New Year's Party Appetizers

Appetizers that will add some cheer to your celebration.

Almost everyone has a party around New Year's—it is a time of celebration, reflection over the past year, a memorable toast to memories, and certainly making New Year's resolutions. 

Entertaining is eating, and here are a few of the recipes I have collected the past couple of months from various parties and after-work gatherings. 

Our family favorite is Barbara Pletzke's Brie with Hot Pepper Jelly. The only problem is making enough, because they will always be the first to go at parties—so we always triple the batch. They are scrumptious!


Barbara Pletzke's Brie with Hot Pepper Jelly
6 oz. Brie cheese
Red or green hot pepper jelly
1 box Atheno frozen phyllo cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove rind from Brie and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place once piece of Brie in each phyllo cup. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp. jelly. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes 12 cups. 


Cathy's Hot Mexican Dip
8 oz. cream cheese
15 oz. can vegetarian refried beans
15-oz. can Hormel turkey chili without beans
Green onions
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Put cream cheese on the bottom of an 8 x 8 Pyrex dish. Then layer refried beans over top, and then turkey chili. Top with cheddar cheese and green onions. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Can be tripled for a 9 x 13 dish, only bake until it bubbles around the sides. Serve with tortilla chips.


Chutney Almond Spread
2 (8-oz.) bars of cream cheese, softened
1 cup good quality chutney, your choice
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/3 cup chopped spring onions, plus 2 tsp. for garnish
3/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Combine cheese, 1/2 cup chutney, curry, mustard, onions, and 1/2 cup chopped almonds. Refrigerate 2 hours in a shallow dish, or pie plate. Cover with remaining chutney and almonds. Sprinkle 2 tsp. spring onions on top. Serve with crackers, sliced tart apples and celery sticks.


Marianne's Hot Hawaiian Meat Balls
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Accent seasoning
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. salt
Dash Tabasco sauce

Sauce Mixture:
8 1/2-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup beef bouillon
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped green pepper

Mix meatball ingredients together in a large bowl, and form into walnut-size balls. Brown meatballs in a skillet, and drain. For sauce mixture, drain pineapple, reserving juice. Combine juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan and gradually add other sauce ingredients. Cook, stirring until thick. Add pineapple and green pepper. Simmer meatballs in sauce for 30 minutes. Makes about eight dozen meatballs.


Incredible Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Dip
1 cup real sour cream
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 lb. bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 tomatoes, diced

Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and bacon, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Dice tomato and stir into the sour cream mixture. Serve with crackers, chips and veggies.


Chilled Spiced Shrimp
3 lb. cooked shelled shrimp
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. whole peppercorns
1 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
2 tsp. capers
2 tsp. horseradish

Cook shrimp and chill. Mix all ingredients together, except shrimp, into a sauce. Adjust seasonings to your taste (more or less Old Bay). Toss shrimp in the sauce and cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Serve with toothpicks.


Curt's Sherry Chicken Wings
12 chicken wings or drummetts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. dry sherry
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. finely minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ginger

Place all of the above in a 7 x 11 inch dish. Mix well. Coat wings to marinade, 4 to 5 hours, or overnight. Broil or grill, basting and turning, or bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes (covered for the first 20 minutes). Or, grill ahead of time, chill, and reheat in a microwave.


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