Join Parga’s Junkyard as we Share Christmas with some of the web’s best bloggers!
December 6, 2011
Featured Blog – Parga’s Junkyard
Do you either host your own Christmas Parties and/or Open House or attend at least one during the holidays where you feel compelled to bring a dish? Do you like to find something new and exciting or do you tend to stick with the old reliable recipes your mother passed down to you?
Let’s face it, any Holiday Party is only as memorable as the food served! Well, other than the stories about who drank too much and who sat on who’s lap, that is! But what should you serve this year that will be the talk of the town as we round the corner towards 2012? What can you cook that will be any different from the rest of the parties and open houses your guests will be attending this year? Are you looking for some new recipes? Other than the usual and much used party crackers with pepperoni and cheese why not try some fresh new ideas?
I love to cook and because I was lucky enough to have a mother that is an awesome cook herself I have learned to not let any recipe scare me. I figure, if it doesn’t turn out or no one will eat it, I can always give it to the dog! LOL!!! Don’t let a fear of any recipe send you running for the fast food, microwave aisle at your grocery store! In this post I have brought together some recipe’s for you that are not only very appetizing but do not require a whole lot of experience for you to serve at your party this year.
Rice Crispie Treat Ornaments
(easy new twist on an old favorite)
Make these adorable “ornaments” by molding Rice Krispie Treats into balls then sprinkling colored sugar over each “ornament” until covered. Using a toothpick attach one rolo to the top of each “ornament”, do not unwrap the rolo as it is the gold wrapping that gives it the look of a Christmas Ornament!
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Dip with Crackers
from Six in the Suburbs
Prep time is only 15 minutes – easy recipe!
1 pkg. (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup (6 ounces) miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Graham Cracker Sticks
- In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Serve with graham cracker sticks. Yield: 2 cups.
Artichoke Spinach Dip
from Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Bake Time: 30 minutes
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1½ cups (6 ounces) finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Paprika, to taste (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Press the excess moisture from the spinach.
2. Combine the artichokes, spinach, 1¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, 1¼ cups of Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic in a bowl and mix well.
3. Spoon the artichoke mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses on top, and then sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips, crackers or vegetables.
Cheddar Ale Spread
(Adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)
8 oz. cream cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2½ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup beer (pretty much anything but a light beer)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I substituted 2 teaspoons dried)
Combine the cream cheese, mustard, cheddar cheese, cream, and salt in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds, add the beer, and continue processing until very smooth. Pulse in the parsley until just dispersed.
This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You will want to take it out an hour before serving if you do refrigerate.
Fontina-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates
An easy but delicious treat!
Inspired by The Left Over Queen
Fontina cheese, cut to fit inside the dates
Bacon, cut into 3″ pieces
1. Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Slit the dates open, keeping the bottom in tact. Place a piece of cheese inside each date. Wrap bacon around the stuffed date, overlapping the ends on the bottom.
3. Broil for approximately 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn!
Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili dipping sauce
from Budget Bytes – takes some time and not quite as easy but is do-able!
Servings Per Recipe: 6 (4 strips each)
Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 30 min.
2 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 large eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (divided)
1 cup sweet chili sauce
STEP 1: Cut off any extra fat globules from your chicken breasts. Cut each breast into 6 strips, diagonally to prevent the end strips from being really short.
STEP 2: Prepare your breading station by gathering three bowls. In the first bowl combine the flour and salt. In the second bowl, combine the eggs and coconut milk. Whisk together until well combined. In the third bowl, stir together the panko bread crumbs and shredded coconut.STEP 1: Cut off any extra fat globules from your chicken breasts. Cut each breast into 6 strips, diagonally to prevent the end strips from being really short.
STEP 3: Place 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in a large heavy duty skillet and heat over medium/high heat until it is just below smoking. You can test the heat by throwing in a little bit of flour. When it is hot enough, the flour will sizzle and create a lot of bubbles.
