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Holiday Dinner Party Hors d’oeuvres

Holiday dinner appetizers

Hors d’oeuvres, which is really just a fancy way to say appetizer, are a holiday dinner party necessity! While the main event cooks (prime rib, perhaps?), you’ll want to keep your guests jolly. What better way than with some bite-sized nibbles? And some eggnog, of course. 

Simple Garlic Bread & Marinara

Garlic bread with marinara

Italian bread topped with garlic herb butter and mozzarella, then baked until golden brown and crispy.

What you need

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. Split the Italian loaf lengthwise and spread half of the butter on each side. Divide the cheese in half and sprinkle over each piece of bread. Place on a cookie sheet and set in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Cut into pieces and serve immediately with marinara.

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Argentine Spiced Meatballs with Chimichurri

Meatballs with chimichurri sauce

Cocktail meatballs garnished with chimichurri, a zesty green sauce made of parsley, red pepper flakes, oregano, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.

What you need

Chimichurri

  • 1/2 cup parsley, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (add more if desired)
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (extra virgin works fine as well, but will be a stronger oil flavor)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Meatballs

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F. Make the chimichurri first by combining parsley, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl and mix well to coat. Pour olive oil over the top and stir gently. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir again. Set aside to marinate while meatballs cook.

Place ground beef in a medium mixing bowl with the egg, beef stock, and all the spices. Mix together with hands or wooden spoon. Using hands, grab portions of the meat and roll into 1-1/2 inch balls. Place in a 9x13 baking dish (or on a rimmed baking sheet), and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until meatballs registers 160F internally with a thermometer. Remove from the oven, and stack on a plate. Drizzle chimichurri over the top, or serve on the side.

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Savory Hand Pies

Savory hand pies filled with beef

Warm, savory fillings surrounded by a buttery, flaky crust. No forks needed!

Before you begin making the filling, set out the puff pastry dough to thaw and preheat the oven to 400F.

What you need

Vegetarian Filling

Instructions

In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until oil is shimmering. Add sweet potatoes, stir to coat in oil, then spread out into an even layer. Let sweet potatoes cook undisturbed until a brown crust has formed, and sweet potatoes unstick easily from the pan, about seven to nine minutes. Stir, and let sit again for another five minutes. Sweet potatoes should be cooked, but not mushy. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spinach. Stir constantly until spinach has cooked down. Add salt and pepper and stir again. Remove from heat and set aside. The parmesan will be added when the hand pies are assembled.

Beef Filling

  • 2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 1 lb. Crowd Cow Ground Beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add diced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about one minute. Add beef, and stir, breaking apart as onions and garlic are incorporated. When the beef has browned, drain any excess fat, and then add the spices. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

Crust

Instructions

Open puff pastry boxes and unfold all four sheets, flatten creases to prevent tearing. Cut into four rectangles by cutting lengthwise, then crosswise. Pull gently on the shorter side to get it closer to a square shape. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Fill another small bowl with water.

To fill the hand pies, grab one of the squares and face one of the points toward you. Spoon one to two tablespoons of the filling into the bottom half of the dough (adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, if using the sweet potato and spinach filling), leaving at least a half-inch of dough on the edge.

Using a brush or fingers, put a light layer of water on the bottom edges of the dough. Grab the top point of the dough square, and fold over the filling, pressing the edges together. Starting on the right side of the triangle, pinch the dough and twist it back toward the filling. Continue pinching and twisting along the edge, wetting your fingers as needed to help the twist stick. When the edge is finished, transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Continue filling and twisting until all 16 hand pies are completed.

Brush with the egg and milk mixture. Bake eight pies at a time, for 15 to 17 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

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Rustic Veggie Tart

Rustic-style crust featuring colorful, in-season veggies and aged cheddar cheese.

What you need

For Tart Dough

For Tart Filling

  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash, approximately 1-inch cubes
  • 1 whole red onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated Beecher's Flagship Cheese

Instructions

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until pea-size crumbs form. Add the water one tablespoon at a time and mix with your hands, adding more water as needed until the dough comes together. It should be moist, but not sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two balls and shape each into a five-inch disk. Cover separately with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough disk into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Keep edges rough and untrimmed. Transfer each round to a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While dough is chilling for the final time, place squash and onion onto a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until squash is soft and browned.

Take the dough out after half-hour and rub garlic cloves over the dough. Split the onion and squash mixture over both tart rounds, and sprinkle with Beecher's cheese. Fold dough edges over the filling, leaving the center exposed. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes or until crust edges are browned.

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Bruschetta Bar

Bruschetta bar

Toasted French bread brushed with olive oil and loaded with flavorful toppings.

What you need

  • Sliced French Bread
  • Olive Oil

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375F, and brush sliced bread with olive oil. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.

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