If you are hosting a holiday party there’s no reason to make it harder on yourself by making dozens of elaborate dishes. These quick and easy appetizers are just as mouthwatering as fancier munchies. What’s more, they can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator until party time.
Happy snacking and happy holidays!
ITALIAN CHEESE AND PESTO PARTY TORTE
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
10 slices Provolone cheese
8 ounces pesto
3 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fine
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
Mix cream cheese and garlic; set aside.
Line a loaf pan or a medium bowl with enough dampened cheesecloth to fold over the top. Line with layer of provolone. Spread half the pesto over the Provolone, then half the cream cheese mixture on top of the pesto. Sprinkle half the sun-dried tomatoes over the pesto. Place another layer of provolone over pesto and repeat layers. Finish with a layer of Provolone, which will serve as bottom of the torte.
Pull cheesecloth over torte to completely cover. Lightly press to firm the torte and remove excess oil. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.
To serve, remove cheesecloth and turn torte upside down onto serving plate.
Garnish with fresh basil and serve with bread, crackers or pita bread.
SENSATIONAL SHRIMP DIP
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon old bay seasoning
Cayenne pepper to taste
2 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined, and cooked
Paprika for garnish
Add all ingredients, except shrimp to a food processor. Process until well mixed. Add in shrimp and process until desired consistency. Garnish with paprika. Serve chilled with crackers.
HOLIDAY BLEU CHEESEBALL
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 ounces crumbled bleu cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
3 to 4 drops Tabasco sauce
1 pinch of Cayenne pepper
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts
Mix first 5 ingredients in food processor and chill overnight or until firm.
Roll the cheese mixture into a ball, and coat in this order, parsley, cayenne, pepper and nuts.
Wrap in plastic or waxed paper, and refrigerate until party time.
Serve with crackers, pita bread or raw veggies.