December 12, 2016

‘Tis the season for holiday eating - whether you look forward to the sweets, the party appetizers or the traditional Christmas dinner. I love Christmas goodies especially the cookies, but I also love all of the party food. The holidays are a time to indulge so go ahead, make an extra appetizer or two to bring to the holiday party.

Sweet and Smoky Cherry-Jalapeno Meatballs

Meatballs are always a welcome addition to the appetizer table. Jazz up plain old barbecue sauce by adding chili sauce, cherry preserves and jalapeno peppers. The combination will result in meatballs coated in a red-hued sweet and smoky sauce.

1 bag frozen meatballs

1 bottle smoky barbecue sauce

12 oz bottle chili sauce

1 jar cherry preserves

2 fresh jalapeno peppers, minced (seeds and stems removed)

Dump all ingredients into a 6-quart crock pot. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.

Serve with toothpicks.

Cheese Ball Bites

What’s not to love about mini cheese balls covered in bacon and pecans? Add a salty pretzel stick and you have the ultimate appetizer by Delish.

12 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

8 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans

18 pretzel sticks

Mix together cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic powder, and paprika and season with salt and pepper. Form into 18 small balls and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

In a shallow bowl or on a plate, toss together cooked bacon, chives, and pecans.

Roll cheese balls in bacon-chive-pecan mixture and insert a pretzel stick in each ball.

Serve. If not serving right away, do not insert pretzel sticks and cover cheese balls with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let cheese balls sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before inserting pretzel sticks and serving.

Sweet, Spicy and Salty Candied Pecans

Nothing says Christmas like the smell of roasted nuts. Jennifer Segal has the ultimate nut mix for Christmas. It can be given as gifts, set out as an appetizer or sprinkled on a holiday salad.

1/2 cup Confectioners’ sugar

3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 teaspoons water

2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the Confectioners’ sugar, Kosher salt and cayenne pepper.

Add the pecans to the sugar mixture, along with 4 teaspoons of water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved into a sticky glaze. If the mixture is still too powdery after stirring for a while, add a few drops of water.

Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Nuts should not touch each other. Scrape out every last bit of glaze from the bowl and drizzle it over the nuts. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the pecans are crusty on top and caramelized and golden on the bottom. Immediately slide the parchment off of the hot baking sheet and allow the pecans to cool completely on the countertop. Once cool, remove the pecans from the parchment paper, breaking apart any clusters that may have formed and store in an airtight container.

Servings: Makes 2 cups

Super Simple Salami Appetizer

Back when I was in college, my roommate and I used to make ourselves a little treat in our dorm room when we were tired of cafeteria food and pizza. It doesn’t sound like much, but these little red and green roll ups are addictive and perfect for the holidays.

sliced deli salami

plain cream cheese, softened

sliced green olives with pimento


Place salami on a flat surface. Spread each piece of salami with a little bit of cream cheese. Add a few slices of green olives.

Fold each piece of salami over and fasten with a toothpick. Pile on a platter and refrigerate until ready to serve.