New Year's Hors d'oeuvres

Hard to believe that Christmas is finally here! This week, we are focusing on some holiday/New Year’s hors d’oeuvres.  

Watch next week for the winner of the Darlene Dixon’s cookbook prize package.  

Wishing you and your family a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Crescents


Total time: 40 min

Serves: 18-20


2 (8 oz) cans crescent roll dough

2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese

1-3⁄4 C. sugar

1 tsp.  vanilla

1⁄2 C. butter

1 tsp.  cinnamon


Roll out one can of crescent rolls in bottom of 9x13 pan.

Spray pan with cooking spray.

Cream together cream cheese,1 C. of the sugar and vanilla.

Spread this mixture over crescent rolls.

Lay second tube of crescent rolls over mixture.

Melt butter, mix in 3/4 C. sugar, cinnamon, and pour over top.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 min.


Swedish Meatballs


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 5 min

Prep: 40 min

Cook: 25 min

Yield: 8 servings


1 T. unsalted butter

1/2 med onion, finely chopped


1-1/2 C. breadcrumbs

1/3 C. milk

2 tsp. dry sherry

1/2 tsp. mustard powder

3 lg eggs

1/2 lb. ground pork

1/2 lb. ground turkey

1 T. honey

1/2 tsp. ground allspice


Vegetable oil, for frying

3 T. lingonberry or cranberry preserves

1/2 C. sour cream

 Chopped fresh dill, for topping

Fresh pickled cucumber slices, for serving


Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and cook until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes; set aside.

Combine 1/2 C. breadcrumbs and the milk in a bowl; set aside until the milk is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the sherry and mustard powder in a large bowl until dissolved, then beat in 1 egg. Add the soaked breadcrumbs, the browned onion, the pork, turkey, honey, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Gently mix with your hands until combined.

Dampen your hands; form the mixture into 36 small meatballs, about 1 T. each. Put on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Put the remaining 1 C. breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Whisk the remaining 2 eggs and 2 T. water in a bowl. Dip each meatball in egg, letting the excess drip off, then roll in the breadcrumbs; return to the baking sheet.

Heat about 1-1/2 inches vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325° F. Working in batches, fry the meatballs, gently stirring with a slotted spoon, until golden and cooked through, 3 to 4 min. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Let stand 10 minutes.

Fold the lingonberry preserves into the sour cream and top with the dill. Skewer each meatball with a pickled cucumber slice and serve with the lingonberry cream.


Apricot Kielbasa Slices


Prep/Total Time: 15 min.

Makes: 12 servings


1 lb. fully cooked kielbasa or Polish sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 jar (12 oz) apricot preserves

2 T. lemon juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. ground ginger


In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, cook and stir sausage until browned. Remove from pan; discard drippings.

Add remaining ingredients to skillet; cook and stir over low heat until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Stir in sausage; heat through.

You can make this recipe a few hours before serving, but keep it in a slow cooker on low heat.


Pizza Thumbprint Cookies


Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes cooling time)

Active: 30 min

Yield: 30 to 32 cookies


1 C. store-bought pizza sauce

1 C. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 T. sugar

2 C. all-purpose flour

1 C. grated Parmesan plus more for sprinkling

Salt and black pepper

1 lg. egg

2 whole-milk mozzarella cheese sticks, cut into 1/8-inch slices (about 32 slices)


Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Spread the pizza sauce in a medium skillet, creating an even layer. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until thickened and reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Meanwhile, beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth; about 2 minutes. Add the flour, Parmesan, 1 tsp. salt, a couple grinds of pepper and 1 T. water. Mix until the dough just comes together (it will be slightly crumbly but should hold together when squeezed).

Using a tablespoon-size scoop, scoop portions of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, 15 or 16 scoops per sheet. Once you’ve scooped all the dough, roll each portion into a ball. Use your thumb or a 1/2-teaspoon measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of each ball, deep enough to fill but not so deep as to reach the pan underneath. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Whisk the egg and 1 T. water in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the chilled cookies with the egg wash and sprinkle with a light dusting of Parmesan. Bake, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom, until golden brown around the bottom and top edges, 20 to 25 min.

Remove the cookies from the oven and lightly press a slice of mozzarella stick into each indentation, which will have puffed slightly. Top with 1/2 tsp. of the pizza sauce and another sprinkling of Parmesan. Continue to bake until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 min.

Let rest for 5 min, then remove the cookies to a rack to cool completely.


Gentleman’s Whiskey Bacon Jam


Prep: 15 min. 

Cook: 30 min.

Makes: 3 cups


1-1/2 lbs. thick-sliced bacon strips, finely chopped

8 shallots, finely chopped

1 lg. sweet onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 C. whiskey

1/2 C. maple syrup

1/4 C. balsamic vinegar

1/2 C. packed brown sugar

Assorted crackers


In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but 2 T. drippings. Add shallots and onion to the drippings; cook over medium heat until caramelized, stirring occasionally.

Stir in garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add seasonings. Remove from heat; stir in whiskey and maple syrup. Increase heat to high; bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vinegar and brown sugar; cook another 3 min, continuing to stir constantly.

Crumble bacon; add to skillet. Reduce heat to low and cook 12 min, stirring every few min. Allow jam to cool slightly. Pulse half the jam in a food processor until smooth; stir puree into remaining jam. Serve with assorted crackers.

Whiskey bacon jam lasts about 1 week in the refrigerator. Or freeze it for up to 3 months.


Ritz Torte


3 egg whites

1 C. sugar

26 Ritz® crackers (two small sleeves)

1 C. chopped pecans

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tub of Cool Whip® or similar whipped topping

Chocolate for grating (opt)


In a mixer, combine the egg whites and beat. You’re just mixing, so don’t whip it into a meringue. Add the sugar and continue to beat until thick and creamy, but no peaks.

Add Ritz® crackers to a plastic storage bag and smash them into crumbs. Add the chopped pecans, baking powder and vanilla. Close the bag and shake until combined. Fold the cracker-and-pecan mixture into the beaten egg-whites-and-sugar mixture, until blended evenly.

Heat oven to 350° F. Spray oil into an 8x8 baking pan. Add the mixture to the baking pan, using a spatula to spread it out evenly and smoothly. Bake for 25 to 30 min. or until the edges have browned. Allow to fully cool.

With a spatula, add the whipped topping, spreading it evenly to cover the entire top of the torte. Grate chocolate on top for garnish if liked. Ready to serve immediately, or store in the fridge for later.


Pomegranate Pistachio Crostini


Prep/Total Time: 30 min.

Makes: 3 dozen


36 slices French bread baguette (1/4 inch thick)

1 T. butter, melted

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 T. orange juice

1 T. honey

1 C. pomegranate seeds

1/2 C. finely chopped pistachios

2 oz. dark chocolate candy bar, grated


Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet; brush the tops with butter. Bake until lightly toasted, 4-6 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

Beat cream cheese, orange juice and honey until blended; spread over toasts. Top with remaining ingredients.


Quote of the Week:

“I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.”

~ Charles Dickens


The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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