February 12, 2013

Appetizer recipes abound. But face it, we are all busy, right? Who needs to put in a lot of effort when time is always short? Well, here are a couple of good ideas for party appetizers to take to wherever you are invited. They will be so good, with so little effort you will want to do it again next year.

Find Out What is Needed

First thing to do is ascertain the type of appetizer required. If you are heading to celebrate with friends and were asked to bring something, find out first what they are serving, and what might be needed. Do they need something hot, or something cold? Will they need to provide utensils? Will they have a convenient outlet, if you bring a crock pot, or even enough room for one? Will use of the oven be available?

Plan Around Your Time

If you are very busy, make a plan. Do you have time the day of the party? Can you work on something just before leaving? Will you need to make something early in the day? First decide when you will have some time to dedicate to putting together something simple, and then decide on the recipe.

Little Smokies in Puff Pastry - make later in the day

If you have time a couple of hours before leaving for the party, you might try making Smokies in Puff Pastry. Allow a half hour for thawing the pastry while you are free for other things. Another half hour or less is needed for rolling them, plus a half hour cooking time. Get a package of Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets and a package of Little Smokies. Thaw the puff pastry. Leave it on the counter, out of the package for at least 20 minutes. Check to see if it will unfold, being careful not to crack it, if it is still frozen. Allow the pastry to unfold naturally. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once it is thawed, roll out the pastry to about a 14 inch square on a floured surface. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 inches wide. Further cut these strips into about 3 1/2 to 4 inch lengths. Have handy a little bowl of water. Take a Smokie and set at one end of a strip and roll up. Moisten the end with water so it will adhere and place on a baking sheet, seam side down. Continue until all the Smokies are used. Bake for about 25 minutes or until they are puffed and brown. These are nice served warm, but just fine at room temperature.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs - make ahead in Crock Pot, or later in the day on the stove.

You will need bite sized premade meatballs. If you have a good meatball recipe of your own, make them ahead and freeze them until needed. Otherwise, buy a bag or two of frozen meatballs of choice. Other ingredients are one 14 ounce bottle of ketchup, one regular sized can of sauerkraut, one can of whole cranberry sauce and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. If sauerkraut is something you turn your nose up at, please set that aside, because this odd combination is the best, ever. It can even be served as dinner for the kids too, over mashed potatoes. If using a crock pot, you can start early in the day and set all the ingredients in the pot on low, adding 14 ounces of water. Use the emptied bottle of ketchup to measure, and rinse out the bottle at the same time. Allow the ingredients to heat all day. If you prefer, this can be made in a pot on the stove. Place all ingredients in the pot and bring to a boil. If the meatballs were frozen, allow about a half hour of simmer time to heat through. If taking the crock pot, make sure there is an outlet. These do not have to be piping hot, but are great that way. It is nice to have either a serving spoon to put these on a dish, or little picks to fish meatballs out one at a time.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it was informative and helped you along your own culinary journey.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking and help pass along my love and joy of food. I would love to hear from you! Join my "e-family" and share recipes, stories and good times in the kitchen. Visit my Web site http://www.aharmonyofflavors.com/ my Blog at http://www.aharmonyofflavors.blogspot.com/ my Marketplace at or join me on Facebook. Let me know, and I will send you a copy of my monthly news letter full of recipes the latest tips.

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