Appetizer/Snack Recipes


Chinese Barbecued Spareribs
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1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon red food coloring
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1 2-pound slab spareribs, preferably St. Louis style, cut into individual ribs

Whisk together hoisin, soy, sherry, garlic, sugar, food coloring, and spice powder in a large bowl. Add ribs; toss to coat with marinade. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap, to let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350. Arrange a baking rack on top of a rimmed, foil-lined sheet pan. Remove ribs from marinade (reserve marinade); arrange on the rack, meat (not bone) side up. Place pan on middle rack of oven; pour in enough water that it reaches halfway up the sides of the pan, making sure the water does not touch the ribs. Bake ribs for 35 minutes. Baste ribs with reserved marinade; flip and baste again. Bake for 35 minutes more. (Add more water to pan if it dries up.) Raise heat to 450. Flip ribs again; baste with remaining marinade. Continue baking until ribs are glazed, browned, and tender, about 20 minutes more. Serve with Chinese mustard or duck sauce, if you like.

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Shanghai Chicken Wings
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1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
Peanut oil
1 pound chicken wings, drumsticks and wings separated
Kosher salt to taste

Whisk together hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic, chili flakes, and five-spice powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 3 inches of peanut oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360 degrees. Working in batches, fry chicken in hot oil until the skin turns bubbly and golden brown and the meat is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, place the cooked chicken in the bowl with sauce; toss until it is fully coated. Transfer the chicken to 2 small plates; serve with remaining sauce spooned over top.

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Baked Sugar Pecans
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1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg white
2 teaspoons cold water
1 quart pecans

Preheat oven to 250 degrees (no higher). Mix salt, sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Set aside. Beat egg white and water until stiff; pour in pecans, and mix well. Pour sugar mixture over pecans, and mix well so that mixture sticks to pecans. Pour pecans onto flat baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. (If pecans are small, only bake for 45 minutes.)

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Dilled Smoked Salmon Tart
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1 (12-inch) baked thin-crust pizza crust (such as Boboli)
1/2 cup chive cream cheese
3 large plum tomatoes, cored and sliced thin
8 ounces smoked salmon, cut into small pieces
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pizza crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until hot.

Spread crust with cream cheese. Arrange tomato slices on cheese; top with salmon and red onion. Sprinkle with pepper and dill. Cut into 10 slices.

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Cream Cheese Jalapeno Crescent Poppers
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1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 jalapeno peppers
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Dice jalapeno peppers. Put cream cheese and diced jaleapeno peppers into a bowl. Add sugar to bowl and mix well.

Open the tube of crescent rolls and separate them into two rectangles; pinch together the perforations to create two rectangles.

Spread half of the cream cheese mixture on one rectangle. Spread the second half of the cream cheese mixture onto the other rectangle.

Starting with the LONG end of the roll, get rolling! Once its all rolled up, you will need to cut your log into 16 pinwheels.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet (or on parchment paper) in oven for 12 minutes.

NOTE: These can be refrigerated before they're baked... this way you can make them ahead of time and just bake them when you're ready to eat them!

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Italian Sausage Appetizer Bread
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16 ounces Italian sweet ground sausage
1 loaf (1 pound) frozen white bread dough, thawed
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar (7 ounces) roasted red peppers, well drained and sliced
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink; drain. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll bread dough to a 16 x 12 inch rectangle. Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet.

Combine cream cheese and garlic, spread lengthwise over center third of dough. Top with the sausage, peppers, olives and cheese. Fold dough over filling, pinching seam to seal. Make slits across top of dough every 2 inches. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

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Italian Sausage Caprese Skewers
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19 ounces hot Italian sausage links
1 pint cherry tomatoes, (24 tomatoes)
16 ounces marinated fresh mozzarella balls
2.5 ounces fresh basil leaves
24 small skewers, wooden or other decorative picks
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic syrup* (can substitute with balsamic vinegar) *Balsamic syrup is available in finer grocery stores.
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Cook the sausage according to the package directions for the grill or in a skillet.

