Recipes that are great to party with

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Karen Retter of Cape Girardeau was planning for her neighborhood's Christmas party and asked me when I was going to do an appetizer column. Although her party has now passed, I thought there might be other people planning for get-togethers and looking for a new recipe to serve. I enjoy serving shrimp through the holiday season, so I included a couple of appetizers that include it. I hope these recipes find their way to your next gathering.

Caramelized Onion Spinach Dip

1 sweet onion, chopped

2 teaspoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth

1/4 cup white wine or additional chicken broth

2 cups (16 ounces) light or fat-free sour cream

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

3/4 teaspoon salt

Tortilla chips or fresh vegetable sticks

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook onion in oil over medium heat for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic. Cook 3 minutes longer. Stir in broth and wine or additional broth. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until onions are golden brown and liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the sour cream, spinach and salt. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetable sticks. Refrigerate leftovers. Cheesy Mushroom Appetizer

2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3 cans (4 ounces each) mushroom stems and pieces, drained and chopped

1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Unroll crescent dough into two long rectangles. Seal seams and perforations. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, mushrooms, garlic powder and Cajun seasoning. Spread over dough to within 1-inch of edges. Roll up each rectangle, jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Seal edges. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Beat egg and water. Brush over dough. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into slices. Yield: 16 appetizers.

Cheesy Herb Pinwheels

3 cups original buttermilk baking mix

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup pizza sauce

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease cookie sheet. Mix baking mix, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and water until dough forms. Turn dough onto surface dusted with baking mix. Gently roll in baking mix to coat. Knead 10 times. Roll dough into 18-by-10-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with cheeses. Tightly roll up dough. Pinch edge to seal. Cut roll into 18 1-inch slices. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until golden. Heat pizza sauce until hot. Dip pinwheels into sauce. Makes 18 pinwheels.

Shrimp Cheese Bites

These freeze well. Make a double batch and keep some in the freezer to have on hand.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 egg, beaten

2/3 cup chopped cooked shrimp

2 ounces farmer or chevre (goat) cheese, crumbled

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup half-and-half

2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil leaves or 3/4 teaspoon dried basil leaves

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour in medium bowl. Cut in butter, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until mixture is crumbly. Stir in 1 beaten egg until well mixed. Shape into a ball. Divide into 24 balls. Press 1 ball on bottom and up side of each of 24 ungreased small muffin cups, 1 1/4-by-1 inch. Divide shrimp among cups. Sprinkle with cheese. Beat 1 egg and the egg yolk in small bowl. Stir in half-and-half and basil. Spoon about 1 tablespoon egg mixture into each cup. Bake about 20 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from pans to wire rack.

Creole Shrimp Tart

Adjust the heat in this recipe by using a smaller amount of Creole seasoning and using regular Monterey Jack cheese.

1/2 pound cooked, deveined, shelled shrimp or crawfish, tail shells removed, coarsely chopped

1 to 2 teaspoons dried Creole seasoning

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded hot pepper-Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 cup (4 medium) finely chopped green onions

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

1 refrigerated pie crust (from 15-ounce box), softened as directed on box

Red pepper sauce, if desired

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In medium bowl, toss shrimp and Creole seasoning to coat. Stir in all remaining ingredients except pie crust and pepper sauce. Remove pie crust from pouch. Place flat on ungreased cookie sheet. Spread filling over crust to within 1 inch of edge. Carefully fold 1-inch edge of crust up over filling, pleating crust as necessary. Bake 32 to 37 minutes or until set in center and crust is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Cut into wedges. Serve warm with pepper sauce.

La Mansion del Rio Hotel's Bar Olives

La Mansion del Rio is an old hotel on the San Antonio River. You can adjust the amount of heat by using a scant 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

1 bottle large pimiento stuffed green olives, 7 ounces, about walnut size

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, about 2 sprigs

1 teaspoon dried granulated garlic

1/2 teaspoon cayenne or to taste

1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Olive oil as needed

Drain liquid from olives, rinse them in fresh water and drain again. Wash and dry the jar and put the olives back in. Add rosemary, garlic, cayenne and black pepper then fill the bottle with olive oil. Replace the lid, then shake the bottle to mix the ingredients. Allow the olives to marinate for about two days, shaking the jar periodically.

It's not necessary to refrigerate the olives if they are consumed within a few days. For extended storage, keep them in the refrigerator.

Have a wonderful week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

Spinach-Cheese Balls with Pasta Sauce

1 (9 ounce) box frozen spinach

1 egg, beaten

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese

2 cups all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for deep frying

3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs

1 jar (25.5 ounce) garden vegetable pasta sauce, heated

Remove frozen spinach from pouch. Place in colander. Rinse with warm water until thawed. Drain well. Squeeze spinach dry with paper towel. Meanwhile, in large bowl, mix egg, both cheeses, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, sour cream, oil and ricotta cheese until well blended. Add spinach to cheese mixture. Mix well. Stir in flour, 1 cup at a time, until well blended. Fill 10-inch skillet half full with oil. Heat over medium heat until candy/deep-fry thermometer reads 350 degrees. (Or use deep fryer: add oil to fill line and heat to 350 degrees.) Meanwhile, place bread crumbs in small bowl. Shape spinach-cheese mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (about 40), using about 1 1/2 tablespoons for each. Roll in bread crumbs and place on cookie sheet. Fry 6 balls at a time 4 to 6 minutes, turning as necessary, until golden brown. With slotted spoon, remove balls from skillet; place on paper towels to drain. Cool 2 minutes before serving; serve with warm pasta sauce for dipping. Makes about 40 balls.

Onion Rye Appetizers Recipe

1 can (2.8-ounce) French-fried onions, crushed

1 jar (2-ounce) crumbled bacon or 3/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese

1 jar (14 ounces) pizza sauce

1 loaf (16 ounces) snack rye bread or snack wheat bread

In a large bowl, combine the onions, bacon, mayonnaise and Swiss cheese. Spread about 1 teaspoon of pizza sauce on each slice of bread. Top with about 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture. Cover and freeze in a single layer for up to 2 months, or bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. To use frozen appetizers: Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Yield: 20 appetizers.

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