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Our Favorite Holiday Appetizers

Traditionally, we enjoy appetizers all night on Christmas Eve. With the big holiday meal reserved for Christmas Day celebrations, we gorge on heavy hors d’oeuvres as we wait for Jolly Old St. Nick to arrive.  As a family of grazers, nibbling on a variety of everyone’s favorite shareables throughout the evening rivals the main event on Christmas night. Whether you are entertaining family and friends this holiday season, enjoying a few extra family game nights while the kids are home or snuggling your loved ones while watching Heat Mizer challenge Snow Mizer, we hope you enjoy some of our favorite holiday treats.

Jalapeno Dip Pinwheels

Ingredients: 1 ½ cups chopped deli meat (we love salami, but ham works great too), 1 package cream cheese, 1 ½ cup pickled jalapeno slices, 1 package taco sized tortillas.

First, soften the cream cheese. You can either microwave for 30 seconds or leave at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. Next, chop the jalapenos and meat in your food processor or on a cutting board. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Then, fold the deli meat and jalapeno mixture into the cream cheese until combined. Spread the mixture evenly on the tortillas. Be sure to leave about a ½ inch from all sides of the tortillas. After all the mixture has been used, roll the tortillas and place them on a plate. Wrap them in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Finally, when you are ready to share, slice tortillas into 1” rounds and place them on your favorite holiday platter.

Pulled Chicken Pastry Puffs

Ingredients: 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 packet taco seasoning, 2 cups salsa, 1 red bell pepper, 1 small yellow onion, 1 package puff pastry, 1 cup cheddar cheese sauce, 1 egg, 1 tbsp. water.

First, place the chicken in your crockpot. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the chicken. Then, pour the salsa over it. Chop the red pepper and onion in your food processor or on your cutting board. Place the onions and peppers over the chicken. After all ingredients are layered, cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Shred the chicken and mix well. (You may refrigerate this overnight to stuff in pastry the next day.)

When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Then, unfold the pastry sheets and cut each sheet into 9 squares. Drizzle cheese sauce down the center of each pastry square. Spoon the chicken mixture over the cheese sauce. Next, fold two opposite corners of each square over the filling and press edges to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the egg and water. Brush each pastry with the egg wash. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Finally, serve them warm on your favorite holiday platter.

Easy Jalapeno Hummus

Ingredients: 3 cans chickpeas, 2 cups pickled jalapenos, 1 ½  tsp salt, ¼ cup olive oil, juice of two limes, ¼ cup cilantro, 1 tbsp paprika, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1 tbsp liquid from pickled peppers.

This recipe is so easy. Chop cilantro on cutting board. Discard stems. Place all ingredients in food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add water a teaspoon at a time if too thick. Scoop into your favorite serving bowl.

Serve with your favorite crackers or pita.

Taco Crescent Ring

Ingredients: 1 lb. ground beef, ½ cup black or refried beans, 1 pack taco seasoning, ½ cup water, ¾ cups cheese sauce, ½ cup jalapenos, 2 cans crescent rolls, 1 egg, 1 tsp water, 3 cups salsa.

First, brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain the grease. Add taco seasoning and ½ cup of water. Then, simmer until slightly thickened. In a medium bowl, combine beef mixture with the beans, jalapenos and cheese sauce. Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll both cans of crescent rolls. Then, separate into 16 triangles. On ungreased large cookie sheet, arrange triangles in a ring so short sides of triangles form a small circle in center. Dough should overlap and look like a sun with rays. Next, spoon mixture onto center of ring, keeping the mixture closest to the center. Bring each dough triangle up over the beef filling. Be sure to tuck the ends under the bottom layer of your dough ring to secure it. Repeat around the ring until all ends have been wrapped and tucked. Make an egg wash with 1 egg and 1 tsp. water. Brush on the dough. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Garnish with greens in the center. Serve with salsa.

Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa

We know this is a repeat from Thanksgiving. But, since cranberries are only in season this time of year, we just had to repeat it. It is truly one of our family favorites. We even freeze a few bags of cranberries to enjoy this great salsa later in the year. We also often sub Splenda for the sugar to lower the calories or add a few tablespoons of minced fresh jalapeno to kick up the heat.

Ingredients: 2 bags fresh cranberries, 1 cup sugar, 2 bunches cilantro, 2 bunches scallions, juice of 3 limes, ¼ cup pickled jalapenos. Trim cilantro and scallions. Then, cut both into 1” segments for easier blending. Mix all ingredients together in food processor. Refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy with your favorite crackers or pitas or as a dip for your favorite holiday appetizer.












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