When I have to have treats in the house for the masses during the holiday season, or need to have a snack to serve unexpected guests, there are some go-to recipes I use that are quick, easy, generous and make me seem like a superstar hostess.
These recipes have been in the family for many years; in fact, some are more than 60 years old.
I like this assortment of goodies and savory items because there is something for everyone here and the treats look nice when they are plated together. There are a variety of shapes, colours and textures that are appealing too.
All of these baked goods freeze well and keep until you want to serve them. Store the cookies in freezer containers and wrap the squares tightly in plastic wrap. They thaw quickly enough when presented on the serving platter.
Once Christmas Day has passed, there is a shift and we tend to favour more savoury snacks. I have included a few easy hors d'oeuvre recipes and a tasty and refreshing salad that keeps in the fridge for many days.
The following salad not only looks so pretty and colourful, it tastes terrific and has a wonderful crunch.
CHICK PEA & PEPPERS SALAD
Combine these ingredients in a large bowl:
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 can niblet style corn, drained
1/2 cup onion, diced very fine (you can substitute chives, red onion or shallots)
1/4 cup red pepper, diced
1/4 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup orange pepper, diced
1/4 cup yellow pepper, diced
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
Add: 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Pinch of salt
1/8 cup Italian salad dressing (or whatever you like)
Stir gently but thoroughly to combine and refrigerate until time to serve or place on the buffet table.
Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
I often make this salad on a Sunday and put it into lunch containers for my work week. It keeps well and makes a healthy and tasty lunch.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, 30 minutes baking time
1 eight-ounce package cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
6 drops Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
6 ounces imitation crab, cut up
Mix all ingredients together and place in oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Serve with French loaf, sourdough bread, crackers
This recipe can easily be doubled - just bake a little longer.
You may vary the ingredients according to your preference, for example: use light cream cheese if you wish. Use any hot sauce you have on hand and to your preference. Add more or less curry and use chives instead of, or in addition to the onion.
BARBECUED CHICKEN DRUMMETTES
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Lightly oil or spray a 9" x 13" casserole dish with Pam
1 pound chicken drummettes*
In a single layer place the chicken drummettes in the casserole dish and pour the BBQ sauce evenly over top.
Gently turn the drummettes to coat evenly.
Place dish in hot oven and roast approximately 30-40 minutes, turning chicken pieces every 10 minutes to brown evenly.
*Drummettes are the 'meatier' piece of chicken wings and I prefer them because they cook evenly, whereas the skinny 'wing' part often becomes over-cooked, almost burned.
Or, you can simply use chicken drumsticks and adjust the roasting time accordingly. Using cut up boneless chicken thighs or breasts means your guests won't be picking at bones and getting messy fingers when they are wearing their 'good clothes'.
PEANUT BUTTER BARS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake 15 - 20 minutes
Greased 9" x 13" baking pan
Cream: 3/4 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter*
1 cup packed brown sugar
Blend in: 1 egg beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
Add and mix well:
2 cups pastry flour**
Spread in prepared pan and bake 15 - 20 minutes.
While the base is baking, melt together:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Allow base to cool slightly then spread melted chocolate/peanut butter evenly over top. Let cool completely, cut into squares and refrigerate.
* You may use smooth or crunchy peanut butter. I like smooth for the base and crunchy for the topping.
** All-purpose flour can be used also, sift it before measuring. It will make the batter a little more dense.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bake 12-15 minutes
1 cup granulated sugar to coat
Sift dry ingredients together:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Set aside dry ingredients.
Cream together until well blended:
3/4 cup butter or shortening (or a mix of both)
2 cups granulated sugar
Add to sugar mixture and 'beat' until light:
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsp. white vinegar
Add sifted dry ingredients gradually until well combined. Shape dough into small balls (large marble sized) and roll in white sugar to coat before placing them 2" apart on cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 -15 minutes, let sit for a few moments then remove from pans to rack to cool completely.