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Hot Artichoke Dip
Cheese Ball
Crab Toasties
Ingred's Best Bruschetta
Baked Brie
Cowboy Caviar
Goat Cheese & Olive Oil
Sweet and Salty Party Pretzels
Christmas Party Sausage Cheese Balls
Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini
Super Bowl Smokies
Meritage Sonoma Olive Tapenade
Hot Mexican Dip
Mexican Shrimp Cocktail
Little Pizzas - BBQ Chicken & Pepperoni
Touch Down Taco Dip
Hot Pizza Dip
Chile Verde Dip
Easy Hot N' Cheesy Crab Dip
Mini Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches
Hawaiian Chicken Drumettes
Baked Brie & Roasted Garlic
Chili Cheese Dip
Layered Nachos
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Chicken Enchilada Soup
Easier than a Jalapeno Popper Dip


Hot Artichoke Heart Dip

Contributed by Lisa E.

This recipe came from my Mother-in-law. It’s a great hot appetizer.

8 oz. cream cheese (need to use the regular kind)
1/2 c. sour cream (I use light sour cream)
1/2 c. mayonnaise (I use light mayo)
1 c. parmesan cheese
8 oz. canned artichoke hearts, UN-marinated and chopped
1/8 tsp. dill weed (or more to taste)
1/8 tsp. garlic salt (or more to taste)

Mix all ingredients and bake uncovered at 350 for 25 minutes, until slightly brown.

Crab Toasties

Contributed by Lisa B.

1 (7 1/2-oz) can crab meat, drained and flaked
1 tbsp. green onions, sliced
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 c. Mayo
1 tsp. lemon juice

sliced French/sourdough roll
shredded cheddar cheese

Combine first 5 ingredients. Spoon small spoonfulls of mixture on bread slices. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 until cheese melts/browns slightly.

Baked Brie

Contributed by Sarah J.

Jenny, Lisa and I first tried this baked loaf of bread, brie and garlic while wine tasting at Maurice Car'rie in Temecula. This is my attempt to copy their recipe. This may seem complicated, but it's really easy. You can reduce or add garlic to taste. It's my favorite appetizer.

1/4 cup garlic, minced or crushed
1 stick butter
2 tbsp. mix of Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, etc.)
1 sourdough round
2 medium slices of Brie (get the pie-shaped pieces)

Melt butter, seasonings and garlic in microwave. Cut off top of sourdough round and set aside. Remove bread from inside of round (top and bottom). Coat the inside of round and the inside of the top with garlic butter. Toast in oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 250. Cut Brie into 2-inch pieces and place evenly in round. Cover with the round's top and wrap entire round in foil. Wait until oven heat is reduced and place in oven for 45 minutes. Cut into pieces with a big sharp knife and serve.


Goat Cheese & Olive Oil

Contributed by Sarah J.

I got this recipe from my aunt. It's really easy, pretty and somehow impressive. It goes well with artichoke and spinach dip, which I think have become staples at all of our parties.

4 large heads of garlic
2 cups olive oil
2tbs. Italian seasoning mix
1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped Greek olives
1 bag of soft sourdough bread rounds

Combine garlic heads, olive oil and Italian seasoning in small casserole dish and bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Add tomatoes and olives to olive oil mixture and bake at 325 for an additional 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes and then pour over goat cheese in a large shallow dish. I usually use a pretty glass pie dish. Serve with sourdough bread rounds.


Cheese Ball

Contributed by Sarah J.

It might look a little odd, but everyone usually likes this. My family and I usually make it around the holidays because it is easy to bring to parties and gatherings. A food processor and a mixer are a must.

2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 8 ½ oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 small bell pepper, chopped
½ cup chopped green onion
2 tbs. seasoning salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine first 5 ingredients and ¾ cup of nuts. Form into balls and roll in remaining nuts. Chill thoroughly. Serve with crackers. Makes 5 cheese balls.

Ingred's Best Bruschetta

Contributed by Ingred S.

"Ingred's Best Bruschetta" is a pretty appetizer that's light and tasty. Heating the bread is optional. You may want to try cold Bruschetta in warm weather.

1 Crispy French Baguette, sliced into pieces on the bias
4 to 6 Roma Tomatoes, diced and 1/2 seeded (It really depends on how much bread you have)
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil (Fresher the better)
2 Tbsp. Light Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Flavored if you desire)
3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Dash of Coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt

Preheat oven to 350. Cut and prepare your tomatoes and basil. Let the tomatoes marinate in the basil, salt and vinegar while you cut the baguette and baste the pieces lightly with the olive oil. Toast the baguette pieces for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the efficiency of your oven. You don't want the bread to really change color, just firm up. After the baguette firms, distribute the tomato marinade equally over the baguette pieces and serve.


Cowboy Caviar

Contributed by Laura C.

