food on a stick! Anyhow these couldn't be easier, I add cooked Italian meatballs and serve spicy marinara and sun dried tomato Alfredo sauces on the side for dipping.

Make sure you put the wooden skewers in pan of cool water and allow to soak for at least 20 minutes to prevent splintering.

  • 1-2 Packages Three Cheese Tortellini
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Bamboo Skewers or picks
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt 
  • Store Bought Pesto Sauce or Spaghetti Sauce
  • Favorite Frozen Meatballs (cooked) 

  • Fill a large pot with water, add salt. Bring to a boil. Add tortellini and boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain tortellini in a colander. Place drained tortellini in a bowl and add olive oil, stirring to coat, I lightly sprinkled with some black pepper and Cajun seasoning . Spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and allow to cool until able to handle, skewer and serve!

Salad on A Stick

I have so much fun making food on a stick I did a riff on a Caprese Salad as well. Here's a side note, I hate raw tomatoes, like loathe them, won't eat other food that has been tainted by touching them, but I love to make Caprese

Just skewer a grape tomato, a folded basil leaf and a bite-sized fresh mozzarella ball on a small skewer or pick, drizzle with a good balsamic vinaigrette and instant food on a stick party fun! Much easier to handle as party fare than the traditional caprese salad and cute!

My Grand Finale in this episode of Awesome Appetizer Round-Up...

Cheesy Artichoke Jalapeño Dip

Serious Yum! We have a local joint that makes a great jalapeño artichoke dip, after having it for the first time years ago I fell in love, but could just about arti'choke' on the price! (there I go cracking myself up again) So like many other things I was determined to figure out how to make my own. This recipe is tried and true, true and tried to our liking. Play with it and make it your own!

2  8-oz. packages low fat cream cheese 
2  14-oz. cans of un-marinated artichoke hearts (finely chopped)
1 c. light mayonnaise 
1 1/2 c. Fresh Grated Parmesan cheese (plus ½ cup to sprinkle on top)
1 4-oz. can  green chilies
1 - 4-oz. can diced jalapeno peppers, drained (if you really like it hot, kick it up to a 7-oz can!)
1-2 French bread loaves (sliced), or crackers but the bread is the best ;)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix everything together and spread in your baking dish Bake for about  40 minutes or until dip is nicely browned and bubbly. Cover with your reserved Parmesan cheese (I like to use the asagio, Romano and Parmesan blend on top) watch closely and broil it for a few minutes to give it a nice golden top, yum! Enjoy, I do it in a big oval baking dish and it is always the first thing to go with the dish wiped clean!

Hope some of these come in handy for your next gathering, always nice to have a few easy recipes to fall back on in a pinch, Have a Happy New Year!

TTFN, Andrea

5 Chit Chat & Feedback:


Yummy, yummy appetizers!! Can't wait to try the corn salsa. I love all things black beans and corn!!! =)

Love Is In The Details

Oh Ro, then you will love it, seriously one of my all time favorites and it just keeps getting better as the flavors have time to blend. Such a strange combo of things, but so good and strangely addictive. Be warned, have some tic tacs on hand the next day ;)


I am so pinning this page!! thanks for the great inspiration:-)

Bellenza Wedding Bistro

ALL look so delicious! In fact, I called my daughter over to the screen just now to tell her we must make these. LOL!


Dang, Andrea! A girl goes without internet for over two months and comes back to this total yumminess!! We don't do New Year's Eve the traditional way either, actually, we babysit the grandkids and usually are asleep before the ball drops!! LOL!! I can't wait to make up some of these goodies... our family always has some kind of party or another... they'll be so surprised when I come in with something new!!!!! LOL!!
Happy New Year!!!


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