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Appetizer Roundup: 6 Party Appetizers Revisted “Ugh, I have to bring appetizers again! Any ideas on what I should make for the party next week?” grumbled my daughter. “Why don’t you check out the appetizer recipes on my blog?” I replied, trying not to smile. “You could make “Bloomin’ Onion Bread, Pepperoni Pizza Puffs, or Kate’s Cheese Squares. They’re always crowd-pleasers. You could make something healthy like a Trio of Dips served with crudités. Or, if you’d rather bring something more exotic, make Sushi Casserole or Banh Mi Bruschetta,” I suggested to her. “Oh, I don’t know . . . . I’ve got to think about this,” sighed my daughter.

That conversation reminded me of some of the great appetizers that I’ve prepared in the past, so I thought I would revisit them – just in time for holiday and New Year’s entertaining!

Banh Mi Brushetta (Top left)
Bruschetta with a twist or Banh Mi simplified? Either way, this appetizer brings together some incredible flavor combinations.

Bloomin’ Onion Bread (Left center)
Sourdough bread, Monterey Jack cheese, butter, green onions, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese . . . need I say more?

Sushi Casserole (Bottom left)
This recipe serves a crowd and can be easily adapted. What ingredients you layer and the order you layer them is part of the fun in making this appetizer. Sushi rice will always be the base layer, but be creative with everything else!

Kate’s Cheese Squares (Top right)
A tried and true recipe that’s been around for decades is the best way to describe these cheese delights. They are light in texture, yet sinfully rich.

Pepperoni Pizza Puffs With Homemade Pizza Sauce (Middle right)
The smell of these small puffs of pizza will drive you crazy while they are baking, but they will be even more irresistible fresh out of the oven. They are best eaten hot, but they’re never around long enough to cool down!

Trio of Dips for Crudités (Bottom right)
Healthy does not mean blah. These three dips paired with fresh vegetables creates an explosion of flavors and colors!

ENJOY!

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The invitation read, “Last names: A-M hearty appetizer, N-Z dessert.” I sighed, put the invitation on my desk and thought, “Appetizers, again.” With a last name that begins with a letter in the first part of the alphabet, I’m pretty much destined to bring appetizers to every group party I’m ever invited to attend. Although, just once, I’d like to bring a dessert, I’m thankful that my situation has caused me to test and build up a pretty nice collection of appetizer recipes!

This recipe for Cheese Squares comes from my friend Kate, who got the recipe from her mother. Kate recently made these for a pre-wedding bash she hosted for her daughter. Helping Kate in the kitchen that evening was my strategy to be closer to the food – someone had to keep an eye on and sample all of the hot appetizers coming out of the oven! Kate outdid herself, as usual, and all her appetizers were delicious, but this one was a standout. If you like cheddar cheese, butter, and cream cheese, you will like these delicate puffs of bread dipped in a frothy mixture of those sinfully rich ingredients and then baked to a delicious, light golden brown.

Cheese Squares

Ingredients:
1/4 pound Tillamook cheddar cheese, grated
1 cube butter
13 ounces cream cheese
2 eggs
Unsliced loaf of bread, such as Challah or 1-inch thick slices of Texas Toast bread

Directions:
1. Cut crust off bread and cut into 1-inch cubes.

2. Melt the first three ingredients in a double boiler. Let cool for a bit.

3. Separate egg whites from the yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff and add to slightly cooled cheese-butter mixture.

4. Dip cubes of bread into the egg white-butter-cheese mixture and place on a greased or parchment-covered baking sheet.

5. Refrigerate cubes overnight. Kate has had the best luck when she quick-freezes the squares on a cookie sheet – both if she wants to cook them right away or if she wants to freeze them for future use. If she’s going to freeze them for future use, she makes sure they are completely frozen on the cookie sheet before placing them in a zip-type plastic bag or else they will stick to the inside of the bag.

6. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Obviously, the better the ingredients, the better the flavor. Buy flavorful bread and good cheese.

2. I made some Cheese Squares several months ago and froze the extra. Surprisingly, when my freezer went out recently and I was forced to bake these, they still tasted good!

Enjoy!

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