This is one of my Grandma Ruth's trademark dishes. She serves it at every family gathering. It can either be an appetizer along with crackers or chips, or you can serve it as a side dish with the meal.

2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Hot Sauce
1/2 tsp. Salad Oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. Pepper
1 Firm Avocado
15 oz. Black Beans
11 oz. Can Corn Kernels
2/3 C. Green Onion, thinly sliced
2/3 C. Cilantro, chopped
1/2 lb. Roma Tomatoes, chopped

In large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic and pepper. Peel, pit and cut avocado into cubes. Add to vinegar mixture and mix. Drain and rinse beans and corn. Add them plus onion, cilantro and tomato. Add pinch of salt. Mix to coat.


Judy Macks Christmas Party Sausage Cheese Balls

Contributed by Judy W.

32oz size Jimmy Dean's Sausage
4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped celery
1 ½ cup dry bisquick
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp garlic powder

MIX above ingredients and form into balls. Can be frozen at this point. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 mins on a cookie sheet.


Super Bowl Smokies

Contributed by Sarah J.

This is the ultimate appetizer for Super Bowl and all other male-inspired events. It's easy, tastes great and men LOVE it. For most gatherings, I double this recipe.

1 package of Lil' Smokies
2 tubes of crescent rolls
Ketchup & musturd

Unroll crescent rolls and tear at perforations. Slice each triangle into four strips. Roll smokies in crescent roll slice and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Toss in a bowl and serve w/ketchup and musturd.


Hot Mexican Dip

Contributed by Lisa E.

I got this recipe from Patricia Feaster. I always used to make the traditional Seven-Layer Dip for parties, but this tastes great and is much easier to make and cheaper too.

1 block of cream cheese
1 can of chili w/beans
1 bag of shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
1 can of black sliced olives (optional)
tortilla chips

Soften cream cheese and spread on bottom of square casserole dish (9x9-inch). Spread beans on top and then cover with cheese and olives. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.


Little Pizzas: Barbecued Chicken Pizza & Pepperoni Pizza

Contributed by Lisa E.

My Mom used to make these for my brother and me when we were little and we loved them. It's great for kids, and it's also a good appetizer when you're throwing a party but not serving a full dinner.

Pepperoni Pizzas:
English muffins
spaghetti sauce
shredded cheese
pepperoni or salami slices

Barbecue Chicken Pizzas:
English muffins
chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
barbecue sauce
green onions
shredded mozarella cheese

Pepperoni Pizzas: Slice English muffins in half, spread a spoonful of spaghetti sauce on each one. Sprinkle with cheese and place pepperoni on top. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minutes until they start to brown.

Barbecue Chicken Pizzas: Cook chicken and shred it. Mix in a bowl with barbecue sauce and green onions. Slice English muffins in half and pread a spoonful of barbecue sauce on each one. Layer with chicken mixture and cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 minuts until they start to brown.


Touch Down Taco Dip

Contributed by Veronica S.

1 can (16 oz) refried beans
small piece of onion
1 pkg. (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup black olives
2 garlic cloves
1 pkg. (1.25 oz) taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small tomato
tortilla or corn chips

Preheat oven to 375. Spread refried beans into bottom of deep dish baker. Combine cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning in bowl. Press garlic; add to cream cheese mixture. Core tomato and chop. Chop onion and olives. Sprinkle tomato, olives and onion over cream cheese mixture. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes or until hot. Serve with sour cream and chips

Microwave variation: Microwave on High for 3 minutes; turn. Cook on High an additional 2-3 minutes or until mixture is bubbly around edges.


Hot Pizza Dip

Contributed by Veronica S.

1 8 oz. package cream cheese softened
1 t. dried Italian seasoning
1 C. mozzarella cheese shredded
3/4 C. parmesan cheese
1 8 oz. can pizza sauce
2 T. green pepper chopped
2 T. green onions sliced

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine cream cheese and Italian seasonings , spread onto a 8" mini-baker.

In a small bowl, combine mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle 1/2 on top of the cream cheese. Spread pizza sauce over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Top with bell pepper and green onions. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Serve with French bread or fresh vegetable dippers.


Chile Verde Dip

Contributed by Veronica S.

1 can (16 ounces) refried black beans
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Southwestern Seasoning Mix
1 lime
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, undrained
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 can (3 1/4 ounces) pitted ripe olives, divided
5 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded, divided (1 1/4 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, snipped
Baked Tortilla Chips (See Cook's Tips)
Optional: 1 can chunck white chicken (10 oz.)

1. Preheat oven to 400. In small bowl, mix refried beans with 1 teaspoon of the Seasoning Mix; spread over bottom of deep dish pie plate.

