If you’re anything like me, you probably serve appetizers as a way to “buy time” while you’re still preparing the main course. But did you know that, other than them being a way to pleasantly-distract your guests, appetizers serve the purpose of stimulating people’s appetites? (That’s literally what the word means!) One way to look at it is appetizers are a way to prepare everyone’s palate for that delicious Turkey with Gravy that you cooked for them; it’s how they get ready to gratefully receive your fine (homemade) cuisine.
Hopefully, this little bit of knowledge will inspire you to make at least one appetizer this holiday season. Or you could really go all out and prepare the following three!
Don’t forget to keep scrolling and check out all three delicious appetizers!
Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts:
What You Need:
- Brussel sprouts (as many as you want!)
- 2 teaspoons of white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Bacon (enough to cover each sprout)
- Sprinkles of black pepper
I pull out one of my stainless steel saucepans so that I can boil water to cook the Brussel sprouts in (a burner on medium heat should do the trick).
Then I pull out a cutting board and, with a sharp knife, I cut the bottom of each Brussel sprout. I also cut a little “x” into the top of each one as well. (That helps them to cook faster and more evenly on the inside.)
Then I add some white vinegar and sugar into the boiling water. Why? It actually takes some of the bitterness that’s naturally in Brussel sprouts.
I place all of the Brussel sprouts into the water and let them cook for about 10 minutes.
While the Brussel sprouts are cooking, I get out one of my frying pans so that I can cook my bacon (low-medium heat is probably best).
After I’ve fried as many slices as bacon as I need to wrap the sprouts in, I take the bacon out of the pan and immediately replace them with the sprouts (if you want to add a little butter into the pan, I totally support that!). I let them simmer in the pan for about five minutes (just make sure to not let them burn.)
Once the sprouts have been “stir-fried”, I take all of them out of the pan and put them on a plate so that I can prepare to roll them in the bacon.
I take one sprout, one slice of bacon and roll the sprout with the bacon. Then I hold the bacon in place with a toothpick. I do this with all of the sprouts.
Then I place them on my serving plate, sprinkle the sprouts with a little black pepper and serve. (They’re so yummy, y’all!).
What You Need:
- 1 pear
- 7 gm (2 tablespoons) of parsley
- 35 gm (1/4 cup) of pecans
- 80 gm (2/3-1 cup) of cranberries
- 3 small cubes of blue cheese
- A pinch of salt
- Around a teaspoon of olive oil
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- A teaspoon of Balsamic vinegar
- Endive leaves (raw spinach or arugula are good substitutes)
First, I peel my pear, cut it into small cubes and put it in a bowl.
Then I use a sharp knife to chop up some parsley; I put it into a different bowl.
Next up are my pecans. The easiest way to prep them is to put them in the “grind” setting of my food processor.
Then I add the cranberries to the pecans and use the grind setting again until the pecans and cranberries are well-mixed in together.
Now it’s time to add my pear cubes along with my blue cheese to the pecans and cranberries (if you don’t like the taste of blue cheese, mozzarella is a nice alternative but really, it’s your party—use any kind of cheese you’d like!).
I add the parsley and mix everything together; only this time, rather than “grinding” the ingredients, I manually shake the processor instead (that keeps everything from getting all mushy).
I pull out one of my big mixing bowls and empty out the contents of the food processor into it. I add a dash of salt and mix everything together again with a big spoon/spatula/whisk (you choose!).
Next, I add a teaspoon of olive oil and mix again.
I squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the bowl and yep, you guessed it—I mix again (personally, I like to add some balsamic vinegar into the mix as well but that’s totally up to you.)
Now it’s time for the Endive leaves. I pull them out and put a little—just a little—bit of olive oil on the insides of each one.
I add enough filling to cover the entire length of each leaf and place each leaf on a serving plate.
Then I finish everything off with a little more olive oil (and balsamic vinegar) as my garnish. And voila! I’m all done.
Cranberries & Pomegranate Bruschetta:
What You Need:
- 1 loaf of bread (preferably baguettes)
- 100 gm (2/3-1 cup) of pomegranates
- 100 gm (2/3-1 cup) of cranberries
- 15 gm (1 cup) of basil
- Half-cup of olive oil
- 250 gm (1 cup) of cream cheese
With the help of a cutting board and a sharp knife, I lay my baguette down so that it’s horizontal in front of me. Then I cut it into semi-small pieces. (Please make sure your knife is sharp or you’re going to have a real mess on your hands!)
I pull out my food processor and put the pomegranates and cranberries in it.
Again, with my sharp knife, I cut the basil up into small pieces (fine pieces if you have the patience to cut it that small) and I put it into the food processor too; then I mix everything together.
I take my pieces of bread and dab a little bit of olive oil onto each slice.
Then I put a little more olive oil into a stainless steel frying pan (just enough oil to lightly coat the pan). I set the heat to low-medium.
I put enough pieces of bread into the pan to where they all fit in comfortably, making sure that the side I oiled is facing up.
After about a couple of minutes, I use a set of thongs to turn all of the pieces of bread over (the objective here is to toast both sides of the bread).
Once all of my bread is nice ‘n toasty, I remove it from the frying pan and place each slice onto my serving dish. Then I take one piece at a time and apply enough cream cheese to cover each piece of bread.
I take about a spoonful of the pomegranate-cranberry mix and put it on top of the cream cheese.
(Can you tell I’m big on garnish?) I garnish the plate with a few leaves of basil and my bruschetta is officially ready to serve!
I think your guests will love even one of these appetizers. But again, if you really want to WOW them—set aside an hour (give or take 30 minutes) to make all three.
They won’t regret it and—after they’re singing your praises—neither will you!