Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Early in December, I taught an appetizer class at Life+Style.    It was a fun class filled with tasty appetizers.   Since Saturday night is New Year's Eve -- the snack night of the year -- I thought I would share these appetizers.     All make great party fare.     All are easy to make.    All can be taken somewhere or eaten at home.     

And they're not your ordinary appetizers -- so you'll be the hit of the party and have everyone asking for your recipe!

Bacon Blue Cheese Dip

Everybody loves vegetables and dip but frankly, I'm tired of dill dip and carrots and cauliflower and broccoli.   I crave something different both in dip and in vegetables.     This is a great dip with the flavor of blue cheese and the saltiness of bacon.    You could use the requisite carrots, cauliflower and broccoli but think outside the box when choose your vegetables!

Blue cheese, bacon and potatoes -- a great combination!

1 bottle real bacon bits
2 green onions
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
7 oz. plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese
1/4 t. Worchestershire sauce

Roughly chop the white and green parts of the green onion.   Add all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix until completely combined.    Chill until ready to serve.

Note:   I served these with roasted potatoes fingers sprinkled with salt and parsley.    The dip would work equally well with celery and cherry tomatoes.

Mexican Cheesecake

We've been making savory cheesecakes "forever".   In fact, the appetizers at Daughter Sarah's wedding were an assortment of savory cheesecakes.    It takes a "cheese ball" to new heights.   And surprisingly enough, each cheesecake will serve around 25.

A savory cheesecake which can be made ahead.   It can even be frozen!

1/2 c. flour
3 T. butter, softened
1 egg yolk
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 package taco seasoning mix
3 eggs
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
4.5 ounce chopped green chiles, undrained
1 cup sour cream

Move oven rack to lowest position.    Heat oven to 400.   Lightly grease 9 inch springform pan.

Mix flour, butter and egg yolk.    Press mixture evenly on bottom of pan.   Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown; cool.

Reduce temperature to 350.   Mix cream cheese and seasoning mix in a large bowl.    Stir in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.    Stir in Cheddar cheese and chives.   Pour over crust.

Bake about 40 minutes or until center is set.    Immediately spread with sour cream.    Bake 5 minutes.    Cool slightly.    Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.    Remove side of pan.    Serve with tortilla chips.

Pizza Dip

I love to talk food with Daughter Sarah and she was the one who suggested that I add this to my class.   It was, she said the appetizer in Minneapolis where she lives.    It was, she said, at every party this season and was the hit of every party.    I found a recipe on line, made it, and it was, the favorite appetizer of the class.   It's simple to put together and is so good.   I think, however, that the corn chips are the perfect dipper -- crisp (like a pizza crust) and with a slight corn flavor (for so many pizza crusts have cornmeal on the bottom).

The hit of the class.   I gave the recipe to Cass at That Old House and it was the hit of her Christmas Party!
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 14 ounce can pizza sauce
  • 1/4 pound pepperoni, sliced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • black olives, sliced
  • 2 cups Mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.    Spray a 9 inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.    Spread cream cheese on bottom of the pie pan.   Pour pizza sauce over the cream cheese, and spread it so that there is an even layer of sauce.    Sprinkle with pepperoni, onion and olives.    Top with mozzarella cheese.   Bake at 400 for 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve with corn chips.   

Meatballs in Chinese Soup Spoons

When short of time, we need all the help we can get and there can't be any easier help than frozen meatballs.    These are easy and the only other ingredient is a bottle of a store-bought sauce (your favorite). The presentation is the thing here -- if you have or can find the Chinese soup spoons, they are perfect -- if you can't, your silver spoons would work and if you'd rather not use those the meatballs speared with a straight pretzel stick, on a plate with a bowl of the dipping sauce in the middle would work.

It's all about presentation.

The easiest of the appetizers.    Frozen meatballs warmed in the oven.    A dab of chipotle mustard into each spoon, a meatball on top and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.    A one bite easy appetizer.    You could use silver teaspoons if you don't have the Chinese soup spoons.

Curried Truffles

Cheeseballs are really a party staple.   But once cut into they can look like a dog's breakfast.    Making the cheese ball into individual balls and calling them truffles takes this aspect out of the appetizer.    This is a good cheese ball recipe and you can use it or you can use your favorite cheese ball and just roll it into little balls to put in either miniature muffin papers or stick a straight pretzel in them and serve them on a plate.    And then call them truffles!

Cheeseballs in miniature -- one bite at a time -- perfect for slipping onto a cracker!
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces goat cheese
2 t. curry powder
1 T. finely chopped green onion
2 t. mango chutney
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. finely chopped dried apricots
1/2 c. finely chopped finely toasted almonds
1/2 c. finely chopped dried cranberries

Beat cream cheese and goat cheese and curry powder together at medium speed until smooth.    Stir in green onion, chutney and salt.    Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm.    Combine apricots, cranberries and almonds.    Shape cheese mixture into 1 inch balls.    Roll cheese balls in dried fruit mixture.    Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.     See what everyone else is making this Friday!



Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

yum the bacon blue cheese dip looks wonderful...think I will be trying that one!
Thanks and Happy New Year!

On Crooked Creek said...

YuM! I'm copying all these delightful recipes for reference, dear friend! One never knows when they will come in handy for serving family or wowing friends! Thanks for sharing!

Pondside said...

Martha, you posted in the nick of time! We're invited out for New Years Day supper and I planned to take a few nibblies - at least two of these will go with me, and I'm sure to test all of them!
Thank you so much for all the yummy ideas through the year. I wish you and yours all the best in 2012 - and I look forward to continued blogging friendship!

Carol at Serendipity said...

All I can say is, "Oh, my!" I shall be saving this page for a party we having towards the end of the month. It is a dinner party and we are having just appetizers and desserts!

Thank you for sharing and Happy New Year!


Sue/the view from great island said...

Perfect timing---I'm having friends over for drinks tonight and I'm just making my shopping list! Happy New Year!

Bernideen said...

oh my - they are look wonderful and very creative! I have been spending too much time and "ink" printing out Food Network recipes this week. These recipes will be added.... I would have loved your class. I wish you a very happy 2012 Martha!

beyond the peel said...

What a nice group of recipes for New Years. I love the idea of the baked fingerling potatoes for dipping! Great idea.

Cathy said...

I would like to try every one of these recipes, and I'll start with the bacon blue cheese dip. I hope you and your family enjoy a very Happy New Year.