2. Juice lime to measure 1 tablespoon juice. In bowl, mix cream cheese, lime juice, chilies, garlic pressed, and remaining 1 tablespoon Seasoning Mix until smooth. Chop onion and half of olives. Grate cheese. Add onion, olives and 1 cup of the cheese to bowl; mix well.

3. Spoon cheese mixture over bean layer in pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes or until hot. Remove to cooling rack. Slice remaining olives. Snip cilantro using. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese, olives and cilantro over hot dip. If desired, arrange Baked Tortilla Chips around edge of dip.  

Yield: 16 servings or 20 sample servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 120, Total Fat 9 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 6 g, Protein 5 g, Sodium 270 mg, Fiber 2 g

For a heartier dip, 1 can (10 ounces) chunk white chicken, drained and flaked, can be added to cream cheese mixture.


Easy Hot n' Cheesy Crab Dip

Contributed by Jen E.

1 lb. (16 oz.) Velveeta Prepared Cheese Product (slice in 1 in. sections)
1 can (6 ½ oz.) crabmeat, drained, flaked
½ cup green onions
½ cup red bell pepper
½ cup Sour Cream

MIX: Cheese, Crabmeat, Green Onions, Red Peppers in large microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on HIGH 4-5 Minutes or until cheese is completely melted, stirring occasionally.

STIR in sour cream.

Serve HOT with crackers or vegetables.  *I like to make this dip at home and heat in microwave again when I arrive at party. You can make this in a sourdough bread bowl too.

Prep: 5 min Total: 10 min


Sweet and Salty Party Pretzels

Contributed by Jen E.

I love this recipe…so EASY and always a hit!

Mini Pretzel Knots -- as much or as little as you would like
Round Chocolates -- found in baking section of grocery store (or candy bins), about the size of a nickel -- you need one chocolate per pretzel
M & M's (you can use “holiday colors” for holidays)

PREHEAT oven 350°.

Arrange pretzels on baking sheet (preferably one with an edge so pretzels don't fall off)—as many as you can fit.  On each pretzel, place a chocolate in the center.  Place baking sheet in oven. 

Cook for about a minute .  This is the tricky part…too much time will melt the chocolate too much, however, not enough time and the M & M's will not stick.  So I like to look at the chocolate and when there is some perspiration on them, they are usually ready.  Take sheet out of oven.  Immediately place one M &M on each chocolate in the center.  

When you have placed an M & M on each one, put sheet in the refrigerator for about 3-5 minutes (or you can leave it in there until you are ready for the party). Remove from sheet and you are ready to go! 


Mini Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches

Contributed by Debbie M.

This is a really sinful dish, but soooo good. It's a good dish when you're just serving heavy appetizers at a party.

2 packages of Hawaiian dinner rolls
Thin slices of ham (just use good lunch meat)
Swiss cheese slices
1 cup butter (melted)
2 TBS Dijon mustard
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Sugar
1 TBS poppy seeds

Make sandwiches with 1 or 2 slices of ham and 1 slice cheese on each Hawaiian roll. Place sandwiches into a casserole dish or pan so that they are touching and packed fairly tightly. Mix together butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and poppy seeds. Pour mixture over sandwiches. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.


Hawaiian Chicken Drumettes

Contributed by Lisa E.

This recipe is from one of the ladies in my mother-in-law's sewing group. It's really easy and great for parties. The chicken just melts off the bone.

1 bag frozen chicken drumettes
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
4 TBS butter
garlic powder

Bake covered at 350 for 3 hours, basting.


Baked Brie and Roasted Garlic

By Sarah J.

This is really elegant when finished and goes well with big dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's usually a hit.

4 lg. heads garlic (at least 2 1/2 inches in diameter)
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp. coarse salt
4 (4 oz.) wheels brie
Toasted baguette slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove all but one layer of skin from garlic; do not expose flesh. Arrange garlic tightly in small baking dish. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil. Bake until garlic is very tender, 75 to 90 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Score large X in top of each wheel of cheese. Set each in small baking dish. Broil until browned and bubbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cheese and garlic cool for a few minutes. Transfer brie and garlic to large platter. Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Tip: Sometimes the garlic heads are called elephant garlic. You can usually find them at Trader Joe's or Henry's.


Chili Cheese Dip

Contributed by Sarah J.

3 blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 can chili with no beans
tortilla chips

Soften cream cheese. Use hand mixer to mix wth chili. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes and serve with tortilla chips. You can also top with some shredded cheese and green onions.


Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini

Contributed by Voiza A. & Sarah J.

We had something similar to this at the Twisted Vine in Fullerton, and did our best to recreate it. It goes well with hot artichoke dip and makes an elegant appetizer. You layer the sun dried tomato mixture on top of the goat cheese. A food processor is a must.

