Monday, December 7, 2009

Your Traditional Crockpot Appetizer Recipes May Need A Little Attitude Adjustment

By Susanne Myers

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.

Let's put your crockpot to work making something a little more special than the same little wienies, cheese dips, and barbecued meatballs that your guests have come to expect. It's time to go beyond those simple treats and come up with appetizers that are worthy of your holiday get-together.

Cheese Dip: This appetizer is so classic I don't think a holiday buffet is complete without a crockpot full of tasty, melted cheese. However, go one better by mixing up an Artichoke Hearts and Cheese dip to perk up your holiday table.

Add a little zest to this dip by using freshly grated Parmesan cheese. For even more of a tangy flavor use some Dijon mustard and a little Worcestershire sauce if you like. And for some "heat" sprinkle in red pepper flakes or even some Louisiana Hot Sauce. Put everything in the crockpot on low for about 2 hours or until all hot and bubbly. Put out a bowl of crackers, bread, or hearty chips to complete this appetizer tray.

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.

Meatball Bites: Those little meatballs swimming around in barbecue sauce are tasty, but are they special enough for your holiday event? Go ahead and make your mini meatballs out of your favorite recipe, but when it comes to the sauce, it's time to do something special. Beer is the ingredient that kicks this appetizer recipe up a couple pegs. This Tangy Meatball Appetizer will have your guests wondering what makes the sauce so yummy. Start by making your favorite meatball recipe, form the mini meatballs, then brown them in a heavy skillet with cooking oil. Once they're brown, put them in your crock pot.

In a bowl, create your sauce with beer, spicy tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and a little horseradish. Add salt, pepper, onion, garlic, hot sauce, or other seasonings you like. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook in your crockpot on low for about 2 to 3 hours or until the meatballs are cooked through. Now your little meatball appetizer won't be like every other one on the block.

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!

About the Author:

No comments: