Here are several easy appetizers and finger foods that you can serve to your friends and family before or after the big meal. These are my favorites – both hot and cold – and can be made ahead of time with minimal heating at meal time.
Sweet Potatoes with Almond Pesto
Cut 2 pounds of sweet potatoes into ½ inch long wedges and toss in a few tablespoons of olive oil and place on a baking pan. Season the sweet potatoes with 2-3 Tablespoons Cajun seasoning or if you prefer a milder sweet potato, just use 1 Tablespoon salt and 1 Tablespoon pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until softened.
To make the pesto, blend in a food processor 1 cup toasted almonds, 1 cup fresh basil, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, ¾ cup olive oil. After you combine those ingredients, add ½ cup grated Parmesan and 1 teaspoon pepper.
Serve on the side of the sweet potatoes as a dip or bake onto the sweet potatoes for the last five minutes of baking time. You can make the pesto ahead of time and keep refrigerated for a day or two.
Take 2 cups fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegine – small balls not the larger ones) and 2 cups (equal numbers of tomatoes to balls of cheese) grape or cherry tomatoes and skewer on frilled toothpicks. Add a leaf of fresh basil on the end of each and drizzle with small amounts balsamic vinegar right before serving.
Crab and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
Wash and take the stems off 1 pound button mushrooms. Lay the mushroom caps hole side up on a nonstick baking pan. Spoon between a teaspoon and a Tablespoon of Kroger Spinach and Crab Dip from the Seafood Department into the mushroom caps and top with a light covering of bread crumbs and grated Parmesan (mixed half and half). Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until breadcrumbs begin to turn golden.
Cranberry and Brie Bites
Slice a brie log from the Deli into thin rounds and place each round on your favorite cracker or toasted bread. Add a teaspoon or so of Kroger Cranberry Celebration from the Deli and serve.