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

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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!

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585 comments

Comments

Yvette S. says …

Roasted Pecans. Simple and easy. Can be done salty or sweet. I love taking the pecans, drizzling a little butter (or substitute), then add a little garlic salt, mix and put in oven until toasty. If you prefer sweet, use a cinnamon sugar or whatever your preference. YUM:) Can also be put in a gift tin for little presents.

Kelly J says …

Savory Beef & Horseradish Log 2 packages cream cheese 2 tablespoons butter 1 Tablespoon heavy cream, half & half or milk 2 packages dried beef (rinsed to remove excess salt & dried on paper towel then minced finely or processed in food processor) 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish (or to taste) minced fresh parsley assorted crackers Allow cream cheese & butter to come to room temperature, add cream and mix well with a blender on medium speed until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add in dried beef and horseradish, mix on low until just incorporated. Place the mixture in a line on a sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap to roll the mixture into a log shape ( narrow enough so a slice will fit nicely on a cracker) Refrigerate until firm. To serve, place on a platter surrounded by assorted crackers and completely cover the top of the log with the minced fress parsley.

Sally says …

Here's a tasty and healthy holiday appetizer that even children can help make. Snappy Holiday Cheese Ball 2 pounds sharp yellow cheddar - grated 1 medium organic Vidalia/Sweet onion - minced 1 cup walnuts or pecans - chopped 1 tablespoon organic mayonaise Mix all the ingredients abover well, form into a round, then form a well in the center. Refrigerate until cold. Then fill the center with the red pepper jelly and serve with the crackers and the celery, which can be filled with the cheese mixture. This is so easy, and everyone loves the unique and cheerful colors. 1 jar red pepper jelly 1 package whole grain crackers organic celery stalks

Laura H says …

For all the bacon lovers... Rumaki 2 cans water chestnuts, whole, drained 1 lb bacon 1/2 c brown sugar Toothpicks Marinade 1/2 c vegetable or canola oil 1/2 c soy sauce 4 T Ketchup 2 T vinegar 1/2 tsp pepper 4 cloves garlic Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl and transfer to a large zip lock bag. Add water chestnuts to bag. Refrigerate for one hour. Thaw bacon and cut into 2 inch strips. Transfer water chestnuts into a bowl and discard the marinade. Pour brown sugar into a separate shallow bowl. Wrap water chestnut with the bacon and secure with a toothpick. Roll in the brown sugar. Broil 2-3 min each side until crisp.

Lauren C. says …

Deviled English Cucumber Bites...Cut 2 English cucumbers in half that you have removed the outter peels from, hollow the small seeds and centers out of the cucumbers and set on the side. Prepare in a bowl, 10 cage free roughly chopped, hard boiled eggs, 1/4 cup mayo, 1/8 cup whole foods fresh buttermilk ranch, minced onion (to taste)and fresh ground pepper & sea salt to taste. Mix in a bowl until smooth and creamy. "Stuff" both cucumbers (4 halves) with the egg mixture. Top with finely chopped red pepper and ground paprika and cut stuffed cucumbers into bite sized pieces. Serves 20+ for about .35 cents/serving. Enjoy, they are delicious, healthy, low carb and vegetarian. Can be made vegan by substituting cooked, extra firm tofu for the eggs ,Veganaise for the mayo, and vegan ranch dressing.

Robin says …

@ Gail Schoppert I make those sausage bites as well and you are right, they go fast at parties. I mix in Tony Chachere's seasoning to give it a little spice.

