Holiday Appetizers

Holiday Appetizers
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Holiday Appetizers For All Occasions

Holiday appetizers can range from purchased frozen selections to complex gourmet creations.  I have found a solution that falls somewhere in the middle, using readily available ingredients with variations to fit most holiday needs.  

Presentation is makes a big difference and it can change depending on the type of party or gathering being held. The following recipes are easy to make, use fairly inexpensive ingredients and can be served several different ways.

BUFFET STYLE:  This is the easiest way to serve appetizers because the dips and spreads can be placed in holiday bowls with plates of crackers or vegetables in between the bowls.

COCKTAIL PARTY STYLE: If you prefer passing plates of appetizers around to your guests the dips can be presented differently as individual appetizers. I have listed the variations below each recipe.

Spicy Clam Spread

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
6.5 ounce can minced clams
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. crushed capers

Drain the clams loosely, leaving a little bit of liquid. Add to a medium bowl. Combine the ingredients, and chill overnight to blend flavors.

This spread is very forgiving, and can be easily doubled. If you don't have capers you can leave them out, but I like the flavor they add. If you want to spice up this spread, even more add a teaspoon or two of horseradish.

Serve this with carrot, celery, green pepper or other vegetables. It's also good with pita chips, crackers or cut up bagels.

Note: This spread can also be made with canned shrimp or crab meat.

-This spread can be placed on tortillas, rolled up tightly and sliced into small pinwheels. Spread on the tortillas, roll, and chill for a few hours or over night, then slice.

-Place a teaspoon or so on a cracker and top with a tiny bit of herb, green onion or chive. Serve on a platter.

-Place a tsp. of spread into the "scoop" type of tortilla chip.

Holiday Appetizers

Spicy Cheesy Artichoke Dip

1 13-15 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 jalapeno, minced and seeded
2 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice *see note
2 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients and spread evenly in a decorative baking/serving dish. Bake for 20-30 minutes. The dip should bubble around the edges when it's done.  Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, or slices of baguette.

Notes: This is spicy with just the one jalapeno so beware if you decide to add more than one, or another type of pepper. Instead of lemon juice, I used a tablespoon of the liquid from a jar of zesty dill pickles. I do this frequently when I want a slight dill flavor with the tang of vinegar. Lemon juice or lime juice works fine too.

If you prefer a less spicy dip, leave the jalapeno pepper out of the recipe.

This dip can be served buffet style surrounded by tortilla chips or crackers. The variations below also work well.

-While the dip is hot, scoop a tsp. onto a cracker. Serve as is or sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

-Toast slices of a baguette, spread on a spoonful of dip and serve while still warm, or place under a broiler before serving.

-Spread the warm dip on party size pieces of rye or pumpernickel bread. Serve as is, or sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and broil lightly.


About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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