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The Value Guru Wants You...if You Want a Prize

By Susannah Simone, September 30, 2009  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Susannah Simone
pita_chips

Are you a fan of The Whole Deal in-store value guide? If so, here's a sneak preview of the special December issue we're putting together. It will focus around giving and entertaining on a budget and feature several recipes for amazing "small bites" party food that cost less than 50 cents per piece-many much less than that!

I know, I know, it seems awfully early to be talking holiday parties, but to be ready to inspire and assist you when the time comes we have to start Christmas in July, so to speak. And this year we also want some help from you! Simply use the comments space below to share your own favorite value-focused "small bites" holiday appetizer recipe that costs less than 50 cents per piece. If your favorite is selected as our favorite of all the entries, we'll send you a $50 gift card and print your recipe in The Whole Deal. But, hurry up, the deadline is October 5th!

Good luck...I can't wait to get a taste of your ideas.

And, if you haven't already, be sure to sign up for The Whole Deal e-newsletter. You'll hear from us a few times each month about in-store specials and money-saving tips…and future contests, too.

Tune in to our Whole Story blog each Wednesday in October for a special value-focused weekly contest!

 

585 Comments

Comments

Holly R says ...
I love to make spiced garbanzo beans. Just drain and towel-dry a few cans of garbanzos, toss them in a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle them with any spice combination you like, as well as a few pinches of salt. I prefer Smoked Paprika and a little cumin. At around $1/can for the beans and just a fraction of pennies for a few pinches of spice, it's cheap, delicious and healthy.
09/30/2009 7:11:43 AM CDT
Marisa Horner says ...
My mother has always made these delicate Guava Empanadas since I can remember. In fact, when my oldest daughter had her first Communion, my mother brought a pink box with these little tasty turnovers for after the church ceremony. I remember the look on my daughter's face when she opened the pretty pink box to reveal these family favorites. This year on her 21st birthday, my mother brought her another box of these for her to share with her friends and family after dinner. Mother makes the guava jam from fresh guavas her friends give her from their own guava trees of different varieties(used to be from her own trees in the Imperial Valley, but these trees did not survive a winter frost a few years back) She makes the pastry from pastry flour and cold butter. The guavas she peels, cooks over the stove with sugar and pectin as you would for jam. Then you roll out the chilled pastry dough, and use a very small buscuit cutter for each empanada. You fill with a little bit of jam, then bake at 350 for a few minutes until light brown. Of course, dust them with powdered sugar at the end but they are delicious naked as well. If you are fortunate enough to have friends that have guava trees, these little empanadas would not cost more than a few cents to make, as you would only spend money on pastry flour and butter. Of course, you will share these with those who gave you the guavas and they will be awaited with great anticipation in the years to come.
09/30/2009 10:40:27 AM CDT
Andrea says ...
I make mini-samosas. I make a double batch of pie crust in the food processor, refrigerate over night, then roll out into large rectangles the next day, and cut 4" x 4" squares. For the filling I boil a few pounds of potatoes, mash them up, saute a large diced onion, a bag of frozen peas, and a few tablespoons of curry powder. I then mix potatoes and peas together and drop spoonfuls on the crust. Pinch up the corners of the squares and seal with a little water. Bake at 375 until lightly golden. Serve with mango chutney and any other easy to make sauces. I've never even thought to price these out because I always have the ingredients stocked in the pantry or can pick the up for a few dollars. They're easy to make, affordable, impressive, and filling.
09/30/2009 10:53:55 AM CDT
sara says ...