Miranda says …

Every Thanksgiving, my aunt makes these Crab and Cream Cheese Wontons as an appetizer and they are a huge hit with my family. Plus they are fun to make! 1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese 1 can crab meat, drained 2 T flour 3 scallions, minced 1/4 tsp onion powder 1 egg, beaten oil for deep fryer Wonton Wrappers Finely mince the scallions. Combine with cream cheese, crab meat, and flour. Beat the egg in a small bowl - this will be used to brush the edges of the wonton wrappers before folding, and helps to keep them together. Place large tablespoonfuls of the crab mixture in the center of each wonton skin and brush edges with egg mixture. Fold over to form a triangle, then press edges together to seal. Bring the two side edge corners of the triangle to the middle and press these together to form a ring. Heat oil to 350 degrees in a large, heavy bottomed pan, sufficient to cover the wontons. Fry wontons until golden, turning once, about 2-3 minutes. In order to avoid lowering the temperature of the oil, do not attempt to fry too many at once. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels and serve.

Nancy Jonas says …

My new favorite "small bite" is: Sliced prosciuto, spread with boisin herb flavored cheese wrapped around approximately three blanched aspergus spears.

Sue Clarke says …

When I make this cheese dip people rave. It is always gone quickly and everyone wants the recipe. It is very simple. Grate 2 cups of gyure cheese and mix with 2 cups light or fat free mayo and one medium onion sliced and each slice quarted. Put into oven safe dish and bake for 45 minutes on 350 or until slightly browned and bubbly. Serve with pita chips, Stacy chips or melba toast.

Anita Lapertosa says …

Whole foods chocolate chip peanut butter on whole foods banana chips topped with a carob chip. Simple delicious and a good value.

Lynna Stubbs says …

Festive Black Bean Dip 1 can of black beans, drained 1 chopped red bell pepper 2-3 green onions, chopped 1 block of crumbled feta cheese 1 small bottle of wishbone italian dressing Combine all and marinate overnight. Serve with Fritos Scoops.

Samantha D. says …

For informal impromptu gatherings at my home, I cut cheddar cheese into small cubes, skewer each one on a cocktail stick, & top with a pimiento-stuffed olive; this simple & colorful offering with its lively combination of tastes is always received with delight.

Raeshel says …

Easy Stuffed Mushrooms 1 pound of white mushrooms 1 Tube of pork sausage 1 package of cream cheese 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder 1/4 tsp red pepper(more if you like a real kick) Wash and de-stem mushrooms and set aside. Over medium heat combine other ingredients in frying pan. Crumble sausage and continue to stir mixture. Cook throughly but do not brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Stuff mushroom caps with sausage mixture and place on a cookie sheet mixture side up. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and cook for 18 - 22 minutes until mushrooms are cooked throughly. Best served warm. *You can prepare these the day before and then cook in in the oven when ready. **I sometimes garnish these with fresh Parmesan if I have it for added umph and a crispy top.

Jamie T says …

We found this dip a few years ago and everywhere I take it people fall in love! 1 8oz package of cream cheese-softened 1 8oz sour cream 3 tblspoons of taco seasoning 1 Mango chopped 1 can of black beans drained and rinsed Cilantro (to your liking-we love it so it gets piled on) chopped bell peppers (I am allergic to peppers so these go to the side) Homemade tortilla chips with limejuice and salt sprinkled over them (toasted tortillas) Combine the taco seasoning, sour cream and cream cheese. Spread on a serving plate. Mix the other ingredients in a bowl to combine the colors and sprinkle on top of the cream cheese mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour. Now I'm hungry :)

Lauren says …

If you need to whip up something quick, place a block of cream cheese on a festive holiday plate, pour cocktail sauce to cover the cream cheese, and top with canned crab meat. Use crackers or chips to dip in the inexpensive but decedent treat. The red cocktail sauce adds festive coloring for your holiday table.

mmm_in_ma says …

La Brea Tar Pit Chicken Wings 1 cup soy sauce (low sodium is OK) ½ cup hearty red wine (cheap is OK) 9 tbsp. sugar ¼ tsp. dry ginger (more if you love ginger) 2 packages chicken wings (approx. 24) Preheat oven to 375° F Cut wings into 3s (use tips for stock); put into a 9 x 13 foil-lined pan Mix other ingredients over low heat until sugar is dissolved; pour over wings Bake for 45 minutes, turn and check after another 30 or 45 minutes The recipe got its name from the La Brea Tar Pits because I was living in LA when I started making them. The sauce doesn’t have to be thick, sticky or look like tar to be delicious … but the name stuck.

