Holiday party fare includes appetizers

Published 7:19 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2007

By Staff
With just under three weeks until Christmas, the party season is in full swing, and the appetizer recipes you'll find here this week will be great additions on any party buffet.
I remember a couple of years back I had a column similar to this one today and got a lot of flack from my doctor about it. The recipes I had then were filled with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Velveeta cheese - pretty much any kind of cheese you could think of using in a recipe. A lot of the recipes also had things like mayonnaise, sour cream and other artery-clogging ingredients.
I apologized to the good doctor and promised that I wasn't eating everything on the list of recipes I had published. The truth is, I just wasn't eating them all at one time.
The recipes you'll find here this week are also filled with those same wonderful ingredients you often find in this space. I figure the holidays are a good time to throw caution to the wind and enjoy yourself with some holiday treats.
This first recipe is one that I haven't tried yet, but it sounded so good that I decided to pass it along to you. I love cheese, mayonnaise and onion, so this is one recipe I plan to try out on friends and family this holiday season.
Hot Onion Dip
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups chopped sweet onion
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix Cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and sweet onion. Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 40 to 45 minutes, or until onions are tender and the mixture is bubbly and lightly browned.
This next recipe is a favorite any time of the year for special occasions, but is especially festive around the holidays.
I had always been intimidated with the making of cheese straws. I guess because when I've purchased them they were a little pricey. I thought that meant they were difficult to master, much like divinity or pralines. When I saw this recipe, I thought I'd give it a try. It was amazingly easy to make these special treats, so I'm passing the recipe on to you.
Take a chance on this recipe and I can almost guarantee success. If they don't turn out the way you want them to, I'll be glad to sample your discarded cheese straws.
Cheese straws
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. In a large bowl cream butter and cheese. Stir in flour and salt; mix well. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 inch in thickness. Cut into 2 inch strips and sprinkle with ground red pepper. Place strips on prepared cookie sheet(s) 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp.
This next recipe is one that reminded me of an old friend of mine. Khadra King, who lived over in the Frisco City area, once gave me a recipe for a bacon-biscuit wreath similar to the one here. She was a grand woman and she loved Christmas and cooking. I hope she's looking down and enjoying the holiday season this year.
Bacon-Biscuit Wreath
1 (5 ounce) jar sharp American cheese spread
3 tablespoons butter flavored shortening
1 (12 ounce) package refrigerated flaky biscuits
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
In a small saucepan, melt the cheese spread and shortening; stir until blended. Pour into a well-greased 6-cup ovenproof ring mold or 9-in. fluted tube pan. Cut each biscuit into quarters and place over cheese mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately invert pan onto a serving platter and remove. Sprinkle with bacon and parsley. Serve warm.
Even if you don't get a chance to make these items for your Christmas party, don't forget that a New Year's Eve celebration is just one short week behind Christmas.
Next week I plan to share some recipes for sweet party treats. Some of them you can even get the kids in on the preparation.
Remember, if you have a recipe or cooking tip, please pass them along for us to enjoy as well. You can give me a call at 867-4876, drop by the office at 407 St. Nicholas Ave. or send an e-mail to me at
Until next week, happy cooking!

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