Party Apps in a Snap: Part Two

Last week I posted about appetizers that you can put together fairly quickly to bring to all those Christmas celebrations. This week's post has more appetizer ideas. These ones are easy to put together but take a little bit more time.

Stuffed mini pitas is first on the list this week. You can stuff mini pitas with all kinds of goodies: egg or tuna salad with chopped spinach, grated cheese and lettuce, Greek salad (chopped olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and feta), hummus and roasted peppers...
I made some with meat and some vegetarian ones.

First thing to do is cut the tops off the pitas. (Don't throw out the tops. Put them in the freezer and use them for bread crumbs.Seriously. I have a bag of all kinds of bread bits in the freezer that I added the pita tops to. When I need bread crumbs I run the bits through the food processor).

Set out the items that you're going to stuff in the pitas. I used quartered cherry tomatoes, sliced beef and turkey from the deli, chopped black olives, spinach leaves, diced red onion and two types of grated cheese.

I made a variety of vegetarian pitas by using different combinations of cheeses and veggies. For the non vegetarian pitas, I used different combos of meat, cheese and veggies. To make the pitas, gently pinch the sides of the pita to open it and drop in small amounts of the items you've prepared. It took about 25-30 min. to put these together including chopping the veggies and grating the cheese. You could serve with honey mustard or mayo on the side.

Smoked salmon on crackers is a favourite with my kids so I make this one at many holidays. You need a small package of smoked salmon, fresh dill, cream cheese and crackers (I prefer rye crackers). 
Cut the smoked salmon into pieces about 4 x 4 cm.Heat the cream cheese in the microwave for about 20 seconds. This will make it warm enough for you to stir it up and make it spreadable. I used half a 250 g (8 oz) pack of cream cheese for about 25 appetizers. Assemble your ingredients into a production line.

Spread the cream cheese on each cracker.

 Place a sprig of dill on top of the cream cheese and press gently so it 'glues' to the cheese.

Roll the pieces of smoked salmon (or just fold them in half) and place on top of the dill.

My next idea is goat cheese on toasted baguettes with cranberry sauce or red pepper jelly. This is really just a modified version of the smoked salmon on crackers. Buy a day old baguette at the grocery store. Slice it up and brush each slice with a mixture of olive oil and minced garlic (or garlic powder). Bake the slices at 350 F until golden....about 10 min. (I used the scissors to cut off the crusts of some of slices. And, yes, I put the cut up bits in my bag of bread bits in the freezer).

Warm the goat cheese in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Stir it up to make it smooth and put in a small serving dish. Put the cranberry sauce or red pepper jelly in a separate dish.Arrange the toasted baguettes on a platter with the goat cheese and cranberry sauce. Party guests can dollop on as much of the cheese and sauce they want.

Instead of goat cheese, you could also use cream cheese or ricotta. Other topping ideas: salsa, caramelized onions (see Shannon's post on how to make your own caramelized onions at ; guacamole; chopped green onions, tomatoes and fresh basil, roasted red peppers. If you're inclined to make your own cranberry sauce, check out this How-to video:

I have to share just one more idea. This is from my neighbour and involves cheese, of course, one of my favourite items for an appetizer. So, for this one you need goat cheese or cream cheese, minced garlic, chopped black olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped sun dried tomatoes (I say you could use chopped cherry tomatoes or red peppers but my neighbour insists that sun dried tomatoes be used), and chopped fresh basil or rosemary.
Spread the cheese on your serving dish. Top the cheese with the sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil or rosemary. In a separate dish, mix equal amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a couple of minced cloves of garlic. Pour the olive oil mixture over the cheese a few minutes before serving. Serve with crackers (or toasted baguettes, pita wedges, bread sticks, etc).

We'd like to know some of your ideas for party apps. Send us a note.
Michele, RD