Shava Nerad says …

One of my favorite small bites - fast and cheap -- is to pick a variety of small canape crackers, and put cheese and fruit on each in combinations. Some great combinations: sharp cheddar and guava jelly blue cheese and dried fig or fig jam havarti and tart apple swiss and olive or eggplant tapenade With a variety of crackers (and, you can find a lot of canape cracker that come with many shapes to a box -- it doesn't have to be five boxes!), and a little artful presentation, and some small chunks of cheese or pieces of fruit or preserves, you can give an impression of huge variety and abundance on a small budget.

molly Braun says …

Slice a baguette. Brush each slice lightly with olive oil and broil. Top each toast with a fig spread and a piece of manchego cheese.

Maria Garcia says …

an easy and delicious holiday appetizer is: bacon wrapped dates All you need are dates and bacon preheat the oven to 450 cut a bacon slice in half and wrap one half around one date, secure with a toothpick. Make as many as you like. Bake in oven for about 10-15 minutes until bacon is as done and crispy as you like. DELICIOUS!!

Reba C McLendon says …

My three bean salad is to die for!

Shannon says …

a great simple more modern version of the "chip and dip" is tortellini with pesto cream sauce. i simply boil a pack of tortellini (refrigerated ones boil quicker) and then, on the side, mix sour cream or cream fraiche with some ready-made pesto. Serve the tortellinis on a platter with the pesto dip in a cute little bowl in the middle for dipping. you can garnish with roasted red peppers in the dip if you like or serve with raw red peppers for dipping! Yum!

Monica Thomas says …

One of our favorite, inexpensive, super fast and extremely tasty finger food appetizers or Cream Cheese and Jalapeno Roll-ups. Ingredients: Whole Wheat wraps, cream cheese, chopped jalapenos. 1. Take a whole wheat wrap. 2. Spread with cream cheese. 3. Sprinkle with chopped jalapenos. 4. Roll and Slice into bite sized slices. 5. Serve with a smile and make more. :o)

Robert L says …

For the holidays, family and friends alike love this simple yet delicious appetizer. == Whole Foods rosemary crostini with goat cheese. == It's simple, inexpensive and our guests can't stop eating them!

Jennifer R. says …

Slice of dill Havarti cheese on a cracker of your choice (I like Triscuits), with a slice of peeled cucumber on top. Quick, easy, delicious, refreshing, and inexpensive.

Susanne W. says …

One of our favorite small bites are dates filled with a bit of 365 cream cheese and herbs. We serve it two ways. You can either make an X in the date and fill in the top with the cream cheese/herbs or slice the dates in half and place a bit of the cream cheese herb mixture in the center (much more economical). You can mix the cream cheese with chopped parsley or dill or even basil, whatever takes your fancy. And use your cream cheese sparingly. You only need a little bit to make this special. If you prefer any of the flavored cheese mixes at whole foods, feel free to substitute. Either way it's a rich appetizer for very little cost.

Danielle says …

Almond Stuffed Dates are a great, tasty, healthy appetizer that only LOOK expensive! All you need are some pitted dates, almonds and powdered sugar (optional). Carefully stuff each date with two almonds--one in each end. For a bit of a sweeter treat, roll each stuffed date in some powdered sugar until coated. Arrange beautifully on a plate and serve!

nancy r says …

this is a great dip served with stacys pita chips or with torn pieces of pita bread, toasted. mix together two 16-oz containers of sour cream and one container of humus in a shallow but large bowl spread this across the bottom chop up one small jar of artichoke hearts and spread on top next shred one large carrot - spread on top next crumble a small log of goat cheese then chop up 12-16 calamata olives and spread on top drizzle with olive oil options - chopped cucumbers, chopped roasted red peppers

Ruth B says …

Slice a dozen or more cherry tomatos in half. Carefully spoon out the seeds and juice and freeze for use in soups or sauces. Fill each cup with hummous or chived cream cheese. Sprinkle the tops with finely chopped parsley and place the cups on a bed of dark green lettuce or spinach leaves and enjoy!

