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Simply Appetizers

May 14, 2018

Simply Appetizers

By Angie Sutton, www.momsapronstrings.com

 

Tis the season of graduations and Mother’s Day potlucks. My sister asked for suggestions for simple appetizers to take to a school function. Knowing her schedule was quite busy, I gave her a few simple recipes to try.

You can pack an amazing amount of flavor into a small bite. Consider sweet and sour meatballs, mini blooming onions or, my favorite, anything wrapped in bacon. If the flavor of your appetizer isn’t as peppy as you’d like, whip up a Creamy Spicy Yogurt Dip to go with it.

Serve a robust appetizer as a main dish for your weekend lunch. Many are portable and work well to take along as a portable meal or snack.

 

Creamy Spicy Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

1/4 c. Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. horseradish sauce

1 1/2 tsp. ketchup

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together. Use immediately or refrigerate for several hours before serving.

 

Simple Stuffed Mushrooms

This recipe makes about 28 poppable mushroom appetizers.

Ingredients:

1 (24-oz.) pkg. fresh whole white mushrooms

1 1/4 c. prepared spinach and artichoke dip

1/2 lb. spicy Italian sausage, cooked and drained

1 clove garlic, finely minced

1/3 c. Italian-style panko bread crumbs

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare mushrooms by removing and discarding stems. Place mushrooms, stem-side facing down on a large parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside mushrooms from the pan and discard parchment paper and any juices.

2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the spinach-artichoke dip, cooked sausage and 2 Tbsp. of the panko bread crumbs together. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and place mushrooms, stem-side up, about 1-inch apart. Use a spoon to fill each mushroom cap, mounding the top. Sprinkle remaining panko bread crumbs on the top of each cap. Bake 13-to-15 minutes until tops of filling are golden brown.

Apron Strings Tips: While you don’t need the mushroom stems for this recipe, I do suggest that you chop them up and keep them for another recipe such as mushroom soup.

 

Fresh Cucumber Bites

The farmer’s markets are cropping up and I couldn’t pass up the table with early season cucumbers. This appetizer is fresh and light with a hint of dill.

Ingredients:

2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced into half-inch slices

12 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 (4-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 Tbsp. mayonnaise

3 Tbsp. ranch dressing

1 Tbsp. fresh dill

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, for garnish

Directions:

1. Remove middle of the cucumber with a half teaspoon measuring spoon.

2. Combine softened cream cheese, mayonnaise and ranch dressing. Mix until smooth in texture.

3. Add dill and garlic salt and mix just until combined.

4. Place the topping into a piping bag with a star attachment and pipe out about a 3/4 Tbsp. into each prepared cucumber.

5. Insert cherry tomato half into each cucumber topping.

6. Sprinkle with black pepper, serve and enjoy.

Apron Strings Tips: Pat the cucumber slices dry with a paper towel to get the topping to stick. Prepare the cucumbers in advance and refrigerate up to 4 hours. If fresh dill is not available, dried dill will work.

 

Cream Cheese and Cranberry Bites

I had a package of dried cranberries leftover from another dish so they worked perfectly in this recipe. They taste great either warm from the oven or chilled for brunch. I like to use spicy jalepeno cream cheese spread to kick the flavor up.

Ingredients:

1 (4-oz.) block of reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

3 Tbsp. chopped dried cranberries

1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent dough sheet

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. in a medium-sized bowl, stir together cream cheese and cranberries.

3. Unroll dough sheet on a large cutting board and press into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 24 evenly sized squares.

4. Place a teaspoon-size amount of the cranberry mixture in the center of each square. Bring the four corners of the dough together in the middle, pinch and twist the dough to seal. Small gaps will remain in the seams.

5. Place them on the baking sheets about 1-inch apart and bake for 10-to-13 minutes or until golden brown.

Apron Strings Tips: Drizzle the tops with powdered sugar icing: 1 c. confectioners’ sugar, 2 Tbsp. milk and 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla extract or orange extract mixed together until smooth.

 

Cream Cheese and Sausage Bites

Similar to the Cream Cheese and Cranberry Bites, these simple bundles make a portable potluck contribution or attractive addition to the appetizer spread. Try other types of cream cheese spread such as garden vegetable to change up the taste of these gems.

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. bulk pork sausage, browned and drained

1/2 c. jalapeno cream cheese spread

1 (8-oz.) can refrigerated crescent dough sheet

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cool the sausage slightly and in a medium-sized bowl, stir together cream cheese and sausage.

3. Unroll dough sheet on a large cutting board and press into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 24 evenly sized squares.

3. Place a tablespoon-size amount of the sausage mixture in the center of each square. Bring the four corners of the dough together in the middle, pinch and twist the dough to seal. Small gaps will remain in the seams.

4. Place them on the baking sheets about 1-inch apart and bake for 10-to-13 minutes or until golden brown.

Apron Strings Tips: Garnish with a small dollop of sour cream on top.

 

Cheeseburger Burger Bombs

These are “the bomb” my 9-year-old told me this weekend when she ate five of these! I use the large-sized biscuits for this recipe. Serve them with ketchup, barbecue sauce or steak sauce to dip them in.

Ingredients:

1 (16.3-oz.) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/4 c. yellow onion, diced

1 (8-oz.) pkg. mild cheddar cheese cubes

16 slices bacon

Cocktail toothpicks

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line another baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Brown ground beef and onion, drain if necessary. Leave ground beef coarsely chopped. While beef is browning, place bacon on the aluminum foil lined sheet. Bake bacon about 8 minutes, just partially cooking it. Remove from oven, dab with paper towel and set aside. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Separate biscuits and cut in half to make 16 pieces. Press each piece into a circle with your hands.

4. In the middle of each biscuit, put 2 tablespoons of ground beef and 1 cheese cube. Pull dough around filling and seal completely, including seams. Wrap each bomb with one slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick poked completely through. Place on baking sheet, seam side down, about 2 inches apart.

5. Bake for 18-to-20 minutes or until dough golden brown and baked is cooked.

Apron Strings Tips: You can also make these with Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Bomb by using pieces of cooked chicken breast and mozzarella cheese cubes with ranch dressing for a dipping sauce.

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