STEP 4: While the oil is heating, dredge the chicken strips. First, coat each strip in the flour and salt mixture. Then dip each into the eggs/coconut milk and finally coat each in panko and shredded coconut. I find it easiest to coat all of them in the flour then go back and then do the egg wash and panko/coconut for each before moving onto the next.
STEP 5: After breading the strips, the oil should be hot enough. Place about 6 strips in the pan at once. There should only be one layer in the pan and there should be about an inch between each strip. If you over crowd the pan it will get too cold and the strips will soak up a lot of oil instead of frying. Fry the strips for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy. Place them on a plate with paper towel to drain and move on to the next batch. After a couple of batches you may need more oil so you can add the second 1/4 cup to the pan. Allow the oil to come up to temperature before frying the next batch (2-3 minutes). Because the strips are thin, they should be cooked through by the time both sides are browned. You can tell by the texture of the chicken; it should be stiff when pressed. If you cut your strips thicker, you will need to bake off the chicken after frying to make sure the insides are cooked through.
STEP 6: When all of the strips are done frying, serve immediately with sweet chili sauce to dip in. I garnished mine with a little bit of chopped cilantro.
Buffalo Chicken Rolls
takes a little more time and I would class as moderately easy
12 egg roll wrappers (roughly 4 square inches)
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken (6 ounces)
1/2- 2/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 cup crumbled blue cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup broccoli slaw or cole slaw (dry)
Small bowl of water
Nonstick cooking spray
Blue cheese dressing, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay egg roll wrappers on a clean work surface. In a small bowl, stir chicken* (see note below) and hot sauce until well coated, using more or less sauce depending on your spice preference. The meat should be moist with sauce.
Begin by placing one tablespoon of the broccoli slaw on the diagonal of the bottom right corner of one of the wrappers. Next, place 2 tablespoons of shredded spicy chicken evenly on top of the slaw. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the blue cheese crumbles over the chicken. Do not overfill.
To fold: Fold the bottom right corner over the stuffing mixture so that it covers it completely, with the tip of the corner now pointing to the center of the egg roll wrapper. Fold in the bottom left corner, followed by the right, so that you now have formed an envelope. Roll the wrap upward one time, leaving the top left corner open. Wet your index finger in the small bowl of water and press to moisten the top left corner. Now fold that down on top of the filled roll, sealing it like you would an envelope.
Repeat with remaining rolls.
Place the rolls on a wire rack set on top of a cookie sheet (or just on a greased cookie sheet) coated with nonstick cooking spray. Spritz each roll evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the rolls crisp and turn a light golden brown.
*Note: To make the chicken, place 1/2 lb of uncooked chicken breast in a small pot and fill with enough water just to cover it. Bring to a boil on your stovetop, reduce the heat slightly, then simmer for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and let cool before shredding with two forks, pulling against the grain of the meat.
As I was starting to write this post up I asked a bunch of my family and friends for their ideas on some great appetizer idea’s. Here are some of their suggestions:
- Stephen (my oldest son) – Bag of sliced pepperoni – 3.50
Box of cream cheese – 1.50
Pepperoni and cream cheese rollups – priceless….. you take a pepperoni, smear a little cream cheese on it, and roll it up. You’ll be the most popular girl at the ball!
- Krista – Ham, cream cheese & pickle roll…puppy chow, chex mix, deviled eggs, fudge, choc fondue with anything like bread, strawberries-etc.
- Elaine – Rye bread w/spinach dip , pigs in a blanket,mini meatballs w/ dipping sauces
- Nikki – Cherry tomatoes stuffed with cream cheese and bacon…..SO good!!!
- Cynthia – xmas brunch: Ham, coffee cake, breads, cookies…
- Amy – A jar of salsa mixed with a container of sour cream,add shredded cheese and serve w/tortilla chips.
There are so many ideas for appetizers, both in this post now and elsewhere on the internet, but I must admit that my favorite site lately for finding ideas is on Pinterest.com! If none of these ideas floats your boat I would totally suggest checking it out!