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Wichita Eagle Holiday Cookbook 2012 Appetizers in a Hurry

  • Published Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 11:12 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, at 5:25 p.m.

First place

TACO MEATBALL RING

Makes 16 servings.

2 cups (8 oz.) cheddar cheese, shredded and divided

2 tablespoons water

2 to 4 tablespoons taco seasoning

½ lb. ground beef

2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls

½ medium head iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 medium tomato, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

½ cup ripe olives, sliced

2 jalapeno peppers, sliced

Sour cream and salsa, optional

In large bowl, combine 1 cup cheese, water and taco seasoning. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 16 balls. Place meatballs on greased rack in shallow baking pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Drain meatballs on paper towels. Reduce heat to 375 degrees.

Arrange crescent rolls on greased 15-inch pizza pan, forming ring with pointed ends facing outer edge of pan and wide ends overlapping.

Place 1 meatball on each roll; fold point over meatball and tuck under wide end of roll. Meatball will be visible. Repeat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Transfer to serving platter. Fill center of ring with lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, jalapenos, remaining cheese, and sour cream and salsa.

This is an awesome dish. I have made this numerous times. You can use green or red bell pepper as the centerpiece with salsa in it and then sprinkle the shredded cheese, onions and black olives over the top. Instead of meatballs, you can use drained ground beef or turkey and incorporate a can of refried beans. It’s a hit every time.

Paula McKinney, Wichita

Second place

BRIE CHEESE WHEEL

1 puff pastry dough square, thawed

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon water

½ cup pecans, chopped

½ cup cranraisins or raisins

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped

1 8-inch round of brie cheese

1 egg and water

Roll puff pastry dough to ½-inch thickness and cut off edges to make it slightly round. Save pieces. Mix honey, water, pecans, cranraisins, cinnamon and rosemary. Place in center of puff pastry dough and put brie on top. Wrap puff pastry dough around cranraisins mixture and cheese. Flip over to other side and place on greased cookie sheet. Mix egg and scant amount of water and brush top. Cut reserved puff pastry pieces into triangles and use to make a flower shape on top. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes and cool for 20 minutes.

Pamela Jones, Wichita

Third place

BLUE CHEESE, PEAR AND PROSCIUTTO FLATBREAD

1 can artesian whole wheat pizza crust

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

¾ cup semisweet wine

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 egg

1 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

2 ripe pears, thinly sliced

2 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced and cut into strips

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven according to directions on pizza crust package. Very lightly cover 16x14-inch cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and roll crust out so it covers cookie sheet. Bake crust approximately 8 minutes or until it begins to look dry. Remove from oven and set aside. Heat oil in saucepan. Add onion and sauté over low until onion begins to soften. Add wine, honey, salt and pepper; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is nearly gone and onion is soft. Beat egg, add cheese and spread over crust. Arrange pear slices on cheese mixture, lay prosciutto strips over cheese, sprinkle with onions and top with thyme. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cut into small squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Janne Rowe, Wichita

Honorable mention

CHICKEN BROCCOLI CUPS

Makes 12 servings.

2½ cups cooked chicken breast, diced

1 can (10¾ oz.) cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 cup frozen broccoli, chopped, thawed and drained

2 small Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 small carrot, grated

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon onion, grated

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

In large bowl, combine first eight ingredients; set aside. On lightly floured surface, roll pastry into 9x12-inch rectangle. Cut lengthwise into 4 strips and width into three strips. Gently press puff pastry squares into muffin cups coated with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon chicken mixture into pastry cups. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Sometimes I serve these and chips for a light lunch.

Tammy Denny, Cimmaron

FESTIVE FOCACCIA

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 container (12 oz.) grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

¼ cup sea salt flakes or coarse salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush rimmed 9x13-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roll or press dough into 8x12-inch rectangle. Place into oiled baking pan and let rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

With your knuckles or a utensil, make deep dents all over dough. Top evenly with grape tomatoes. Sprinkle rosemary and coarse salt over all. Drizzle remaining olive oil over surface. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Slice and serve.

I use this for my basic Focaccia and enhance it with odds and ends lurking in the refrigerator. Tasty additions include sliced green or black olives, bits of minced garlic, roasted red peppers, thinly-sliced seasoned meats such as salami, dry Parmesan cheese, minced onion and shredded cheeses. This travels beautifully.

