‘Tis the season of holiday parties and gatherings

What is at the center of all these parties? Well, that would be food, of course. We have put together a sampling of party appetizers, which we will be running over the next two weeks. Enjoy!


Shrimp Dip

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1/4 tsp. dry mustard

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. horseradish

2 T. mayonnaise

12 oz. bottle cocktail sauce

1 (4 oz.) can tiny shrimp, drained

2 hard cooked eggs, chopped

2 T. chopped green onions or chives


Mix together cream cheese, dry mustard, celery seed, horseradish and mayonnaise. Spread on platter; top with cocktail sauce. Layer on the shrimp, then eggs, and finally the the chopped green onions or chives.

Serve with crackers.


Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

1 (12 oz.) pkg. fresh cranberries

1/4 c. green onion, chopped

1/4 c. cilantro, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper

1-1/4 c. sugar

1/4 tsp. cumin

2 T. lemon juice

dash salt

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese


Put cranberries in food processor. Chop green, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper in small pieces.

Add all ingredients other than cream cheese, mix and store in fridge for at least 4 hours.

Spread cream cheese evenly and pour cranberry mixture over the cheese.  ENJOY!


Instant Pot® Deviled Eggs

Yield: 6 servings


12 large eggs

3/4 c. mayonnaise

1 T. dijon mustard

Salt & pepper, to taste

Smoked paprika, to taste


Place the steam rack inside of the Instant Pot®, then add the eggs. Pour 1 cup of water over eggs, then close the lid. Set to pressure cook for 5 minutes, and ensure that the valve is sealed.

After the cook time has completed, allow to naturally release for 5 minutes before manually opening up the Instant Pot. Do this by setting the valve to release, then twist the lid open once you hear the pin drop.

Run the eggs under cool water for a few minutes. Remove all of the shells. Cut the eggs in half, then separate the yolks into a separate bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, and dijon mustard. Mix well, then add salt and pepper to taste. Mix again. Scoop the egg filling into the egg white shells. Top with smoked paprika.


Holiday Crab Dip  

Serves: 4-8 people


1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese

1 pkg. crab meat

1 bottle cocktail sauce


On an 8x10 serving tray, spread a layer of cream cheese. Spread cocktail sauce over cream cheese. Cut up crab meat and sprinkle over cocktail sauce.

Serve with favorite crackers.


Banana-Pumpkin Bread

2 eggs

1 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. grapeseed oil, or other oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 medium bananas

3/4 c. pumpkin puree from can

1-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 c. ground flax

3/4 tsp. baking power

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground clove

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 c. mini chocolate chips, optional


In a medium bowl, using hand mixer, beat together eggs, bananas, pumpkin, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir in the rest of dry ingredient and mix by hand until combined. Fold in mini chocolate chips, optional. Pour batter into lightly oiled/greased 9-in.x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 1 loaf. Double recipe for 2 loaves.


Antipasto Skewers

20 long wooden skewers

9 oz. pkg. cheese tortellini

1/2 c. zesty Italian salad dressing

1/2 tsp. tabasco sauce (optional, but it adds a nice kick)

40 olives (I used Kalamata but any kind you enjoy will work)

40 grape tomatoes

40 thin slices Genoa salami

20 baby mozzarella balls

40 pieces basil, torn

20 pieces chopped artichoke hearts


Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and quickly rinse in cold water. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the tortellini with salad dressing and hot sauce, seal the bag, and turn it around a few times to coat; refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours.

When ready to assemble, drain and discard any remaining marinade.

For each skewer, I threaded an olive, tomato, basil, tortellini, basil, folded salami slice, mozzarella ball, tortellini, basil, folded salami piece, artichoke heart, tomato, olive. You can switch up the arrangement, if you like, but I find this order is visually appealing and delicious. 20 servings.


Ham and Cheese Pinwheels 

1 tube refrigerated pizza dough

3/4 lb. ham, very thinly sliced

8 oz. Swiss cheese, very thinly sliced

8 T. butter melted

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. Dijon mustard

2 T. poppy seeds

Cooking spray

1 T. chopped parsley optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray.

Unroll the pizza dough onto a non-stick surface and roll it into a large rectangle, roughly 13”x8” in size.

Layer the ham on top of the pizza dough to cover it completely, then layer the cheese in the same fashion.

Starting at one of the long ends, tightly roll up the dough, jelly roll style, pinching the end to seal.

Cut the loaf crosswise into 12 equal sized pieces, then arrange in the prepared pan.

Whisk together the butter, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and poppy seeds, then pour evenly over the rolls.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley if desired, then serve.  Serves 12.

Note: You can also make this recipe with crescent roll sheets instead of pizza dough, use 1 1/2 of the 8 ounce cans.

Sesame seeds are a great substitute for poppy seeds.

The rolls can be stored unbaked for up to 24 hours in the fridge, simply cover with foil and then bake them when you’re ready.


Zucchini-and-Pecorino Romano Fritters 

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 25 min.


2 medium zucchini

1 large egg

2 oz. Pecorino Romano, grated 

1/2 c. panko

1 clove garlic, pressed

Black pepper


Preheat oven to 400°F. Grate zucchini; squeeze dry with paper towels and transfer to a bowl. Add egg, Pecorino Romano, panko, garlic, and pepper; stir to combine. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of mixture onto a greased baking sheet and gently flatten. Bake, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, 18 to 20 minutes.


Quote of the Week:

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” 

~ Peg Bracken


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313


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