Cut each sausage into 4 to 5 pieces.

Assemble each skewer alternating ingredients: tomato, basil, mozzarella, and sausage.

Arrange skewers on a platter, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic syrup.

Sprinkle with salt and a grinding of fresh black pepper.

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Baked Onion Blossom
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1 large sweet onion
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon smokey paprika
Bottled Ranch Dressing

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel skin from onion and cut off root ends. Cut through the onion from the top down to the bottom, leaving bottom intact, forming 16 wedges. Place on a 12 inch square sheet of foil. Fold up foil around the onion and place in an oven safe baking dish or pie plate; bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile combine the butter and mustard in a small bowl and mix well. Remove the onion from the oven and open the foil, folding it down to make a 1 inch high rim around the onion; crimp edges to seal. With a pastry brush, coat the onion with the butter mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and paprika.

Return onion to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until crispy tender. Pour the ranch dressing into a small bowl. Place the cooked onion on a serving plate and set the dressing bowl in the center or alongside.

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Banh Mi Bruschetta
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24 1/2-inch thick slices from baguette-style French bread
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 ounces thinly sliced ham
1 English cucumber, sliced or shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Thin jalapeno pepper slices (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

Preheat broiler. Spread mayonnaise on one side of each bread slice and arrange, spread side up, on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for 1 minute or just until starting to toast. Remove from oven; gently brush with soy sauce. Return to oven and broil 1 minute more.

Top bread slices with ham, cucumber, carrots, and cilantro. Add jalapeno slices and serve with lime wedges. Makes 12 servings.

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Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
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24 asparagus spears (1 to 1-1/4 pounds), trimmed to 6-inch lengths
24 thin slices provolone cheese (12 to 14 ounces)
12 very thin slices prosciutto (8 to 10 ounces), halved lengthwise
Cracked black pepper
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 - 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Place a steamer basket in a large skillet. Add enough water to come just below bottom of basket. Bring to boiling. Place asparagus in basket. Reduce heat to medium-low. Steam, covered, for 4 minutes. Remove asparagus from basket; immerse in ice water to cool quickly. Drain asparagus; pat dry with paper towels.

Wrap a slice of cheese and a half-slice of prosciutto around each asparagus spear. Arrange wrapped asparagus on a serving plate. If desired, cover and chill for up to 24 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with cracked pepper. Drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar. Makes 8 servings.

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Stuffed Jalapeno Firecrackers
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12 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
Cajun seasoning, to taste
12 slices bacon, cut in half

Preheat the oven's broiler with the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.

Fill the jalapeno peppers with cream cheese. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning on top, then wrap each stuffed jalapeno with a slice of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Arrange the wrapped jalapeno peppers in a single layer, face down on a broiler rack.

Broil in the preheated oven until the bacon becomes crisp, 8 to 15 minutes on each side.

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Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Peppers
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2 12-ounce packages ground Italian sausage, hot or mild
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
30 jalapeno chile peppers
1 pound sliced bacon, cut in half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place ground sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown.

Drain sausage and place in a medium bowl. Mix with the cream cheese.

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Stuff each jalapeno half with equal portions of the sausage and cream cheese mixture. Wrap with half slices of bacon. Secure bacon with toothpicks.

Arrange wrapped jalapenos in a large, shallow baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until the bacon is evenly brown

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Caprese Bites
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1 container of cherry tomatoes, washed
1 container of tiny mozzarella balls , drained and marinated in the dip
3 sprigs of fresh basil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a serrated knife, cut a small sliver off the bottom of the cherry tomato to allow it to sit on the plate. Then cut the top off of the cherry tomato and scoop out the insides. Stuff tomato with a marinated pearl-sized or larger mozzarella ball and a piece of fresh basil. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Freshly squeezed lemon juice may be used in place of the vinegar.

