• Tamara Schneider

Appetizers as easy as 1-2-3

Tis the season for parties! Whether you're the host or a guest, delicious finger foods are expected and appreciated, but who says they can't be easy as well? We've got you covered with three go-to appetizer recipes that will fit the bill.


First up, we have this tasty recipe that came to us courtesy of another blogger, Marada Chaffins, from eastern Kentucky. We have already made these and they've been party-approved.

Raspberry Brie Tarts:

Ingredients: 2 pkgs phyllo shells

6 oz Brie cheese

Seedless raspberry jam

small pkg walnut pieces


Directions: Dice the brie and place in phyllo cups. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes (just long enough to melt the cheese). Place dollop of jam and top with walnut pieces.



Next, we have a recipe from

PopSugar.com which is this adapted version of Ina Garten's recipe for Herbed Cheese Straws:


Ingredients:

1 sheet (14 ounces) frozen puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator Flour, for dusting 1 large egg 1 tablespoon water Pinch cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder 1 cup (3-1/2 ounces) grated gruyère cheese 2 teaspoons minced thyme 2 teaspoons minced rosemary 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper or a silpat.

Roll the puff pastry out into a 10- to 12-inch rectangle on a large cutting board that's dusted with flour. (Make sure to dust the top of the puff pastry and the rolling pin with flour before rolling, as well.)


In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, water, cayenne, and mustard until smooth.

Brush the puff pastry with the spiced egg wash.

Sprinkle an even layer of gruyère, minced herbs, and salt over the puff pastry.

Gently press the toppings into the puff pastry by applying firm pressure with the rolling pin.

Slice the puff pastry crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips using a pizza cutter or floured chef's knife.


Twist each strip end-to-end into a coil and transfer to the parchment-lined half-sheet pans, leaving about a 1/2-inch space between each cheese straw.


Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the straws have puffed and turned light golden brown. Flip the straws over, and bake for another 3-5 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

Serve warm, or briefly reheat in a 350ºF oven before serving.




And last, but certainly not least, we have this recipe from Food Network star and friend to the Buds, Jason Smith. It also utilizes the easy-to-use Phyllo dough sheets which we love. And Lord, honey! Be sure to check out Jason's website for his latest Food Network appearances as well as his awesome line of Country Bling clothing that would make a great present this Christmas!


Sausage Pecan Squares

Ingredients:

1 pkg Phyllo sheets

2 16oz rolls mild breakfast sausage

2 c finely chopped pecans

1 8oz block Pepper Jack cheese - shredded

1/2 medium white onion - minced

1 tsp ground mustard

1 lb. butter - melted

1 cup Balsalmic vinegar

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp honey


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Butter bottom of 9X13 cake pan

In saucepan, brown sausage and onion - crumble the sausage while browning

Do not drain fat.


Take saucepan off stove, stir in cheese and mustard

In cake pan, layer 2 sheets of Phyllo and brush with melted butter

Continue layering/buttering process until you have 12 Phyllo sheets

Sprinkle 1/3 of sausage mix and 2/3 cup pecans over the 12 Phyllo sheets

Repeat the layering process 3 more times, ending with the top layer of Phyllo

Brush top with melted butter

Bake 45-50 minutes or until golden brown


Meanwhile:

Combine Balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and honey in a saucepan over low heat until the reduction has the consistency of syrup.


When Phyllo is done, cut into 1" squares, pour balsamic reduction over top, let sit for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


We hope these recipes make your parties even more festive. And if you don't cook, you can always bring a bottle of your favorite bourbon and still be the hit of the party! Merry Wishes and Best Dishes to y'all!