New Year’s Eve Party Appetizers

December 30, 2008

Anyone need an idea for a New Year's Eve Party Appetizer? I love New Year's Eve Parties and I love appetizers, so this is right “up my alley”!  I'm a little more in my league talking about appetizers versus talking about pies, cakes, and cookies. I actually have several friends that call me ‘The Appetizer Queen'. (I'll take it, I've been called worse.) Whether it's a New Year's Eve Party, Christmas Party, Halloween Party or just a Cocktail Party, you can bet that I'm bringing an appetizer.

I've always preferred to host a “Cocktails & Hors D'oeuvres” party versus a sit down dinner party. And, we all know that I'm not the one in the Progressive Dinner chosen to do the dessert! Nope, my house was always the Appetizer house!

Since the party is only a day away, I want to share these first three recipes because they are better if you make them ahead and refrigerate overnight.

(I wish I had photos of all of these to show you; but like Christmas and Thanksgiving, New Year's snuck up on me too quickly to get all of these recipes made and photographed.)

Sun Dried Tomato Spread
Prize Tested Recipe from De Anne Pearson,
Austin, Texas, Winner in the Fresh Herb Ideas Category
for Better Homes and Gardens Contest 1997

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Olive oil
1/3 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. dried tomatoes, snipped
1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. snipped fresh basil
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
Baguette-style French bread slices, toasted

In medium skillet, cook garlic in oil til light brown. Add wine and dried tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain excess liquid. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine cream cheese, basil, and Parmesan cheese. Cover and process till smooth. Add tomato mixture; process til almost smooth. Transfer to serving bowl. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

(Note: I've never used a food processor for this recipe. I've always just mixed by hand and I like it because the tomatoes stay a little chunkier.)

HVR Cheese Ball
This recipe is from BigSis' cookbook! She has always called this the HVR Cheese Ball. I'm telling you; no one can ever figure out these simple ingredients, but everyone loves this cheese ball!

(2) 8-oz pkgs cream cheese
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Original Dressing Mix
2 T. dill pickle relish
1 package thin sliced beef, minced
1 c. pecans, chopped

Mix together all ingredients except pecans. Form into a ball and roll in pecans. Best if refrigerated 4 to 24 hours. Serve on a festive plate surrounded with crackers of your choice and your done! How easy was that?

I made this next one for a big New Year's Eve Party we had in Texas several years ago and they were the hit of that party!

Grilled Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon
This recipe is from The Martha Stewart Cookbook

1/2 c. olive oil
2 T. champagne vinegar or good white wine vinegar
3 T. chopped fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound large shrimps (13-15 per pound) peeled and deveined, with tails intact
5 slices very lean bacon, sliced very thin

Combine the oil, vinegar, dill, and garlic in a bowl. Add the shrimps and marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Cut each slice of bacon into thirds and wrap a piece around each shrimp, securing well with a toothpick. Grill over hot coals, or on a gas grill, until the bacon is crisp and the shrimps are cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. You can also grill them under a hot broiler, 4 minutes on each side, being careful not to burn the bacon or overcook the shrimps. Serve warm.

And, I love a good artichoke spinach dip. This one uses Alfredo sauce instead of mayo and is a lot like some of the recipes served in restaurants.

Artichoke & Spinach Dip Restaurant Style
(You can find a printable version of this dip recipe on All Recipes)

4 cloves garlic
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 oz) container Alfredo pasta sauce
1 c. shredded mozzarella
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic in a small baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat. When cool to touch, squeeze softened garlic from skins. Mix the garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and cream cheese and spread into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Cover and bake 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted and bubbly. Serve warm. This is so good on slices of toasted baguette bread or on Triscuit.

And, in case you missed one of these previous posts, BigSis and I both love to take the Cheesecake Crunchy to a party. (We can't make it to keep at home or we'll eat the whole thing ourselves.) And since BigSis is a vegetarian, these Stuffed Mushrooms aren't her favorite any more. But, these are a crowd pleaser! I wish I had a dollar for every time I've made these!

BigT does a version of stuffed peppers that have very similar ingredients to the Stuffed Mushrooms. These require a little prep work cleaning the peppers, but everyone loves them.

BigT's Peppers

15 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 pound Italian sausage
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1/2 pound bacon

Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Clean out seeds with spoon. Set aside on foiled lined cookie sheet. Saute sausage and drain. Add the cream cheese to the sausage and mix well.  Spoon into peppers and wrap 1/3 slice of bacon around each pepper. Bake at 350 for approximately 20 – 30 minutes. Put under the broiler for a few minutes to further brown the bacon, if desired. Drain on a paper towel, then serve warm.

Bo's Version of Brie and Cranberries

1 (14 oz) Brie Wheel
3/4 c. Craisins (dried cranberries)
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. pecans
1 egg
1 T. water

(What I love about this type of recipe is that you can alter the quantities of these ingredients if you want. You want less pecans, put less pecans, like more craisins, put more craisins. These don't have to be exact measurements.)

Take a warm knife and slice the Brie in half horizontally. Stuff the Craisins, pecans, and brown sugar in the middle of the Brie and enclose with the Puff Pastry. Cut off any excess pastry and brush all over with the egg wash made with the egg and 1 tablespoon of water.  Bake at 350 degrees til pastry is brown, about 30 minutes.

If you have time to be a little creative, you can make festive little cutouts out of the extra pastry to decorate the top of the Brie. For Christmas, Bo made holly and berries for the top of one brie and a wreath for the other. She said they turned out really cute! For New Year's, you could try a martini glass or a some confetti.

Counting Down to 2009!!

Counting Down to 2009!!

So, those are just a few of our family favorite appetizer recipes. I hope that this may have given you an idea for something new to make this year. If not, stay tuned! I'm hoping to have one or two more really quick and easy appetizer recipes for you tomorrow.


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