Bacon Cheddar Dip

This Taste of Home recipe (original here) is a simple dip with a homemade taste. The note with the recipe explains, “Give this recipe a try if you’re looking for a deliciously different dip to serve with crackers, potato chips or vegetables. Ranch salad dressing adds a little zest.” Bacon Cheddar Dip is the twentieth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (16 oz) sour cream
  • 1 cup (4 oz) finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 2 to 4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • Crackers and/or assorted fresh vegetables

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, cheddar cheese, salad dressing mix and bacon.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Serve with crackers and/or vegetables.

Mom’s Cheese Ball

Every Christmas, for as long as I can remember, Mama has made these cheese balls. I’m not sure when the tradition started, but I know it cannot be Christmas until these are made and chilling in the refrigerator. So today, in honor of my Mom’s birthday, here is her recipe for Cheese Ball, the nineteenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 2 jars Kraft Old English Cheese or 16 oz Kakauna sharp cheese
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese (one block)
  • Small container of Bleu Cheese
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Pecans, chopped
  • Cherry

Directions

  1. Wet a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with granulated garlic.
  2. Place cheeses in the bowl, and allow to sit and warm for about one hour.
  3. Once cheeses have softened, mix well.
  4. Form balls and roll in chopped pecans.
  5. Add a cherry to the center, top.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until firm.
  7. Serve on crackers (we usually use Wheat Thins) or cocktail rye bread.

Variations

  • We have frozen these cheese balls as well. Simply allow the cheese ball to thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Festive Ham and Cheese Wreath

Take a look at the picture of this fun appetizer from Pillsbury (original here), and you’ll immediately see why it is the perfect holiday treat. Festive Ham and Cheese Wreath is the eighteenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (2 cups) finely shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1½ cups (about 8 oz) chopped cooked ham
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 2 (12-oz) cans Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed or poppy seed
  • 2 tablespoons diced red and green bell pepper, if desired 1 green onion fan, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Spray large cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In large bowl, combine cheese, ham, onions and mustard; mix well.
  4. Separate 1 can of dough into 10 biscuits; leave second can in refrigerator.
  5. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers.
  6. Press each biscuit layer to form 3 1/2-inch round.
  7. Place 1 rounded tablespoon cheese mixture on each dough round.
  8. Wrap dough around cheese mixture, pinching edges to seal.
  9. Repeat with remaining can of dough and cheese mixture.
  10. Arrange 8 balls, seam side down and sides almost touching, to form ring on sprayed cookie sheet, leaving 3-inch hole in center.
  11. Arrange 14 balls, sides almost touching, around outside of first ring.
  12. Arrange remaining 18 balls around outside of second ring.
  13. Brush wreath with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seed.
  14. Bake at 375°F. for 18 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  15. Carefully slide wreath from cookie sheet onto 14-inch serving platter.
  16. Sprinkle with bell pepper. Place onion fan in center of wreath. Serve warm.

Variations

  • To make a green-onion brush, place the tip of a knife at the onion’s middle and slit through the green ends. Place the onion in ice water, which will cause the "leaves" to curl; keep the green-onion brush in water until ready to use.
  • To make ahead, assemble the wreath on a cookie sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two hours. Bake as directed in the recipe.

Spinach-Cheese Balls

Here’s a tasty appetizer from Betty Crocker (original here) that you can make ahead and freeze. Just pop them out of the freezer and bake them as needed. They’re great to have on hand for last-minute snacks. Spinach-Cheese Balls are the seventeenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 box (9 oz) frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
  • 1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup tomato pasta sauce, if desired

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  3. In large bowl, mix all ingredients, except pasta sauce.
  4. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Immediately remove from pan. Serve with pasta sauce.

Variations

  • Cover and freeze unbaked balls up to 1 month. Heat oven to 350ºF. Place frozen balls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until brown.

Brown Sugar Smokies

Here’s another of our family recipes, though I think every family has probably tried some version of this delightful indulgence. Brown Sugar Smokies is the sixteenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 (16 ounce) package Little Smokies
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut each slice of bacon into thirds.
  3. Wrap ⅓ of a strip of bacon around a Little Smokies, securing with a wooden toothpick.
  4. Arrange the bacon-wrapped Smokies on a baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle the sausages with brown sugar.
  6. Bake until bacon is crisp and the brown sugar melted.

