Party Appetizer Round Up!

by Corinne

Christmas isn’t the end of parties and appetizers, so here’s the round up of the last few weeks if you’re looking for something for a New Year’s party! There’s something here for everyone, whether you’re looking for vegetarian, gluten free, fast and easy, freezer friendly or indulgent deliciousness.

Marinated Feta Dip

Smokey Caramelized Onion Dip

Three Cheese Spinach Dip

Mini Lasagnes

Pears with Prosciutto and Cheese

Caprese Bites

Pesto Tortellini bites

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Crispy Wontons with Pork Filling

Antipasto Kabobs with Oregano Marinade

 

 

 

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

By Corinne

These little apps are a hit wherever I’ve brought them. I looked into them because I thought there was another name for them – and there is, sort of. Traditionally roumaki has chicken liver wrapped in there with the water chestnut. No thank-you, I’m good. That being said, there is one problem with these, it’s FAR to easy to eat a lot of them!

Time: 5 min to prep marinade, 2-24 hours marinate, 15 minutes prep, 25 minutes bake.

Oven: 400F

You will need:

  • 1 540mL (19 oz)can whole water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1/2 cup sodium reduced soy sauce *GF as long as GF soy sauce is used
  • 1 large clove of garlic minced or pressed
  • 1 chili pepper minced or 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • toothpicks

Combine soy sauce, garlic, chili, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl large enough to also accommodate the water chestnuts. Whisk to combine. Add drained, rinsed water chestnuts to marinade. Allow to marinate overnight, or at least 2 hours.

Cut bacon in half and lay on a plate. Partially cook – about 5 min in my microwave. This saves you time in the oven and ensures you end up with crispy bacon. Drain any fat that has come off of bacon.

Wrap half of a piece of bacon around each water chestnut and secure with a toothpick. Place on a cookie sheet and back at 400F for 20-25 minutes until bacon is crispy.

 

 

Antipasto Kabobs with Oregano Marinade

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By Corinne

The nice thing about these is you can easily alter them according to your own tastes or those of your guests. Celiac or gluten free guests? Make some without tortellini! Olives make you gag? Leave them out! Like to spice things up? Make them with hot genoa! Is any pepper too hot? Consider leaving out the pepperoncinis 🙂

The bocconcini is delightful if you have time to let it marinate overnight – if not, it will still be better for having spent at least 20 minutes in the dressing.

You will need some combination of the following:

  • 10-20 cherry tomatoes, halved if using mini san marzano cherry tomatoes
  • about 20 olives
  • about 20 slices thinly sliced genoa sausage
  • mini bocconcini cheese-1 pkg about 20-22 pieces
  • about 7 pepperoncini peppers
  • canned, drained artichoke hearts- not pictured but a nice addition if you have them
  • cooked tortellini* I wouldn’t use tortellini if I was also making pesto tortellini skewers with sundried tomatoes **not gluten free if using tortellini
  • cubes of another cheese if desired- such as asiago

Marinade for bocconcini and/or tortellini:

  • 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano (yes, a tablespoon, not a teaspoon)
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook about 20-25 tortellini according to package directions if using. Do not over cook. Drain and let cool slightly.

Drain and pat dry bocconcini.

Whisk together marinade ingredients and divide marinade between bocconcini and tortellini if using. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, but preferably overnight.

I like to prep all of my ingredients for any sort of food that requires assembly like this one into little prep bowls. Half cherry tomatoes if using ones that are particularly large or if using my favourite mini san marzanos.

Using kitchen shears, snip off stem end of pepperoncini and then halve or quarter depending on size.

Once all ingredients are ready, start to assemble your skewers. It doesn’t matter what order you put them on in, however you do it they will end up looking pretty. When you get to the slices of genoa, if you fold each slice in half, and then in half again you get a nice effect.

Again, the beauty of these is that they can be totally personalized according to taste.

Caprese Bites

By Corinne

This is one of my favourite apps in the summer when basil is readily available, but if you can find fresh basil and some good looking cherry tomatoes in the winter it makes a pretty, seasonal coloured appetizer for a Christmas party.

Mini San Marzano tomatoes are my favourite variety of cherry tomato. If you happen to come across them, you must buy them. They are SO full of incredible, rich tomato flavour, much like their namesake, the San Marzano tomato.

You can generally find balsamic reduction in most grocery stores these days. I actually didn’t use a reduction for the photo, as I happen to have a good quality balsamic that is fairly thick, though not quite as viscous as a proper balsamic reduction, but it did the trick.

Bocconcini is a mild unripened mozzarella cheese. They come in a variety of sizes, and sometimes you can find them in slices as well. For this recipe, use the mini ones so they don’t overwhelm the tomatoes.

Time: 10 min

Makes: 20-22

You will need:

  • about 20-22 mini bocconcini  (this is usually about how many come in the container)
  • 10-11 cherry tomatoes, preferably mini San Marzano’s if you can find them
  • fresh basil, about 15-20 leaves
  • balsamic reduction
  • fresh ground pepper
  • toothpicks -make sure you use plain and not mint or cinnamon!

Drain mini bocconcini and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. If your basil leaves are particularly large, you can halve those as well.

Assemble your caprese bites! Slide one bonconcini onto the toothpick, follow with a leaf of basil, folded in half if desired, and then slide the halved cherry tomato on last, cut side down so they will sit nicely on a plate.

Drizzle with balsamic reduction and a grind of fresh pepper to finish.