2 TBSP Sour Cream
11 oz. Goat Cheese
3 Cloves of Garlic
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Pepper
8.5 oz. Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil (Trader Joe's)
15 oz. Crema Mexicana (Usually in the cheese section at grocery store)
2 French Baguettes

Puree sour cream and goat cheese in food processor until smooth and spoon into small dish (we use crème brule dishes). Wash food processor and then puree garlic, salt, pepper, sun dried tomatoes and Crema Mexicana until smooth and spoon into another small dish. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Slice and toast baguettes and serve.


Meritage Sonoma Olive Tapenade

Contributed by the ladies

We had this great tapenade at the Meritage in Sonoma and the manager was kind enough to share the recipe with us. I haven't made it yet, but she said it's really easy.

Black olives
Parmesan cheese
EVOO olive oil
Italian parsley
Blanched garlic (find it in the veg section in jar, whole - brand is Columbas)
Capers (optional)

Blend it all up in a food processor. Serve with crusty bread or crackers.


Layered Nachos

Contributed by Ingred S.

1/2 bag Tortilla Chips
2 cups (2 breasts) boiled shredded chicken (low fat) OR 1 can Libby's roast beef (shred with a fork)
1 medium bag shredded jack cheese
1/2 medium white onion diced
8 oz can black beans
4 oz can diced green chillies
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 avocado diced
2 tbs sour cream or more if you like
a few sliced black olives for looks

Layer baking dish/casserole dish with your favorite chips (I use On the Border from Sam's Club), meat, beans, onion, chillies and cheese. Repeat, making a second layer. Bake in a 400 degree oven 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and olives. Serve.


Buffalo Chicken Dip

Contributed by Lisa E.

Found this on the Tasty Kitchen site. If you like Buffalo Wings but don't want the mess at a party, this is a great alternative. Super easy, can be made ahead and friends seemed to like it. This recipe makes a ton, but you could cut in half for a smaller gathering.

2 10-oz cans of chicken (all white meat, drained)
2 bars of cream cheese, softened
1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup Red Pepper Sauce (like Frank's)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 box of crackers or 1 bag of tortilla chips
2 bunchs of celery, cut into 3-inch pieces

Mix the chicken, cream cheese, Ranch, red pepper sauce and cheddar cheese. Spread it into a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 30-60 minutes (or until hot and bubbly -- it takes me at least 45 since I make it ahead and store it in the fridge).


Chicken Enchilada Soup

Contributed by Lisa E.

This is a nice and hearty soup, and relatively healthy/low in calories.

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 package (10 oz) frozen corn
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, diced
1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of chicken soup (I used the reduced fat version)
1 1/2 cups milk
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Pepper Jack cheese, shredded (optional)

In a crock pot, combine drained beans, tomatoes, corn, onion and bell peper. Place 2 chicken breasts on top of the mixture.

In a large bowl, whisk together the enchilada sauce and soup. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Pour sauce mixure over ingredients in the cooker. Cover; cook on low for 6-8 hours or in high for 3-4 hours.

Remove chicken and cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken back to the soup. Top w/cheese if desired and serve. The soup can also be topped w/avocado, sour cream or crushed tortilaa chips.

Note: If the soup is too thick, just add a little more milk or water after it's all cooked.


Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

By Sarah Jones

This recipe is a great alternative or addition to the usual Mexican appetizers. Most everyone loves it. It can be made as spicy or as mild as desired by adjusting the horseradish and hot pepper sauce. Serves tons.

2 pounds cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined (I use frozen and thaw in colander)
1 TBSP crushed garlic
½ cup chopped white onion
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 ½ cups Clamato tomato and clam juice
¼ cup ketchup
¼ cup lime juice (fresh is best)
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce, or to taste
¼ cup prepared horseradish
1 ripe avocado

Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Stir garlic, red onion, and cilantro. Mix in tomato and Clamato, ketchup, lime juice, hot pepper sauce, and horseradish. Season with salt. Cover, and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours. Peel, pit and chop avocado and sprinkle on top. Serve in one large bowl.


Easier than a Jalapeno Popper Dip

Contributed by Lisa E.

Found this one on Tasty Kitchen and EVERY bite got eaten at our last party. It's got a nice kick and was really easy.

16 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 can (4 Oz. Can) Diced Jalapenos, Drained
1 can (4 Oz. Can) Diced Green Chilies, Drained
1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, Divided
½ cups Panko Bread Crumbs
2 loaves Crusty French Bread (see Crostini Recipe Below) OR a box of Wheat Thin

Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, well drained jalapenos and green chilies and half of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Spread into a glass pie plate or oven-ready dish (I like to spray mine with a little Pam). Mix the remaining Parmesan cheese and Panko bread crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the dip. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until well browned on top and bubbly. Serve with crostini or a box of Wheat thins. Delicious!
Crostini recipe: thinly slice crusty French bread. Lightly brush with olive oil on both sides, and broil for 3 minutes per side, or until light brown.