Lisa says …

These little bites are the perfect party food, because they taste even better cold. The tea is the key ingredient, brew it to your liking. The stronger the tea, the more intense the flavor. Ingredients 1 lb salmon filet, skinless and deboned, cut into 1.5 in cubes Poaching Liquid: 1 cup strong black lychee tea (or other black tea) 1 inch section of fresh ginger root, sliced 1/4 cup of soy sauce 1 1/2 sticks brown sugar or 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed 1 tsp ginger powder (or more, to taste) Dipping Sauce: 1/2 cup poaching liquid (after cooking salmon) 1/8 cup maple syrup 1 tbsp white sugar 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 1 tsp ginger powder 2 cloves minced garlic Directions Combine poaching liquid ingredients into a shallow skillet and bring to a boil. Lower heat to med-low and put in salmon cubes Poach over med-low heat for 3 minutes. Flip cubes once and continue poaching another 2 minutes until done through. Remove salmon from heat/liquid. Reserve 1/2 cup poaching liquid and discard of the rest. Add the remaining dipping sauce ingredients into pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and let simmer until sauce is thick. Allow sauce to cool 10 minutes. Insert toothpicks into salmon cubes and serve with the dipping sauce.

Judie says …

This is just a bit messy to make but fun, easy and very inexpensive. I call the pepperoncini polenta poppers. 1 jar pepperoncini 1 tube or prepared polenta or package of instant polenta ricotta cheese Mix the 1 part ricotta:2 parts polenta. Stuff into the pepperoncini. Serve. That's it. you can add some cut up basil or bacon - but not needed.

Jackie says …

My favorite easy recipe is SO good and it goes FAST! Take dates, slit them down one side (make sure the pit is out) and put in a slice of water chestnut and a small amount of ricotta cheese. Close the date, wrap it with a small piece of bacon. Put a toothpick thru it. Put it in the oven at 400. Check it after maybe 20 minutes. Take the pan out, flip the date so the other side of the bacon gets cooked too. Serve almost immediately! They get cold quickly...but they are REALLY hot when they come out of the oven, so be careful!

Ronda Giangreco says …

Feta Dill Puffs 1 pkg frozen puff pastry 2 eggs 3T feta cheese 3T milk 1T chopped fresh dill (or 1/2T dried dill) Place one sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut a dozen rounds with a biscuit cutter. Press rounds into a lightly greased mini cupcake pan. Beat eggs with milk, dill and cheese. Carefully pour about 2T of egg mixture into each "cupcake". Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Pastry will puff up and surround egg mixture for a lovely and healthy holiday appetizer. Garnish with additional chopped dill if desired.

Gina P says …

A simple and delicious dip!! Spinach and Artichoke dip Defrost 1 pkg frozen creamed spinach, mix with one can of drained& chopped artichoke hearts, one cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, a dash or two of hot sauce, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a pie plate and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes until top starts to brown. Serve with you favorite crackers, chips or pita chips. Everyone will want the recipe!

Becky Ryan says …

I make the following recipe year round but even more often at holiday time. Everyone loves them and they are inexpensive to make. Bacon Bites 1 pound bacon (not the thick kind) 8 oz. cream cheese 1 loaf bread, thin sliced Heat oven to 350. Cut bacon in half (easiest to do while still in package – I use scissors). Toast bread and spread with cream cheese. Cut crust off bread. Cut bread in thirds. Place bread (with cream cheese) on ½ slice of bacon and roll up and secure with toothpick. Bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes or until desired crispness. Can be made the night before and heated up for a couple of minutes in the microwave. NOTE: Use a rimmed baking sheet so the grease won’t go everywhere. I also line the baking sheet with lots of foil for easy clean up.