Katherine Hoffman, Wichita

MUSHROOM ROLL-UPS

Makes 24.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls

1 can (large) mushrooms, drained and chopped

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese

Garlic salt to taste

1 egg white

Poppy seeds

Unroll crescent rolls. Make 2 rectangles by connecting on diagonals. Stretch dough into 8x10-inch shape. In blender, mix cream cheese, mushrooms and dash of garlic salt. Spread half of mixture on each rectangle. Roll up, starting from long side. Brush each roll with beaten egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cut each roll into ½-inch slices. Bake at 375 degrees on cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Catherine Leslie, Wichita

BAKED (NOT FRIED) CRAB RANGOON

Makes 12.

1 can (6 oz.) crab, drained and flaked

4 oz. cream cheese

¼ cup green onions, sliced

¼ cup mayonnaise

12 won ton wrappers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix crab, cream cheese, onions and mayonnaise. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Place 1 won ton wrapper into each cup. Edges of won ton will stick up above muffin tin. Fill with crab mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until won ton edges are browned. Add additional sliced green onions, if desired. Best when served warm.

Sheila Webb, Wichita

CARAMEL APPLE BRIE WITH PUFF PASTRY

1 block (8 oz.) Brie cheese

½ pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed

2 medium Delicious apples, chopped

2 tablespoons pecans, chopped, optional

1 cup caramel apple dip

1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray cookie sheet with oil. Remove and discard rind from cheese. Slice cheese in half to make two circles. Place one cheese round in center of puff pastry. Layer half of apples, pecans and caramel dip on first cheese round. Place second cheese round on top of first and add remaining apples pecans and dip. Wrap with remaining puff pastry. Flip with seam side down onto greased cookie sheet. Brush top and sides with melted butter. Bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with water crackers and hot cider.

Jackie Williams, Wichita

STUFFED CRUST DUNKERS

Makes 4 servings.

12 flour tortillas

12 mozzarella string cheese sticks

12 oz. spaghetti sauce

Start at one side of tortilla and roll cheese stick into middle. Place seam side down, microwave for 20 seconds or until cheese is soft. Continue until all tortillas have string cheese inside and are warmed through. Put sauce in bowl and warm about 4 minutes. Place tortilla cheese sticks on platter and warm in microwave for 15 seconds. Serve immediately.

This is a favorite of my cooking club at Pray-Woodman Elementary School.

B. J. Wells, Wichita

PHYLLO-WRAPPED BRIE

8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Cooking spray

1 small round of Brie or Camembert cheese

Crackers

Pesto, fig jam or marmalade

Spray 1 sheet of phyllo with cooking spray, keeping remaining sheets covered with plastic wrap or damp towel to prevent from drying. Place cheese in center of sheet; wrap phyllo around cheese. Repeat procedure, inverting cheese each time, until all but one sheet has been used. Set aside and cover. Make a twisty topknot from remaining sheet of phyllo and place atop cheese. Spray all over with cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Cover top with small sheet of foil for last 15 minutes to prevent over browning.

Remove to serving plate, garnish and serve warm with crackers. Add small bowl of pesto, jam or marmalade, or one of each, to spoon atop each serving, as desired.

It’s easy to keep these ingredients on hand for the holidays. With a little notice, you can turn out a stunning appetizer quite easily.

Peg Bowman, Wichita

VEGETARIAN SAMOSA

Makes 24.

2 lbs. potatoes

3 large onions, cut into small chunks

2 teaspoons oil

2 tablespoons curry powder

2 teaspoons turmeric powder

1 teaspoon fennel powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 bag (1lb.) frozen peas

3 tubes (8 each) biscuits

2 teaspoons salt

1 egg plus 2 tablespoons water

Pinch of black sesame seeds

Boil potatoes until softened and mash slightly. Heat wok and add oil. Add onions and stir-fry until fragrant. Add curry, turmeric, fennel, coriander and frozen peas. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add mashed potatoes and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Press each biscuit evenly into circle. Put mashed-potato filling in middle of each biscuit and bring 3 sides together into triangle and pinch edges to seal.

Lay samosas with folded side face down. Brush tops with egg and water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake samosas on nonstick baking pan for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I always love to eat samosas. Most of the samosas sold in shops are meat samosas and you can hardly find vegetarian samosas. Therefore, I created this vegetarian samosa recipe.

BeeHong Goh, Wichita

We invited readers to submit recipes using puff pastry, phyllo dough, prepared pie crust or any type of refrigerated bread, biscuits or crescent rolls. Here are winning recipes and others to get your parties started with these helpful shortcut ingredients.

Paula McKinney of Wichita won first place in the category with her Taco Meatball Ring.

Please scroll down to see winning recipes and more.

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