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Hi there,

I have had such a wonderful year meeting so many of my fellow bloggers. It has been such a pleasure to read your stories and recipes and to share them with my readers.

As a special Christmas present from me to you, I created this collection of appetizers for you to refer to during this primo entertaining time of the year.

May your holiday season be filled with the joy of sharing delicious food with good friends and well loved family.

DEVIL STICKS – They’re creepy, and they’re kooky. Mysterious, spooky, and altogether delicious.


9 ounces of light string cheese sticks

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 eggs, beaten

8 ounces of Flaming Hot Crunch Cheetos, crushed in the food processor


Dip the string cheese sticks into the beaten egg

Coat with flour

Dip again in the egg

Coat with the crushed Cheetos

Put in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes

Heat the air fryer to 400 degrees

Put in the air fryer for 4 to 6 minutes

Serve with marinara sauce or sauce

LEMON SHRIMP COCKTAIL – nothing small about the taste


  • 2 lb bag of 16-20 shrimp
  • 2 lemons sliced very thin
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of EVOO mixed with 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning mix
  • aleppo pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • slice the lemons very thin and arrange on a sheet pan
  • mix the shrimp with the seasoned EVOO
  • place the shrimp on top of the lemons
  • sprinkle the lemon zest and aleppo pepper liberally on the shrimp
  • bake for 15 to 20 minutes
  • serve at room temperature

Louis Sauce – Ina Garten

1/2 cup chili sauce (recommended: Heinz)

1/2 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)

For the sauce, combine the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.

WARNING: Don’t hope for any leftovers. Every time I serve this dish, I end up with an empty plate.

SUNDRIED TOMATO CHEESECAKE – cheesecake, not just for dessert anymore


  • Butter for greasing the pan
  • 4 and 1/2 inch springform pan
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese, room temp
  • 3 ounces of goat cheese, room temp
  • 4 ounces ricotta cheese, room temp
  • 1 cup of Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes with Zesty Peppers
  • 2 tablespoons of pesto
  • 4 tablespoons of Bella Sun Luci Tomato Pesto Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • zest of one large lemon
  • 1 large egg plus one yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Butter the bottom and sides of a 4 1/2 inch springform pan
  • Line the bottom with parchment paper
  • Wrap the outside with heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Place the sundried tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until chopped into small pieces
  • Removes tomatoes from the food processor and add the room temperature cheese and pulse until combined
  • Add the lemon zest, eggs, salt, and sun dried tomato and pepper mixture and combine
  • In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of tomato pesto with basil pesto and set aside
  • Pour half of the cheese mixture into the pan
  • Dot the mixture with the combined pesto mixture
  • Pour the remaining cheese mixture on top
  • Place the springform pan into an ovenproof pan containing hot water that reaches halfway up the springform pan
  • Bake for 50 minutes; check after 45 minutes. The cake should be slightly loose in the center
  • Remove from the oven and remove the aluminum foil
  • Refrigerate for 3 hours and then remove from the springform pan
  • Smooth the additional tomato pesto on the top and sprinkle the pine nuts
  • Let the cake remain out of the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving



  • 1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 3 cups of any type of Lindsay® Olives
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence blend or a mix of dried rosemary and thyme
  • 8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.
  3. Transfer mixture to a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have shriveled and browned lightly. 
  5. Cool on the pan. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
  6. Serve at room temperature with toasted baguette slices or crackers.

Brie and Figs and Cherries, Oh My!


  • 1 President Brie Log
  • 2 tablespoons of fig jam
  • 1/4 lb low sodium proscuitto
  • Sour Cherry Preserves
  • Glazed Walnuts


  • Bring all ingredients to room temperature
  • Slice the brie log in the center enough to make a pocket but not all the way through
  • Put the fig jam in the pocket and lightly press to close
  • Wrap the log in proscuitto
  • Wrap in paper and refrigerate until ready to serve
  • Just before serving slice into round discs and top either with the basalmic cherry or a walnut
  • Place on a cracker of your choice and serve





  • mix the strawberry preserves with the basalmic vinegar and basil.
  • reserve some basil for garnish
  • on a piece of parchment paper layer overlapping pieces of prosciutto
  • on top of the prosciutto spread the goat cheese
  • top the goat cheese with the strawberry preserve mixture
  • roll up jelly roll fashion
  • refrigerator for 1 hour before slicing

