Antipasti (Appetizers)

QUICHE (PEPPERJACK CHEESE)

Quiche recipes are easy to make, and they are a savory addition to any buffet. I usually make two different versions of the quiche when I entertain. You can change the filling ingredients based upon your preference, and make any number of different recipes, using the basic custard recipe below as your base. This quiche can be made 1 day in advance, and warmed through just prior to your event.

Ingredients:
Custard:
1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream
3 Large Eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pie Crust:
Frozen, Premade Deep Dish Pie Crust
Pepperjack Cheese Filling:
1 Medium Onion, Sliced Thin
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 oz. Ham, Chopped
4 oz. Pepperjack Cheese, Shredded

Directions:
Prebake the frozen pie shell in a 375 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. While the shell is baking, sauté the onion in a skillet with the olive oil over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the onion begins to caramelize (the onions will turn a light brown color). Place the prebaked pie shell on a cookie sheet so it’s easy to move when filled. Fill the pie shell with the caramelized onion, the chopped ham and the shredded pepperjack cheese. Mix all custard ingredients together, and cover the filling with the custard mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until filling is lightly browned and puffed. Let cool slightly to set, and serve.

Q

SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP
This is often my go-to dip for parties. It’s easy to make, and the combination of spinach and artichokes, combined with the cream cheese and parmesan cheese is delicious. Serve warm with assorted crackers, fresh vegetables, etc.

Ingredients:
1 10-oz. Pkg. Frozen Spinach, Defrosted & Well Drained
1 14-oz. Can Artichoke Hearts, Drained & Chopped
1 8-oz Pkg. Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
¾ Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
¼ Tsp. Salt
¼ Tsp. Black Pepper
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese (for Topping)
¼ Cup Mozzarella Cheese (for Topping)

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, combine the drained spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, cream cheese, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well and spoon into a well greased baking dish. Top with ¼ cup parmesan cheese and ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx. 15 minutes, until hot and bubbling. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with crackers and fresh vegetables if desired.

spin dip

COCKTAIL MEATBALLS
I have made these cocktail meatballs for years, modifying the recipe with different types of jam, or adding various types of beer or liquor to the sauce. This recipe is easy to modify and definitely worth trying. It’s a hearty and delicious bite sized appetizer and there are rarely any leftovers.

Ingredients:
Meatball:
2 lbs. Ground Beef (85%)
1 ½ Cups Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 Egg
1 Pkg. Onion Soup Mix (Knorrs)
1 Stick Butter
Sauce:
1 16-oz. Jar Black Cherry Jam
2 ½ Cups Ketchup
6 Drops Tabasco Sauce
6 oz. Beer

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients (except for butter). Using a melon ball scoop, shape small cocktail sized meatballs. In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, melt the stick of butter. Place the meatballs in the sauté pan and brown each side. In a separate sauté pan, over medium heat, mix the sauce ingredients until well combined and hot, approx. 15 minutes. Drain the meatballs and add them to the sauce mixture. Simmer for approximately 1 hour, until meatballs are cooked through and flavors are combined. Serve warm. (If desired, meatballs can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for several days before serving, or can be frozen for several weeks.)

cocktail meatballs

CHEDDAR CHEESE PUFFS
This is an easy cheese puff recipe, using premade puff pastry. The finished product looks great on a holiday buffet, and the cheese puffs taste great warm or at room temperature.

Ingredients:
1 Pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (2 Sheets), Thawed
1 8-0z. Pkg. Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tsp. Dried Oregano
1 Egg, Beaten & 1 Tbsp. Water (Egg Wash)

Directions:
Roll out both puff pastry sheets on a well floured surface. Cut each sheet into 6 squares. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic powder and dried oregano. Mix well. Divide the cream cheese mixture among the pastry squares. Brush the edges of the pastry squares with the egg wash mixture. Fold the pastry over the filling to form a triangle and crimp with a fork to seal. Brush the filled pastries with the egg mixture. Place the filled pastries on a greased baking sheet. Bake for approx. 20 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven, or until the pastries are golden brown. Serve warm.

cheddar puffs

ROAST BEEF APPETIZER SANDWICHES
This roast beef sandwich is an easy dish to prepare for an appetizer buffet. It’s one of my favorite appetizers because it can be assembled and plated an hour or two before guests arrive. I generally cut each sandwich in half and use a decorative toothpick to garnish.

Ingredients:
2 Large White Onions, Sliced Thin
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
12 Onion Rolls
1 Cup Baby Spinach Leaves
2 lbs. Sliced Roast Beef
Horseradish Mayonnaise (store-bought)

Directions:
Saute the sliced onions in a skillet with the olive oil over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the onion begins to caramelize (the onions will turn a light brown color). On a decorative platter, cut the onion rolls in half lengthwise. Layer with caramelized onions, baby spinach leaves and roast beef. Drizzle with horseradish mayonnaise to taste. Top with upper half of roll and cut in half to serve. This sandwich is best when served at room temperature.

rb sands

STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Stuffed mushrooms have been a staple on my buffet for years. This is one dish that is usually empty by the end of the night. The mushrooms can be prepared and stuffed up to 1 day in advance, and can be baked the day of the event.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Mushrooms (Button Mushrooms or Baby Portabella)
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Egg, Beaten
1 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
2 Tbsp. Parsley

Directions:
Remove stems from the mushrooms, clean off the mushroom caps with a paper towel, and set caps aside. In a sauté pan over medium heat, brown onions and garlic in olive oil. In a separate bowl, mix beaten egg with bread crumbs, cheese and parsley. Add browned onions and garlic to the mixture, then stuff mushroom caps. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of the baking dish, layer the stuffed mushrooms in the baking dish, and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until tops are golden brown.

010

BRIE WITH DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS

This is another of my favorite brie recipes, adapted from a Salvation Sisters website.
It’s really quite simple, and the presentation is impressive. I have been making this for years with various modifications. (In a pinch, I use caramel sundae syrup in lieu of the brown sugar mixture, mixed with the fruit and nuts on top of the brie). This can be served either warm or at room temperature with crackers and sliced apples, pears, etc.

Ingredients:
1 Large 19.6-oz. Double Crème Brie (Alouette or President)
½ Cup Cashews
½ Cup Almonds or Peanuts
½ Cup Dried Apricots, Chopped
½ Cup Dried Cranberries
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
¼ Cup Cointreau or Grand Marnier Liquer

Directions:
Spray clear glass pie plate with cooking spray. Unwrap brie and place in the center of the pie dish. In a small pot, combine the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and liquer, and bring to a boil, for approx. 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the fruit and nuts, stirring well. Pile the mixture on top of the brie. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for approx. 15 minutes before serving. Brie can be served in the clear glass pie plate, or can be transferred to a decorative plate if desired. Serve warm with crackers, sliced fruit, etc.

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