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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Easy Thanksgiving Appetizers

Need a snack to tide everyone over until the big Thanksgiving feast? Here's a few option from delicious dips to cute tarts, these easy appetizers will whet your family's appetite before the giant feast.

Pigs-in-Pilgrim-Hats

What you'll need
2 to 3 hot dogs
tube of crescent roll dough
bologna (hand-sliced from the deli counter, for a larger diameter than prepackaged)
sliced yellow American or Cheddar cheese
flour
Heat the oven to 350°. Cut hot dogs into eight 1-inch segments. Separate the dough along its perforations. On a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, stand the hot dog segments on end, spaced well apart. Drape a triangle of dough over a segment. Dip a glass in flour, then use it to cut out a circle centered on the hot dog, as shown. With floured hands, press the dough around the segment to form a hat shape. Repeat to make the remaining hats. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, cut eight thin strips of bologna and eight small squares of cheese. Arrange them on the cooled hats as shown (if the ends of the hatband don't meet, use the buckles to cover the gap).

Corn Crisps

What you'll need
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
canola or vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cumin, sugar, and cayenne. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and butter. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until they are just blended. Fold in the corn and scallions. Pour oil into a large nonstick skillet (it should come about 1/4 inch up the sides of the pan) and heat it until the oil is shimmering. For each crisp, drop a slightly rounded tablespoon of batter into the oil, flattening it slightly with the back of the spoon. Fry them in batches over medium-high heat until they are golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them over and fry them until the other side is golden, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the crisps to a paper towel–lined sheet pan, sprinkling them immediately with a bit of salt. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Chocolate-Drizzled Trail Mix

What you'll need
3 cups nuts (I used peanuts, almonds, and pecans)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix together the nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, raisins, and dried cranberries or cherries. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave. Pour the chocolate over the baking sheet in ribbons. Stir to coat everything. Let the chocolate cool, then break the mix into pieces and pack it in individual containers. Makes 12 servings.

Cute Cornucopia

What you'll need
Tortillas
Toothpicks
Small veggies -- we suggest peas, baby carrots, baby corn ears, grape
tomatoes, and cornichons (or any small pickle)
Dip or dressing
To create each cornucopia, cut a tortilla in half. Roll it into a cone with the rounded edge at the open end. Secure the cone with a toothpick, then fill it with small veggies. Serve with your favorite dip or dressing. NOTE: Set one at each place as a meal-starter, or make a bunch to serve as a kid-friendly hors d'oeuvre platter.

Apple Pie Party Dip

What you'll need
1 1/3 cups peeled, cored, and diced apple
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons apricot preserves
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
INGREDIENTS FOR CHIPS:
5 (6-inch) flour tortillas
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Combine all the dip ingredients in a bowl, then cover and refrigerate the mixture until chilled. Brush the tortillas with butter, then cut them into wedges. Arrange the wedges on a greased baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 350ยบ F until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let them cool before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Mini Pumpkin Tarts

What you'll need
3 packages (15 tarts each) prebaked frozen mini pastry shells (we used Athens Mini Fillo Shells)
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
2 cups (plus extra for garnish) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 teaspoon (plus extra for garnish) pumpkin pie spice
1 (3.4-ounce) package cheesecake-flavor instant pudding and pie filling
Mint leaves (for garnish)
Remove the shells from the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin, whipped topping, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl, whisking until smooth. Add the pudding mix and whisk until smooth and thick. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each of the shells (you can also pipe the filling with a pastry bag or a plastic sandwich bag with one corner snipped off), then top the tarts with whipped topping, a sprinkling of the pumpkin pie spice, and a mint leaf, if you like. Makes 45 tarts.

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