STROMBOLI – super easy and delicious addition to the snack menu


  • 1 roll of Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup of Rao’s Marinara Sauce
  • 4 ounces of thinly sliced Beretta soppressata, Milano salami & coppa
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
  • Herb seasoned olive oil for spreading over the top


  • Spread the dough into a rectangular shape
  • Lightly spread the dough with the marinara sauce leaving a 1/2 inch border all around
  • Top the sauce with the thinly sliced antipasto and then the cheese
  • Roll into a jelly roll
  • Lightly spread the seasoned olive oil on top
  • Cut shallow slices into the top of the stromboli
  • Bake for approximately 13 minutes at 400 degrees

MEATBALL YUMMIES – always a yummy in your tummy


1 lb ground beef 

1 egg

1/4 cup breadcrumbs 

2-3 Tbsp steak sauce

2Tbsp olive oil 

1/4 cup breadcrumbs 

2-3 Tbsp steak sauce

2Tbsp olive oil 


  • Tbsp butter

2-3 Tbsp steak sauce 

1/4 cup brown sugar 


Mix beef and first 3 ingredients.

Make small meatballs, brown in frying pan in oil. 

Remove meatballs when brown.  Make sauce in same pan.  Add meatballs to sauce.  Slow cook until meatballs are cook all the way.

Turn and coat meatballs in sauce as the sauce mixture thickens.



  • a container of flavor bombs cherry tomatoes
  • small container of homemade pesto (recipe to follow)
  • very small, unseasoned mozzarella balls
  • basalmic glaze and fresh basil for finishing


  1. slice a small piece off the top and bottom of the tomatoes
  2. using a small spoon core the tomatoes leaving the bottom intact
  3. fill the tomatoes with pesto
  4. cut the mozzarella ball in half and top each tomato with 1/2 piece mozzarella
  5. drizzle basalmic glaze and put a chiffonade of fresh basil on top




½ cup pine nuts

3oz. Parmesan, grated (about ¾ cup)

6 cups basil leaves (about 3 bunches)

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


In a food processor finely chop basil

Next add pine nuts and chop to combine

Add parmesan cheese to the mixture

Slowly drizzle EVOO until mixture forms a paste

Special Note: I do not use garlic anymore in my pesto and I use very little oil. I prefer to add oil or butter to the food and then add the pesto. I use a dollop of pesto when I am making marinara sauce. Pesto freezes beautifully. I put it in small jars as you see in the photo above.

19 responses to “FAVORITE APPETIZERS”

  1. V.M.Sang – UK – I was born and educated in the north west of England. I trained as a teacher in Manchester and taught in Salford, Lancashire, Hampshire and Croydon. I write fantasy novels currently. I also make cards, knit, crochet, tat, do cross stitch and paint. I enjoy walking on the Downs, cycling and kayaking. I do not enjoy housework, but like cooking.
    V.M.Sang says:

    They all sound yummy. I like the idea of a savoury cheesecake.

  2. I think I would probably end up eating all the appetizers! Those prawns are so succulent.

  3. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    Thank you Bernadette! So many mouthwatering treats!

  4. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats – NY, NY – Private chef, cookbook author, food journalist and translator. I love traveling and love to find out more about food wherever I go.
    Ronit says:

    Great selection of tasty appetizers! 🙂

  5. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles. https://twitter.com/#!/supermegawoman http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=201634059868404&id=631897250&ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    These all look soooo good. Thanks for your amazing posts all year long!

  6. I’m coming to your house for Christmas! Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes Bernadette!

  7. debrapurdykong – British Columbia, Canada – I'm a British Columbia author who's been writing for over 30 years. My volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and security work inspired me to write the Casey Holland transit security novels set in Metro Vancouver. I'm also a part-time facilitator in Creative Writing Workshops through Port Moody's Recreation program. Feel free to contact me at dpurdykong@gmail.com
    debrapurdykong says:

    They all look absolutely delicious!

  8. Awakening Wonders – Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened. I invite you to join me as I share passionate life adventures and ramblings that awaken my spirit. I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple, joyous wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!
    Awakening Wonders says:

    Thanks for sharing the appetizers – they all look mouth-watering!

  9. First of all, you are right – you can never eat too many olives (yum) – second of all, how do I choose? Everything looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party – hope your week has been great and we see you again tomorrow!

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