With the holiday season quickly approaching, I’m guessing you have already pulled out some of your favorite appetizer recipes. You know you love those mouth-watering little treats and you know that your guests love to nibble on appetizers as they mingle.
Your holiday entertainment plans may include a sit down dinner, but if your guests are like mine, they still enjoy a few nibbles before dinner. Serving a good variety of appetizers is one way to please everybody on your guest list. But, it can be difficult coming up with new ideas, especially when we’ve grown to love our traditional snacks.
Your crockpot has been your friend right along as you created your classic appetizers, so now it’s time to put your crockpot to work once more as you improve on your favorite appetizer recipes. Those meatballs, that cheese dip, and those little cocktail wienies are about to get bumped up a notch or two!
Cheese Dip: Your classic cheese dip is tasty enough, but wouldn’t it be even better with a few special ingredients. Mix up a Cheese & Artichoke dip to surprise and delight your guests. Now, your cheese dip will be remembered!
You can also add flavorful ingredients like Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and red pepper flakes to really kick this cheese dip up a few notches. Cook in your crockpot on low for about 2 hours, and keep warm to serve with your crackers, chips, or bread.
Saucy Sweet Sausage: Those little Vienna Sausages have been a favorite in many households for many years. And with good reason – they’re fun and delicious. But, how would you like to surprise your guests with an even tastier sausage treat like a Sausage and Apple Appetizer. Cut up some apple smoked sausage, sweet onion, and some nice tart apples into bite size chunks and start them simmering away in a sauce created with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and mustard. Now that’s just the ticket to whet those appetites!
Your guests will be pleasantly surprised when they help themselves to this delicious and special flavor combination. Just mix the ingredients together well in your crockpot and put the heat on low. Let it cook for about 2 hours, or until the apple chunks and onion pieces get soft and everything is nice and bubbly hot.
Mini Meatballs: Any meatball recipe will work for this, but the sauce is what makes this appetizer recipe different from your ordinary barbecue meatball appetizer. Beer is the secret ingredient for making this Saucy Meatball Appetizer nice and tangy and full of flavor. Begin by forming the meatballs and browning them in a skillet with a little oil. Then put them in your crockpot.
Mix together in a separate bowl a combination of ingredients starting with beer. Add any or all of the following ingredients to the beer – spicy tomato juice, mustard, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, or anything that sounds good to you. Pour this sauce over the meatballs in the crockpot, turn the heat to low, and let it cook for about 2 hours or a little more until you’re sure the meatballs are cooked thoroughly. You won’t find these meatballs on just any buffet!
Pecan Snacks: A few pretty bowls of nuts scattered on tables throughout the house during your holiday gathering is always a nice touch. Instead of just pouring mixed nuts right out of the jar, how about your own special nutty treat? Pecans are often thought of as a dessert nut, so surprise your guests with pecans presented in grand Cajun fashion!
Start by mixing up a batch of dried or ground seasonings that you would typically find in a Cajun meal; spices like cayenne pepper, chili powder, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder. Put melted butter, pecans, and the seasonings in your crockpot, cook covered on high for about 10 to 12 minutes, then uncover the crockpot, turn it down to low, and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When done cooking, dump the spicy pecans out on a rack to let cool.
Don’t limit yourself to the same old appetizers you’ve made for years. Serve your guests new, tastier versions of the appetizers you know and love by adding just a few simple, yet surprising ingredients!