Cathie Campbell

Time for snacks

BY CATHIE CAMPBELL

Crunchy walnut halves are coated with a sweet mixture that includes cinnamon, sugar and vanilla.
Crunchy walnut halves are coated with a sweet mixture that includes cinnamon, sugar and vanilla. Submitted Photo

There is something great about appetizers, especially in a party atmosphere. You can walk around and mingle while snacking, chatting and laughing with others, or you can grab a few bites while you tend to things in the kitchen. Or, you can excuse yourself for a few minutes and sample the food when no one is looking. Appetizers are also very versatile and can be hot or cold, meaty or veggie, dairy and gluten free, whatever your needs and desires require. Now that we are well into the holiday season, why not get together with friends and family and add some festive appetizers to your gathering? That New Year is right around the corner.

Sugar and spice walnut halves

I like to use evaporated milk in this recipe.

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

6 tablespoons milk (can be half cream,  1/2 water)

1 teaspoon vanilla

 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

1. Lightly oil cookie sheet. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, milk and orange peel in a 3-qt. Heavy pot. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, cover and let boil 2-3 minutes. Uncover, wash down the sides of pot with pastry brush dipped in cold water and continue to cook, without stirring, to soft-ball stage (236).

2. Remove from heat, add vanilla and nuts and stir vigorously till creamy. Spread out on the cookie sheet and separate nuts. Let cool. Keep in a tin at room temperature.

teriyaki bacon wrapped scallops

 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

 1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

18 slices bacon, halved crosswise

12 large sea scallops, cut into thirds

36 wooden toothpicks

1. Set oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven's broiler. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil.

2. In a bowl, mix the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar and fresh ginger.

3. Take each piece of scallop and wrap it with a strip of raw bacon; secure with a wooden toothpick.

4. Dip each scallop into the teriyaki, brown sugar and ginger mixture, then place on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Broil wrapped scallops under preheated broiler until they become slightly charred, approximately 6 minutes. Turn scallops over and transfer to the clean baking sheet and return scallops to the broiler. Continue to broil until the bacon strips are charred on the second side, about 6 minutes more. Makes 36 appetizers.

Cranberry chutney brie appetizers

Adapted from a Pillsbury recipe.

4 Pillsbury Grands Frozen Flaky Layers Biscuits (from 22.1-oz. bag)

4 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into  1/4 -inch pieces

 1/2 cup cranberry chutney or whole berry cranberry sauce

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped glazed or plain pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375. Bake the biscuits as directed on the package.

2. Using a serrated knife, cut each biscuit in half horizontally. Place biscuits on baking sheet cut side facing up.

3. Evenly place cubed cheese on top of biscuits. Spoon cranberry chutney or cranberry sauce over the cheese, then sprinkle with chopped pecans.

4. Return biscuits to oven and bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese becomes softened. Serve warm. Makes 8 appetizers.

Artichoke niblets

I have had this recipe for decades and am not sure of its origin, but these appetizers always disappear fast. It is okay to use egg substitutes such as Egg Beaters.

2 jars (6-oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts

1 small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced (I like to add more)

4 eggs

 1/4 cup bread crumbs

 1/4 teaspoon salt

 1/8 teaspoon each: oregano, black pepper and liquid hot pepper sauce

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 325. Drain marinade from 1 jar of artichokes into a skillet. Drain the remaining jar (you won't need the marinade). Chop all the artichokes and set aside. Add onion and garlic to the skillet and saute until they become limp.

2. In a bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add bread crumbs, salt, oregano, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Stir in parsley, cheese and onion mixture and mix thoroughly.

3. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until set.

4. Allow to cool, then cut into 1-inch squares. Serve cold or reheat in pan at 325 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

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