Quick and Easy Holiday Appetizers

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!



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.

Serves 32.



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.



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.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.