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Big Flavor, Low Stress

February 3, 2018

Big Flavor, Low Stress

By Angie Sutton, www.momsapronstrings.com


Don’t let a last minute party invite throw you into a panic this holiday season. Keep a list with simple homemade and semi-homemade recipes handy with a few basic ingredients you can pull together quickly.

Having a couple go-to recipes that you’ve prepared before can keep your stress level at bay. Save the new recipes for a lazy Saturday afternoon when you can test them on your spouse and kids who will provide honest feedback.


Elegant Cheese Platter

This is a great option if you have limited notice for a party or are travelling a distance to the venue. I like to purchase several holiday-themed platters at the local discount store to have on hand and a box of two-gallon-sized resealable baggies. If I need to depart the festivities early I can just leave the platter.


Mild cheddar cheese slices

Colby-jack cheese slices

Pepperjack cheese slices

Handful of red grapes

Handful of green grapes

1 sleeve artisan crackers

Handful of almonds


Arrange all ingredients on platter. Wrap by inserting platter into large resealable plastic baggie.

Apron Strings Notes: Grab a few inexpensive tongs when you purchase the platters and tuck one in.


Lively Hummus

Perfect for the office party or evening gathering, this colorful homemade tray makes a festive statement. Serve with red, green and yellow bell peppers seeded and cut into strips. Can also be served with pita chips or other cut fresh veggies.


2 (13.5-oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 garlic clove, grated

2/3 c. olive oil

1 Tbsp. tap water

1/4 c. tahini paste

1/4 c. traditional barbecue sause

1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt


Dump all ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight. Stir before serving.


Tomato Dazzlers

These savory bites are ready in a flash! We’re talking 10 minutes of preparation and a whole lot of holiday wow!


1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes

1 container soft herbed cheese spread

1/4 c. finely chopped walnuts


1. Cut tomatoes in half. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop out and discard seeds.

2. Using the small scoop, fill each tomato shell with the herbed spread. Top with chopped walnuts.

Apron Strings Notes: No time to scoop tomatoes out? Slice a cucumber and top it with the different types of spreads.


Holiday Wreath Fruit Pizza

There are several presentation options for this crowd-pleasing nosh. Make individual wreaths by purchasing the refrigerator sugar cookie dough or make a large wreath with the cookie dough sheet product. It can serve as an appetizer or after-meal refreshing finisher.


1 (16.5-oz.) tube refrigerator sugar cookies

1 (8-oz.) container whipped mixed berry cream cheese

4 c. assorted fresh fruit, sliced


1. For individual cookies, place dough slices on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Use a small circular object to cut the middle of each cookie out to make a wreath. Bake as directed on package. For a large wreath, line a 12-inch pizza pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Spread cookie dough on bottom of pan. Use a large glass or bowl to cut the center out to for a wreath shape. Bake 14 minutes and check often to avoid overbrowning.

2. Remove cookies or large cookie to cooling rack and cool completely. Once cool, place on a decorate platter and spread with cream cheese. Press fruit lightly into the cream cheese.

3. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

Apron Strings Notes: Fruit such as strawberries, grapes, kiwi, blueberries and raspberries work the best.

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