FORT WORTH, Tx. December 28, 2011 ― Now that Christmas is over, planning for New Year’s Eve is underway. Celebrations from one side of the International Date Line to the other will mark the coming of the New Year. And no matter where those parties are held, good food and lots of it is an integral part of the merrymaking.
With all that goes into organizing a successful party, recipes that are fast, easy and tasty are a must. Here are three appetizer recipes that are always a hit with my friends and family.
The first is bruschetta, the second is breakfast sausage balls, and the third is arancini. Make plenty of these as they will disappear fast.
1 loaf of baguette bread
Italian cheeses - (Choose from parmesan, mozzarella, asiago, fontina, romano, provolone)
Set oven to 425 degrees. Slice baguette in 1/2 in. thick segments. Brush tops with olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Add tomatoes, sprinkle with Italian seasoning then top with cheese.
Bake 7-10 minutes. Serve warm.
If you don’t have time to dice the tomatoes you can buy them already chopped in the grocery store produce department.You can also use bruschetta topping from a jar. Also, use one, two or all of the cheeses. Try other types of cheese if you like. For a Greek flavor use black olives and feta cheese.
3 cups biscuit mix (Like Bisquick or Jiffy)
1# ground breakfast sausage
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp. red pepper (or a few drops of Tabasco sauce)
Mix together with your hands in a bowl until all ingredients are incorporated. Roll into walnut sized balls and place on baking sheet. Bake @ 375 degrees for 18 minutes – check after 12 minutes. The bottoms should be browned. These are great without the pepper or Tabasco too.
Arancini (see video below)
This recipe hails from Sicily. My grandma made them several times a year especially at Christmas. She rolled hers larger than here and served them with dinner. These are appetizer-sized.
4 cups rice (cooked)
3/4 to 1 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese
Cubed mozzarella or provolone
Italian sausage links, cooked and sliced into “coins”, then quarter the coins
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup milk
2 cups flour
3 cups Italian breadcrumbs
Cook rice according to package directions using chicken stock instead of water. When all the stock is absorbed, add shredded cheese and mix thoroughly. Cool.
To make 2” ball: press cooled rice into cupped hand, making a well in the middle. Put cheese cube and sausage piece in well. Cover with more rice and roll into ball between your palms. Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat with all the rice, cheese and sausage.
Beat eggs with 1/4 cup milk. Roll balls in flour, then egg mixture, and then Italian bread crumbs – in that order. Coat all rice balls and place back on cookie sheet.
Fry in skillet with about 1 1/2 - 2” canola oil at 350 degrees. Roll balls with spoon in oil until browned all over. This only takes about 30 seconds, no more than a minute. Drain on paper towels.
Bake in oven @400 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve with sauces such as: marinara, alfredo, ranch dressing, whatever you like.
The rice works better if you make it with cheese a day ahead and it’s cold. Also, you can make these ahead of time, store in the refrigerator, leaving the baking step for right before serving.
Read more of Claire’s work at Feed The Mind, Nourish The Soul in the Communities at The Washington Times, her blog Sustenance For The Mind, and the writing group she belongs to at Greater Fort Worth Writers.
Join her on Facebook at facebook.com/Claire0803 and
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