Variations

  • Be sure to secure your bacon with wooden toothpicks, as plastic toothpicks may melt in the oven. Metal skewers will work as well.

Kielbasa Appetizers

Here’s a recipe from the Allrecipes.com site (original here) that takes regular kielbasa to the next level. Kielbasa is the fifthteenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 18 fluid ounces beer
  • 1 (18-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 pounds kielbasa (Polish) sausage, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Directions

  1. Combine the beer, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, and Dijon mustard in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to low and add the kielbasa.
  3. Simmer until kielbasa is browned and glazed, about 1 hour.

Variations

  • Choose the sausage that your family prefers. Little Smokies would work well in this recipe also.
  • You could easily let this continue cooking in a crockpot, rather than on the stove.

Mini Ham & Cheese Calzones

These calzones from Kraft (original here) take advantage of refrigerated breadstick dough to make a simple and fast snack. Mini Ham and Cheese Calzones are the fourteenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (11 oz.) refrigerated soft breadsticks
  • ½ cup KRAFT Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 12 slices OSCAR MAYER Deli Fresh Honey Ham, cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F.
  2. Unroll dough; separate into 12 breadsticks.
  3. Cut each breadstick crosswise in half; flatten dough to 2-inch width.
  4. Spoon 1 tsp cheese onto center of each ham piece.
  5. Fold ham over cheese to create a tight roll.
  6. Place ham roll near the end of each piece of breadstick dough, leaving a border.
  7. Fold dough over ham, pinching edges to seal. Make sure ham and cheese are completely enclosed to prevent cheese from leaking.
  8. Repeat process for all ham pieces.
  9. Place calzones on baking sheet.
  10. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  11. Bake 12 to 15 min. or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Variations

  • You can substitute any deli meat if desired. Salami, turkey, and roast beef would all work well.

Meatball Bubble Biscuits

Another tasty recipe from Pillsbury (original here), this appetizer makes simple meatball sandwiches buffet ready. Meatball Bubble Biscuits are the thirteenth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 can (12 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk or flaky biscuits
  • 10 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs (about 5 oz), thawed, each cut in half
  • 2 sticks (1 oz each) string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, heated

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Separate dough into 10 biscuits.
  3. Separate each biscuit into 2 layers.
  4. Press each biscuit layer into 3-inch round.
  5. Place 1 meatball half, cut side up, and 1 string cheese piece in center of each dough round.
  6. Wrap dough around meatball and cheese, pressing edges to seal.
  7. In ungreased 8- or 9-inch round cake pan, place seam side down in single layer.
  8. Repeat with additional biscuits, cheese, and meatballs.
  9. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
  10. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and biscuits are no longer doughy in center.
  11. Serve warm biscuits with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Baked Onion Dip

Sweet onions are one of my favorite treats. This dip from Taste of Home (original here) sounds delightful. Can’t wait to try it. Baked Onion Dip is the twelfth of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional
  • Assorted crackers

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, onion, Parmesan cheese and garlic salt; stir in Swiss cheese.
  3. Spoon into a 1-qt. baking dish.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.
  6. Serve with crackers.

Sausage and Cheese Crescent Squares

These appetizers from Pillsbury (original here) look wonderful in the picture (from the Pillsbury site). Better yet, they seem to be quite easy to make. It’s another recipe I’m eager to try out. Sausage and Cheese Crescent Squares are the eleventh of my 25 Appetizers of Christmas.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet
  • 1 lb spicy or mild bulk pork sausage
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F.
  2. Unroll 1 can of dough. Place in ungreased 13×9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust.
  3. In 12-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink.
  4. Remove sausage from skillet; discard drippings.
  5. To same skillet, add cream cheese.
  6. Cook over low heat until melted.
  7. Add cooked sausage; stir to coat.
  8. Spoon evenly over crust in baking dish.
  9. Sprinkle with cheese.
  10. Unroll second can of dough on work surface, and press to form 13×9-inch rectangle.
  11. Carefully place dough sheet over cheese.
  12. Bake 21 to 26 minutes or until golden brown.
  13. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into small squares.

Variations

  • Substitute 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls for the dough sheets. Simply unroll the dough completely and press together at the seams.
  • You could substitute ground beef for the sausage if desired.