appetizers.jpgWhen you host a party, what’s the first thing people head for? At the parties I’ve been to, it’s the appetizer table. I’ve actually done entire parties based on nothing but appies, and as far as food goes, those have been the most successful parties I’ve ever had.

You don’t have to wait to have a party either – sometimes, if you have the right appie combinations, you can have them as a main course instead of a meal itself. Hot dips, cold veggies, wings, and delicious bites wrapped up in bacon or puff pastry – there are so many different types of appetizer recipes, you could make something new and different for every occasion during the year.

Here are a few of my favourite appetizer recipes:

Buffalo Chicken Dipbuffalo-chicken-dip.jpg

I love buffalo chicken, and although I usually buy my buffalo chicken in strip version at the local Costco, I didn’t realize until I made this recipe how easy it was to make your own buffalo chicken. I serve this dip straight out of the oven with white corn tortilla chips. Recipe and photo from http://amazingpinterestworld.blogspot.ca.

Ingredients:

1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast
1 Bottle of Franks Red Hot sauce (12 oz. or 1.5 cups)
8 oz container of cream cheese
1 cup Mexican cheese blend (or your favorite blue cheese or gorgonzola)
1 cup Ranch dressing.
1 bag tortilla chips and/or veggies for dipping

 

Directions

Poach about 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast in chicken stock and water.
Using 2 forks, gently thread chicken into small chunks. You can also shred your chicken in your (Kitchenaide) stand mixer using the flat, paddle beater.
In a bowl, combine shredded chicken with Franks Red Hot sauce, to taste. My family likes it spicy, so I use lots!
Let the chicken soak in the hot sauce until ready to use.
Spread one 8 oz container of cream cheese into the bottom of an un-greased baking pan or casserole dish.
Top with buffalo chicken…
Sprinkle on some cheese like mexican cheese blend, blue cheese, or gorgonzola.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until dip is melted and bubbling.
Serve with chips and veggies for dipping!

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Stuffed Italian Bread

One look at the photo and you’re going to want to make this stuffed cheese bread. It smells amazing when it’s in the oven, and it tastes even better. Plus, it’s so easy there’s no reason not to make stuffed cheese bread all the time. Recipe and photo from http://joansfoodwanderings.blogspot.ca/

Ingredients:

1 Italian loaf, about 12 inches long

1 stick butter, melted

1/8 cup olive oil

3 tsp minced onion

2-3 cloves garlic, grated

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp poppy seeds

3 tsp chopped parsley (add more if you wish)

12 oz grated cheese such as white cheddar or monterey jack.
 

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Mix the melted butter, olive oil, onion, garlic, dijon mustard, poppy seeds and parsley in a bowl.;
Cut the bread into cubes with X slices without cutting all the way through the bottom crust.
Pour the butter-onion garlic mixture carefully into those X cracks using a small spoon and over the top of the bread. Fill those delicious cracks with the grated cheese.
Wrap the entire loaf with foil, sealing the sides properly and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and unwrap. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and gooey.

Mushroom Puffsmushroom-puffs-sl-x.jpg

Bite sized and delicious, these mushroom puffs are very easy to make once your dough is chilled. Recipe and photo from myrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1
(8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1
(8-oz.) can mushroom pieces and stems, drained and chopped
1/4 cup
finely chopped onion
1/4 cup
grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon
finely chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon
hot sauce
1
large egg
1
(17.3-oz.) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
Parchment paper
2 teaspoons
freshly ground pepper

 

Directions

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until smooth. Stir in mushrooms and next 4 ingredients. Cover and chill 1 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Roll 1 puff pastry sheet into a 16- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut pastry in half lengthwise. Spread 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture down center of each rectangle; brush edges with egg mixture. Fold each pastry half lengthwise over filling, and pinch edges to seal. Cut pastries into 10 pieces each, and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat procedure with remaining puff pastry sheet, egg mixture, and cream cheese mixture.

Brush remaining egg mixture over tops of pastry pieces; sprinkle with pepper.

Bake at 400° for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned. Serve immediately.

These appies are great for holiday parties or just for a cozy night in. If you need some bakeware to create appies, here’s a look at some bakeware that makes appies easy.

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Cookie sheets are great for bite sized appies
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Serve hot dips for a crowd with specialty cookware
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Serve your appetizers on a plate or platter that does them justice