Suvir Venkataraman says …

Quick and easy bruschetta. Chop a few tasty tomatoes, some garlic, a small white onion and tear up a good heap of fresh basil. Mix all of these in a bowl, with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Allow to marinade for a little while (10-20 mins) in the fridge. Slice a baguette or other crusty bread fairly thin. Toast the slices in an oven until crispy. Serve with the tomato mix and some spoons…=) If you are being indulgent add some mozzarella to the mix or right onto the sliced bread.

Anne Isham says …

My favorite "value item" at Whole Foods is the bulk chocolate. The quality is excellent and the price, compares favorably with chocolate that comes in 3 oz.-4 oz. bars. I use the various brands (Valrhona, Callebaut, El Rey) in many creative ways. One of my favorites is dark chocolate Spoon Fudge used as a dip or a dab with Food Should Taste Good Chocolate Chips, or, the Whole Grain Chips, both of which are scrumptious. Below is my recipe for "Spoon Fudge", which can also be heated and used as a sauce or as icing for cake. Chocolate Caramel Icing &/or Spoon Fudge (aka Foon Spudge) Use a good quality dark chocolate for this recipe. 1 ½ cups sugar 1 cup heavy cream 1/3 cup water 6-8 oz. quality dark chocolate (70-75%) such 7 tablespoons butter as Valrhona, Callebaut or Michel Cluizel pinch of salt 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Spread sugar evenly in the bottom of a small heavy-duty saucepan. Pour water evenly over the sugar. Do not stir. Swirl the pan gently over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and clear. If sugar starts to crust around sides of the pan, brush it down gently with a clean pastry brush dipped in cold water. Cover the pan tightly and increase the heat to medium high. Allow it to boil for 2 minutes. Uncover and continue boiling until the syrup begins to darken around the edges. Swirl the pan gently and continue cooking until the syrup is uniformly amber in color. Don’t allow it to burn, as it will become bitter. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir until it is smooth. Add the cream and stir until smooth. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla until smooth. (You can’t over-stir this recipe.) Pour into a glass bowl or measuring cup and stir occasionally until it is desired consistency. The icing (or Spoon Fudge) can be refrigerated in glass jars for at least a week. Serve in a small bowl with Food Should Taste Good Chocolate Chips. Spoon Fudge dabs better than it dips, so be sure to provide small spoons for dabbing it onto the chip.

Scott Risner says …

Sweet Potato-Pecan bites These are super cheap when sweet potatoes are cheap. Just take some sweet potatoes, peel and microwave for 3-5 minutes depending on size and quantity (you do not want to completely cook them but they should be near done). (I recommend stabbing a few holes in them and wrapping them in a moist paper towel. Cut the sweet potatoes into cookie size slices. Spray or oil a cookie sheet and lay the pieces flat on the cookie sheet like they are cookies that are ready to bake. Lightly sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and push a pecan down in the center. Bake for about 10-15 minutes and enjoy. They are delightful and healthy & my friends loved them!

kei sakasegawa says …

Grilled tofu with Miso graze Cut the firm tofu into 2x3 pieces. Mix miso and mirin Put the miso graze on top of the tofu and place them on the pan Put it in the oven toaster and grill for 7 min

Arnette says …

I place a block of 365 Cream Cheese on a plate, then pour 1/2 cup medium piquante sauce or 1/2 cup of jalapeno jelly (heated for about 30 sec. in the microwave) over it. Serve with garlic bagel chips, or corn tortillas that have been cut into wedges, sprayed with cooking spray and placed in the oven for 5-10 min. until crispy. Easy, inexpensive and YUMMY!