A very reasonable appetizer is spiced homemade tortilla chips. I take a flat tortilla chip, some plain, some wheat, and some spinach, and cut each circle into 8-12 triangles. Arrange all the triangles onto a nonstick foil. Spray the traingles with a bit of cooking spray. Top with your favorite spices to include garlic powder, onion powder, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, red pepper flakes, be creative! Cook the homemade tortilla chips at 425 for 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully that they do not burn. Serve with homemade hummus! Enjoy!
09/30/2009 11:40:59 AM CDT
Elaine Whisenand says ...
Red and Green for Christmas Vegan Pizza Rolls Yield 72 pieces 6 sheets whole wheat phyllo (Phyllo Factory Brand) 1 1/2 cups pizza sauce (Muir Glen Organic Brand, 15 ounces) 1 pack soy pepperoni, diced very small (Yves Brand, 4.2 ounces) 1 large onion, diced very small 8 oz soy cream cheese softened (Tofutti Brand) 1 cup soy Mozzarella cheese, grated small (Follow Your Heart Brand; or Lisanatti Brand Shreds) 3 tsps soy parmesan cheese (Parmazano Brand) 1/3 cup fresh green bell pepper, diced very small 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (Whole Pantry Brand) Optional: 1/2 cup Pizza Sauce for dipping 1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 2.Grate cheese; dice onions, green pepper and pepperoni. 3.Mix Italian seasoning into the pizza sauce. 4.One at a time, cover each sheet of phyllo with soy cream cheese, pizza sauce, parmesan cheese, Mozzarella cheese, onions, green pepper and pepperoni. 5.Roll pastry up (like a Swiss roll) and cut into 12 pieces each sheet of phyllo 6.Place on a baking sheet phyllo side up. 7.Bake 15-20 minutes till bottoms are browned. * All brands are available at Whole Foods Market
09/30/2009 12:55:03 PM CDT
kari says ...
I like phylo with cranberry sauce in the middle.
09/30/2009 12:56:10 PM CDT
CareyJ says ...
Slice up some baguette and brush with olive oil (you can also rub with garlic if you'd like) then either toast in the oven or on a non-stick grill pan. Top with olive tapenade (either homemade or store-bought) and small piece of smoked salmon, or keep it vegetarian friendly with thinly sliced cucumbers instead. Cheap, fast, easy and tasty!
09/30/2009 12:56:59 PM CDT
Yemel Bryan says ...
Great! I always get your printed newsletter at my local store. I would like to see more vegetarian and vegan recipes. Also, more info about the "green" options you have for plates, cups, etc.. I know many people are not aware of them yet! Thanks!!!! A true WF lover!!!
09/30/2009 1:10:30 PM CDT
Galang B. says ...
When it comes to holiday potlucks, I always grab the appetizer slot because I don't have a lot of time to fuss. I start out with a few onions (thinly sliced) and carmelize them until nice and sweet, adding a bit of finely chopped rosemary near the end. Toast baguette rounds for a few minutes until they're golden brown. Spread the rounds with a little goat cheese and top with a small spoonful of the onion mixture. Easy and tasty!
09/30/2009 1:37:32 PM CDT
Bethany M. says ...
I am a college student so I love cheap and quick food! My mom made this one year as an appetizer, but I sometimes make a sandwich out of it too!! I call it Garbanzo Bean Olive Spread. Take one can of garbanzo beans and drain it, but keep some of the liquid. Put the garbanzo beans in a blender and lightly blend, it will clump up so you now have some decisions. You can add either a little bit of the garbanzo bean juice that you saved or a little bit of mayo. At the same time add between 1-2 teaspoons of soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos which is a great alternative.Start with 1 teaspoon because it can get very salty very quickly. To give a little kick to this spread finely chop 2-3 spring onions and add it to the blend. Puree the blend until it reaches your desired texture. You may have to add some more garbanzo bean juice or mayo to get it to blend. When all the Garbanzo beans have been sufficiently pureed chop up a can of black olives and mix the spread together with the olives using a spoon. You can put this spread with chips, but it is really really really good on a piece of whole wheat bread that has been lightly buttered with Organic Earth Balance. To make appetizers simply cut the crust off the bread and cut it into four squares then top with a little (seriously little, if you dice it, just put one little piece...in less you really like it...I don't!) red pepper for color! And there you are a wonderful, creamy, healthy snack for very little! Ingredients: 1 can Garbanzo beans 1 can black Olives ( I only use maybe 3/4 of the can) 2-3 Spring/green Onions Soy Sauce or Liquid Aminos (Mayonnaise - optional) (Red Pepper- Optional) Whole Wheat bread or corn chips Butter- ( only if you are using the bread) I like to use Organic Earth Balance