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Grilled Nachos
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1 13-ounce bag tortilla shells
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 15-ounce can refried black beans
1 cup salsa
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 ears corn
3 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup sliced jalapenos
1 cup black olives, pitted and halved
1 cup taco sauce
1 small red onion, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Sour Cream, for serving

Preheat grill to medium high. Place tortilla chips in an 8 X 12 foil pan. In a saute pan, add shredded chicken, refried beans, salsa, chili powder and cumin. Mix well and cook until heated through. Place corn on grill and cook, turning often, until grill marks appear, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and cut corn from cob.

To assemble and cook, spoon chicken mixture over top of the chips. Top with corn, cheese, jalapeno and olives. Place on grill and cover. Cook until cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and top with a drizzle of taco sauce, red onion and tomatoes. Serve with a dish of sour cream on the side.

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Ham And Swiss Appetizer Cheesecake
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1 cup crushed round wheat crackers (about 28 crackers)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
2 cups finely shredded Swiss cheese (8 ounces)
1 cup chopped fully cooked ham
1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red bell peppers
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 package (13 ounces) assorted crackers

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix crushed crackers and butter until well blended. Press evenly in bottom of springform pan, 9x3 inches. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add whipping cream and eggs; beat until smooth. Stir in cheese, ham, bell peppers, onions and thyme. Spoon evenly over crust in pan.

Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until center is set. Run knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 48 hours.

Remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on serving platter. Cut into wedges. Serve with crackers.

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Stuffed Jalapenos
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4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar
6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese and cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. With a small spoon, fill each jalapeno half with about 1 tablespoon cheese mixture. Place peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until cheese is browned and bubbling, about 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through.

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Portuguese Roll-Ups
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1 pound sliced bacon
30 dates

Slice each piece of bacon vertically in half and wrap each piece around a date; place a wooden toothpick through the bacon and date to secure.

Broil at approximately 400 degrees for about 5 to 10 minutes with broiler tray close to heat source. Turn and broil on other side until nicely browned. Serve hot.

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Cheese Biscuits
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1 8-ounce package shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend in the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper. Form the mixture into small balls (sort of press the dough tight to hold the shape) and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a fork or greased glass bottom press each ball down to about 1/4-inch thick. Bake about 8 minutes, or until golden brown.

NOTE: I like to make several different flavors of these by using different types of cheese such as Parmesan, Pepper Jack, Fontina, or whatever I am in the mood for that day!!

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Hot Artichoke Dip
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1 14-ounce can artichokes, quartered
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon Accent

Drain and coarsely chop artichokes. Add cheese, mayonnaise, and Accent; mix well. Put in microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring well every minute. Serve immediately with pita chips, tortilla chips, party bread slices, etc.

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Chili-Lime Chicken Wings
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1 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
4 teaspoons ground chilies (chipotle, pasilla, arbol, guajillo)
4 pounds chicken wings (preferably all drumettes)

Combine lime juice, zest, garlic, ginger, and ground chilies in a large glass bowl. Add the chicken and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1-4 hours, turning occasionally. Remove from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 10-20 minutes.

Bake in 450 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. (They are great grilled for an outdoor party.)

NOTE: I usualy double this recipe. They are always good the next day, if you have any left over!

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Fiesta Appetizer Cheesecake
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2 packages (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 package (1 1/4 ounces) taco seasoning mix
3 eggs
2 cups shredded marble-jack cheese
1 can (4 ounces) green chilies
1 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cream cheese and taco seasoning mix in mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed for about 1 1/2 minutes, or until fluffy. Stop and scrape bowl. Turn to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating about 15 seconds after each addition. Stop and scrape bowl. Add cheese and green chilies. Turn to Stir Speed and mix 15 seconds.

Pour mixture into greased 9 inch springform pan. Bake for 40 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove from oven and spread with sour cream. Return to oven and bake 5 minutes longer. Cool 15 minutes. Refrigerate 3 to 8 hours. Before serving, remove outer ring and spread top of cheesecake with salsa. Serve with taco chips, if desired.

Makes 20 servings.

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