Martha says …

Not sure about the cost per bite, but these are pretty, festive and popular: Hot Brie Kisses 2 boxes miniature phyllo shells (32 shells total) or 1 box puff pastry, each sheet cut into 16 squares 2/3 lb. brie cheese, rind removed, cut into 1/2 in. squares 1/4 cup raspberry jam If using puff pastry, thaw dough and roll lightly to remove creases. Cut each piece of dough into 16 squares and fit dough into miniature muffin tins. If using phyllo shells, just place them on a cookie sheet. Fill each shell/dough square with a piece of cheese and 1/4 tsp. of jam. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes, until golden. Serve warm.

star says …

The raw ingredients of this dish are super affordable - particularly for a meat appetizer. Some prep is required, but the results are elegant and super autumnal. Enjoy! Pork Cornets with Butternut Squash, Apple and Pear Relish 1 lb pork tenderloin salt & pepper 2 tbs butter 2 cups fine diced (1/4 inch) butternut squash 1 apple, 1/4 inch diced 1 pear, 1/4 inch diced 2 thyme sprigs cinnamon to taste Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Rub salt and pepper all over pork. Roast in oven until thermometer inserted into thickest end of pork registers 150°F, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Wrap in foil then chill until cold, about 2 hours. In the meantime, prepare the butternut squash, apple and pear relish. Melt butter over medium heat, then add butternut squash. Saute for 5 min, then add diced apple, diced pear, thyme and cinnamon. Cover and cook until squash is tender. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Cut chilled pork diagonally into 1/4 inch slices. Roll up each slice into a cone shape, secure with a toothpick. Fill each cone with a small spoonful of squash/apple/pear relish.

Jeannie Fernsworth says …

Here is a simple shiny gem of a dessert bite. Needed: mini fillo shells (frozen) ricotta current jelly berries Toast fillo shells in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes at 350F Cool and fill halfway with a teaspoon with ricotta. Place a fresh berry on top, Raspberries, Blackberries Strawberries, Currants, Gooseberries or whatever you would like. Mix up an assortment for a multicolored jewel effect. Heat up the current jelly just until it is liquid and then glaze each filo berry cup with a spoonful of the current jelly. This is a blue ribbon festive bite sized treat that is not too sweet and yet creamy, crunchy, tangy and berrylishous. Easy to make and easy on the budjet and waistline.

Arlene Kreit says …

Cook 2 chicken breasts and allow to cool. Mix together a bottle of ranch dressing and a small bottle of Frank's hot sauce. Shred cooled chicken and combine with dressing and sauce. Add 4 oz. blue cheese dressing. Enjoy this Buffalo chicken dip with crackers and celery sticks. Perfect for a before dinner hors d'oeuvre at Thanksgiving.

Gina P says …

Quick and easy Pizza Dip. This is great for kids, change up the toppings for adults. 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened, blended with 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Spread in pie plate and top with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup pizza sauce and 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni. Dot the pepperoni with a few more spoonfuls of the sauce and a few sprinkles of the parmesan and mozzarella. Bake a 350 for about 20 minutes until cheese is melted. For adults or vegetarians change pepperoni to vegetable toppings like onions, peppers or mushrooms that have already been sauteed (about halfway cooked). Serve with your favorite chips or crackers.

Sue Swyt says …

Ok, a little embarrassed to share this easy recipe after all the lovely slow food recipes below. With grad school, work and family, this is what I serve on cold nights as my "desperation small bite" -- a take off on the flavors of spanish potato and cod tapas. Everyone asks for the recipe, embarassingly enough. Mini Tuna-potato cakes 1 can dolphin safe tuna, drained 1 egg (organic or local is best) 1 1/2 cups thawed Spud Puppies or other chopped potato product Pepper (to taste) Mix all ingredients, scoop or mold into small patties, fry on both sides in a lightly oiled cast iron pan until brown. We've also patted this mixture into "If You Care"-brand mini muffin cups and baked in the oven in a mini muffin pan at 400 for 10 minutes. My friends report that this cooks well on a baking stone in the oven. Good luck, happy entertaining

Elaine Galloway says …

For a festive appetizer, place cream cheese on a serving dish. Pour your favorite Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce over top of the cream cheese. Serve with pita chips and/or crackers. This is simple, delicious and disappears quickly!

Karen Simmons says …

Since entertaining can happen on short notice, I make recipes I can keep on hand for a period of time. Here are two of my favorites. 1) Lemon Dill Mustard: 2 cups Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1/4 chopped fresh dill, 1T lemon juice, 1T lemon rind - Mix well. The dill mustard added to sour cream (to taste) and boiled shrimp gets a dollop and few sprinkles of dried dill or a dill sprig if I have it and I have a tasty, elegant and economical appetizer. 2) Cranberry Sage Chutney (An easy to make and versatile recipe that is great on turkey at dinner, or on cold meats or cheese as an appetizer). It also makes a nice gift if I need a quick gift. 6 cups cranberries 1-1/2 cups sugar 1 orange, unpeeled, chopped, and seeded 1 small onion, finely chopped 1/4 cup raisins 1/4 cup slivered almonds. 12 dried dates, chopped 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger 1/2 cup cider vinegar 1t salt 1t dry mustard 3T chopped fresh sage or 1T dried Place all ingredients except 2T of the sage in a non-aluminum pan and cook over medium low heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and boil until the cranberries pop and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5-10 minutes. Spoon into one or more sterilized jars (recipe makes 8 half pints - plenty for the entire holiday season), wipe the rims clean, and seal tightly. The chutney can be refrigerated for up to 6 months. To store up to one year, process in a hot-water bath for 15 minutes. Store in a cool, dark place.

Vincent Tremain says …

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms is one of my favorites. To make the filling take one package Cream cheese at or near room temperature and place in mixing bowl. Add to it about 3 to 4 ounces of finely chopped crab meat. (For a less expensive treat use imitation crab). Use a hand mixer at slow speed to mix the crab and cream cheese. You can do it by hand but your arm will get tired quickly. Set aside. Take a couple of dozen medium sized button mushrooms and remove the stems. Place on a cookie sheet and place in the over for 8 to 10 minutes at 350. Remove from oven. You will see that each of the mushrooms has a pool of liquid in them. Dump the liquid to empty the mushrooms and dispose of liquid. Place mushrooms back on cookie sheet. Using a spoon put a good dollop of stuffing in each mushroom. Cover each mushroom with a bit of shredding cheese. I usually use medium cheddar. Place mushrooms back in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese just starts to get golden on the edges. I have never priced it out but for a very tasty treat it is relative inexpensive.

Romy Kittrell says …

Ingredients: 1 4 oz. package Chevre (not seasoned) 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature 1 head of garlic 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste 1 head Belgian endive, leaves separated 2 TBSP. fresh basil, chopped a la chiffonade Roast the whole garlic in a 425'oven until soft. Squeeze garlic cloves into food processor and pulse until smooth with sun dried tomatoes (using some of the oil from the jar to help combine and for flavor.) Add softened cream cheese, chevre, salt and pepper and pulse until smooth. Pipe or spread about 2 tsp. of cheese mixture on the root end of each endive leaf. Arrange on platter and top with basil chiffonade. Should make about 20 hors d'oeuvres.

Toni Bogolub says …

Cream Cheese Bites Ingredients 2 8-0z. bars cream cheese (light is okay; don't use fat-free) 2-3 eggs (3 for light cream cheese, 2 for regular) or use any egg substitute in the appropriate amounts 1 tablespoon granulated garlic or garlic powder I loaf bread (whole wheat is okay, but white is better), crusts removed, each slice cut into quarters Take 2 bars of cream cheese; place in mixer bowl. Add the 2-3 eggs and 1 tablespoon of granulated garlic or garlic powder. Mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Take quartered bread; spread cream cheese and garlic mixture on each slice. Place cream cheese side up on a cookie sheet. Put under broiler until top of cream cheese mixture is browned (anywhere from 2-8 or 9 minutes, depending on your broiler).(Watch them carefully; it can go from "not brown at all" to "oops, I burned it!" in just a minute.) Repeat until all the bread and all the garlic mixture is used up. Makes a whole lot of little squares, depending on the number of slices in your loaf of bread. But don't worry - one is never enough! We can go through a whole recipe for 6 people as an appetizer.

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