Appetizers in Advance

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If you are planning to throw a holiday party this season, you might wish to consider preparing time saving appetizers you can make ahead of time. You will be plenty busy with cleaning and decorating on the day of the party and the last thing you need is having to worry about cooking the entire meal. Of course, you can offer one or two store bought snacks, but it is always nice to mix it with homemade appetizers. Below are two easy recipes you can make ahead and freeze until the day of the party.

Meatballs
These versatile appetizers are perfect to offer in the holiday season. Caramelize a small onion in olive oil or butter and mix it with a pound of ground beef, a cup of bread crumbs you soaked in milk, an egg, salt and pepper, and any seasoning you like. You can go for the classic Italian taste with oregano, parsley, and garlic or draw from the Asian spice palette with turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with oil. Make small, bite size meatballs by rolling them between your palms. Arrange the meatballs in rows on the cookie sheet and bake them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let them cool off completely before placing them in an airtight container for freezing. On the morning of your holiday party, put them in a slow cooker with some marinara sauce/gravy or simply re-warm them in the oven. You can have a dish of sauce on the side if you wish. Insert toothpicks into the meatballs for easy party eating.

Cheese Pastry
Another great appetizer you can make ahead is a simple cheese pastry recipe. Mix eight ounces of small curd cottage cheese and butter each with two cups of flour and a pinch of salt. Knead together until a firm dough forms. You may need to add a little bit more flour depending on the cottage cheese you use. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and put in the refrigerator for a half hour. Roll your dough ball out into a 1/2 inch thick sheet. You can either use a knife to cut it up to small squares or a cookie cutter or small glass to cut round circles out. Lay the pieces on cookie sheets about ½ inch apart and sprinkle some grated cheese on top. Bake in preheated 375? oven for 20 minutes or until brown.

In addition to these recipes, you can also experiment with other snacks and appetizers such as cheese puffs, a roasted vegetable cream cheese dip, or the sweet holiday classic:  homemade fudge. Miniature cheesecakes are festive desserts you can make ahead and pull out from the freezer only a few hours before your guests arrive.

 

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