After a year of waiting, the holidays are finally here! It’s officially time to break out the tinsel, light up your yard, and start seriously planning your festivities. If you’ve been invited to tons of parties and don’t want to bring the same old pigs in blankets or veggie trays that sit sadly on sideboards year after year, why not make snacks reminiscent of Christmas Day feasts that pack in the flavor and double the fun?
Here are a few recipes that turn holiday staples into party appetizers that guests can graze on without have to break out a knife and fork.
Pumpkin Pie Dip
It has all the flavor of pumpkin pie in snackable servings. Just take a can of pumpkin and mix with a package of cream cheese, 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, and a half-cup of sour cream. Blend your favorite pumpkin pie spices into the mixture and chill. Serve with gingersnaps or graham crackers to mimic a pumpkin pie crust.
Goat Cheese and Cranberry Tarts
Let’s face it, cranberry sauce rarely steals the show at holiday meals, but these mini-tarts will have everyone raving about your culinary prowess. Just shape prepared puff pastry into individual cups (a mini-muffin tin works beautifully), fill the bottoms of the cups with a dollop of goat cheese and cover with cranberry sauce, either canned or homemade, bake 10-15 minutes, and viola, you’re basically a French pastry chef, and cranberry gets its rightful place as a show stopper.
Ham With Spicy Pineapple Sauce
A perfectly glazed Christmas ham is a thing of beauty, but you may not want to go all out with scoring and baking one for, say, an office party. In that case, Mark Chapman, chef at L’Auberge’s Ember Grill and Wine Bar recommends adding a fun sauce to perk up a premade ham.
"Ham is a holiday staple in many households, but try having it as an appetizer with a spicy pineapple sauce for a delicious starter course,” Chapman says.
Spicy pineapple sauce is pretty simple stuff. Just combine a can of pineapple chunks with one minced habanero pepper (or less, depending on your spice tolerance), and a handful of mint leaves. Simmer the mixture for five minutes and remove mint leaves. Cut your pre-made ham into chunks, serve with toothpicks, and dip away!