09/30/2009 1:59:52 PM CDT
Terri Hendy says ...
Vegan Stuffed Mushroom Caps - (No Rennet) Makes about 50 medium size caps. 1 - 6 oz. bag Horizons Organic Cheddar Cheese 50 medium size white mushrooms, cleaned with stems removed 2 1/2 - cups Panko Bread Crumbs 1 - 5.25 oz. package of Morningstar Bacon, roughly chopped 2 - eggs, beaten 1 - large, finely diced yellow onion 1 - large, finely diced red pepper 2 - cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup - chopped parsley 1/3 cup - dry white wine salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 stick butter, melted Saute bacon, onion and pepper in olive oil until tender, add garlic and turn off heat, set aside mixture. Combine all other ingredients, except the mushrooms, and then add bacon, onion and pepper mixture. Stir to distribute everything equally. Add more bread crumbs if too wet, or a little water if too dry. Fill each mushroom cap with the breadcrumb mixture and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbly on top. Serve immediately.
09/30/2009 2:08:32 PM CDT
Raven says ...
We are really partial to bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeño halves. Cut large jalapeños in half and remove seeds and veins. Soften some cream cheese and, if you like, mix it 3:1 with another of your favorite shredded cheeses. I like pepper jack in mine. Then stuff your pepper half with the cheese mixture. Wrap the whole thing in either a whole or a half strip of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Put them in a baking pan and cook them uncovered in the oven at 350 for 45-60 mins depending on how well done you like your bacon. These are also very very good wrapped in venison instead of bacon if you are lucky enough to get some.
09/30/2009 2:26:35 PM CDT
Christy says ...
Bacon wrapped dates!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are salty and sweet and pure delishiousness!!!!!!!!!! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pit dates with your fingers or a paring knive, or try to purchase prepitted dates....even better if the are organic. Cut the bacon in half and simply wrap the date in the bacon. Place on a baking sheet, look for one with sides to catch any additional bacon grease to avoid a mess. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp! If you want to go the extra mile you can make a variety...some people stuff with blue cheese or goat cheese.
09/30/2009 2:28:20 PM CDT
Dawn Simpson says ...
I love making (and eating!) appetizers. One of my go-to appetizers is corn tortillas - cut in quarters and brushed w/olive oil. Lightly sprinkle on your favorite seasonings. I typically use dry parsley and cumin. Form each piece of tortilla into a small cup in a mini muffin tin. Fill each cup with homemade spinach hummus and top with a little piece of grape tomato. Bake until tortillas are lightly browned and crispy.
09/30/2009 2:41:24 PM CDT
Ann Sharma says ...
Tuscan Fig & Gorgonzola Bruschetta 1 ½ C. of chopped fresh figs (¼ inch) and variety. 1 C. Crumbled Gorgonzola ½ C. toasted chopped walnuts ¼ C. balsamic vinegar 1/3 C. XV olive oil 1 T. Honey ½ Tsp. Salt Black pepper to taste Baguette of your choice cut into ½ slices. Chop figs and crumble Gorgonzola, place in bowl. In a mixing bowl add honey, balsamic vinegar and olive oils. Mix well, add salt and pepper. Pour over the figs and cheese, lightly mix. Spoon into a shallow bowl. Top with chopped walnuts. Serve with toasted baguettes brushed with XV olive oil or good crackers.
09/30/2009 2:45:26 PM CDT
Becky says ...
My favorite "small bites" recipe is so easy: a dab of beautiful, rich cheese (brie, etc) on a crisp cracker (rice is awesome - same for spelt!), then a dollop of jam or small piece of tart/sweet apple! That's it! You can even microwave for a few seconds for a yummy, warm treat!
