Merry munchies

Dec. 16, 2010, 10:23 p.m. | By Allison Daitch | 13 years, 5 months ago

Unique appetizers that will blow your relatives away

There is no better time than the holidays to catch up with family and eat terrific food, and nothing is more special than trying out a new recipe with the ones you love. With these delicious and easy appetizers, Blazers will knock their family's stockings off. Here are some of our staffers' favorite appetizers to bring you some holiday cheer. From our SCO family to yours, here are some highly recommended hors d'oeuvres that are perfect for your holidays!

Allison suggests: Blue cheese and brie quesadillas

Blue cheese, brie and pears are three different flavors that combine perfectly for a scrumptious holiday hors d'oeuvre!  Photo courtesy of Lorena Kowalewski.

Cook time is about 25 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

- large saucepan
- skillet
- large spoon
- knife
- measuring spoons
- paper towel

- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pound cooking pears (such as Bartlett) cored, quartered and diced
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water

For the quesadillas:
- 1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled (recommended: Maytag Farms Blue Cheese)
- 1/2 pound Brie, thinly sliced
- 16 small flour tortillas
- Vegetable oil, for pan frying

For the walnuts:
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar, combined

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.
Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
Add the pears and salt. Mix well.
Cook for 4 minutes, stir occasionally.
Dissolve cornstarch in the water.
Stir the cornstarch slurry into the pears and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and cool completely.
Place 1/2 - ounce of the blue cheese and 1/2 - ounce of the Brie over half of each tortilla. Fold the tortillas over and press firmly.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Add a few of the quesadillas and pan-fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and the cheese is melted, making sure not to crowd the pan.
Pan-fry the rest of the quesadillas in small batches.
Fry the walnuts for 1 minute. Remove and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
Drain on paper towels.
Slice the quesadillas in half and serve with the pear compote and walnuts.

Anya loves: Parmesan Spinach Balls

These tasty spinach hors d'oeuvres are holiday-colored, healthy and delicious!  Photo courtesy of Allison Daitch.

Prep time is about 15 minutes, cook time is about 15 minutes. Makes about 10 servings.

- mixing bowl
- microwave
- paper towels
- whisk
- measuring cups
- baking sheet
- mixing spoon

- 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 cups Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 4 small green onion, finely chopped
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, mix the frozen chopped spinach, Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, butter, green onion, eggs, salt and pepper.
Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls.
Arrange the balls in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Molly recommends: Sugar coated pecans

We're honestly not sugar-coating anything: these pecans are a fantastic, sweet delight!  Photo courtesy of Allison Daitch.

Makes about 12 servings

- 2 mixing bowls
- mixing spoon
- measuring cups
- teaspoon
- baking sheet

- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 pound pecan halves (2 cups)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Grease one baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, whip together the egg white and water until frothy.
In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
Add pecans to egg whites; stir to coat the nuts evenly. Remove the nuts, and toss them in the sugar mixture until coated. Spread the nuts out on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

Margie can't live without: Pretzel M&M's

These chocolate-covered pretzels are fantastic for any holiday snacker. Photo courtesy of Colin Wiencek.

Prep time is about 10 minutes makes 24 pretzels.

- baking sheet
- refrigerator

- 24 circular pretzels
- 24 milk chocolate candy kisses
- 1 (1.69 ounce) package mini candy-coated chocolates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place pretzels on baking sheets. Unwrap candy kisses and place one in the center of each pretzel.
Place in preheated oven 1 to 2 minutes, until kisses melt. Remove from oven and place one candy-coated chocolate in the center of each pretzel. Chill in refrigerator until set.

Allison Daitch. "Are you a mod or a rocker?" "No, I'm a mocker." I'm Allison, a.k.a. Allie. I love The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Seinfeld and Harry Potter. I could live off of Cosi TBMs and Signature Salads, with the occasional Quattro Formaggio pizza thrown … More »

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