WOW this is a HUGE category! I HAVE SO MANY FAVORITES!
Because of growing families with plenty of munchkins being born and in-laws to accommodate, one of hubby’s sister’s family traditions is to celebrate the weekend before as a LARGE group and then be at each respective home for Christmas itself or with their in-laws. As the family has grown, Christmas dinner became a larger and larger production. Eventually instead of a “dinner” it became a “cocktail” party with each person bringing an appetizer type dish for 20. So Christmas dinner became a HAPPY HOUR and it has worked out fantastic over the years. Everyone pretty much has a “signature” dish so we end up with a WIDE variety of everything from homemade Egg Nog to Salads and Chicken Skewers on the BBQ with plenty of tasty fudges and goodies too.
A few years back some friends took us to lunch at Jack Allen’s Kitchen when we were visiting in Round Rock, Texas and the food was SOOOOOOOOO good that I bought the cook book and have been experimenting ever since.
One of our favorite recipes is for pimento cheese spread made from scratch. I now make it in bite sized balls so you don’t have to mess with a knife and and all the cracker crumbs.
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 pound Medium Cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 large Red Bell Pepper, washed, seeded, roasted and chopped fine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Sherry Vinegar*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, Vinegar and salt until smooth.
- Blend in the grated Monterey Jack cheese and grated Cheddar cheese.
- Fold in bell pepper until well distributed.
- Chill well.
- Serve with crackers.
NOTE: *I didn’t have any so I used Golden Balsamic Vinegar
We also love to make VAMPIRE SLAYER ARTICHOKE BREAD and cut it into small bites for appetizers. OMG This appetizer replaces any entree – it’s ooey, gooey, cheesy and literally melts in your mouth all the while tantalizing your taste buds from the very first bite!
VAMPIRE SLAYER ARTICHOKE BREAD Adapted from Crumb
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 cup shredded Face Rock Vampire Slayer Cheddar cheese
½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
¼ cup sour cream
1 bunch green onions, finely minced
1 package Seattle Sourdough Ciabatta rolls
Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat broiler, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, melt the butter until foamy.
- Add garlic and green onions sauteing until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat, and stir in artichoke hearts, mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan and sour cream until combined.
- Slice the bread lengthwise.
- Place the bread halves on the prepared baking sheet, cut side up, and spoon the cooled cheese and artichoke mixture over top.
- Lightly salt and pepper to taste.
- Broil until cheese is melted and bread is hot.
- Cut each half into pieces and serve right away, while the cheese is still nice and melted.
Another of our go to “PARTY” foods that I tend to only make at Christmas time is Cowgirl kisses.
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons Foothill Salad Seasoning
1 slice bacon per pepper
Raspberry Chipotle Sauce (see below)
- Mix cream cheese and Foothill Salad Seasoning until well blended.
- Clean and remove seeds from peppers.
- Fill peppers.
- Wrap each pepper with a slice of bacon.
- Bake or grill over low heat until bacon is crisp.
- Serve with raspberry chipotle sauce.
RASPBERRY CHIPOTLE SAUCE
1 cup Raspberry Jam
2 tablespoons diced chipotle peppers
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider or rice wine vinegar
- Whisk all ingredients until well blended.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- Warm before serving.