09/30/2009 2:48:43 PM CDT
Amy Dowsett says ...
I like to keep it simple, but put out a few bowls of marcona almonds. they're tasty on their own, but if you want to dress them up a little more and add some flavor, sprinkle on some fresh rosemary. it's cheap, easy, and delicious!
09/30/2009 2:50:30 PM CDT
Amy Dowsett says ...
another festive idea is to take fresh tortillas and get a christmas tree cookie cutter. press the cookie cutter into the tortillas to make several christmas tree shaped cuts. then bake them in the over and serve with guac and salsa. yum and easy!
09/30/2009 2:52:06 PM CDT
Alyssa Coffman says ...
I make mini eggrolls and my kids love them. I blend hamburger and pork to make 1 pound, then add minced green onion, garlic, soy sauce, salt and a dash of chili paste. Place about a teaspoon of the mixture in a small wonton square wrapper, roll and fry.
09/30/2009 2:52:28 PM CDT
Annika says ...
I make sausage stuffed mushroom caps. They are always a huge hit at parties! 1 Italian hot sausage, casing removed 1 Italian sweet sausage, casings removed 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1.5 ounces) 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature 1 large egg yolk Olive oil 24 large (about 2-inch-diameter) mushrooms, stemmed 1/3 cup dry white wine Sauté sausage and oregano in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through and brown, crumbling sausage as it cooks. Using slotted spoon, transfer sausage mixture to large bowl and cool. Mix in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder, then cream cheese. Season filling with salt and pepper; mix in egg yolk. Brush 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish with olive oil to coat. Brush cavity of each mushroom cap with white wine; fill with 1 tablespoon filling and sprinkle with some of remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange mushrooms, filling side up, in prepared dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.) Bake uncovered at 350 F until mushrooms are tender and filling is brown on top, about 25 minutes. Note -- You can vary the sausage and seasoning to create variations. Try andouille sausage, spinach and feta chicken sausage, etc.
09/30/2009 2:52:29 PM CDT
Amy Johnson says ...
I like a block of cream cheese covered with either salsa, or any type of chutney/sauce you like. Surround it with crackers, and you've got an inexpensive, pretty, delicious appetizer.
09/30/2009 2:55:49 PM CDT
Alyce O'Keeley says ...
My recipe contribution is for a very good, very easy meatball appetizer dish. QUICK AND TASTY MEATBALLS 1 2lb bag of frozen meatballs (I use turkey) 1 can of cranberry sauce (jellied) 1 jar of chili sauce Heat 2 sauces over medium heat,until blended. Pour frozen meatballs into sauce and cook over medium heat for additional 15 minutes. They are ready to serve and and are very tasty!
09/30/2009 2:55:53 PM CDT
Bridgette says ...
Tortilla rollups: Soften cream cheese with a little milk, add thinly sliced green onions, cooked chicken cut up into tiny pieces, a tomatoe/green pepper mix cut up into tiny pieces - mix all together and spread on flour tortillas and roll the tortillas. Put in ziploc bags until ready to be served, and then just slice into bite size pieces.
09/30/2009 2:56:39 PM CDT
Chelsea D. says ...
Oven baked sweet potato chips: 1. Cut 2-3 whole sweet potatoes in thin slices (I use my mandoline) 2. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray 3. Place the sweet potatoes on the sheet (make sure they don't overlap) 4. Drizzle a small amount of EVOO over top of the potatoes 5. Sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, and Cinnamon 6. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes and enjoy!
09/30/2009 2:57:24 PM CDT
Alex Rosenzweig says ...
Medjool pitted dates stuffed with a whole almond, and wrapped in bacon. Cook the bacon half way to render it a bit. While bacon is rendering in the oven, stuff each date with a whole almond. Cool bacon to room temperature. Then wrap each stuffed date with bacon and use wooden toothpicks to lock in place. roast till golden brown for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degree preheated oven. Best served hot or slightly warm.
09/30/2009 2:58:13 PM CDT

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