Five Quick Appertizer Favorites

I thought I’d use my last post of the year to share with you five of my favorite quick appetizers that are perfect for holiday entertaining, the New Year’s Day buffet, and perfect when you’ve eaten too much and lighter fare is all you crave-

Mediterranean Herbal Cream Cheese Spread
I use this recipe on crackers and sometimes cucumber slices too-

(Makes ½ cup)

•4 oz. cream cheese, regular or low fat
•2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes in oil
•1 tablespoon chopped oregano
•1 tablespoon chopped thyme

*Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before you plan to make this spread.

Place the cream cheese in a bowl and stir in sundried tomatoes, then mix in the oregano and thyme. You can also add some of the oil from the sundried tomatoes to thin it out and boost the flavor.

Put the spread back into the refrigerator, but take it out again about 5-10 minutes before you eat it so it spreads more easily.

You can also use this as a base for sandwiches and wraps. It’s also a tasty treat served on toast.

Chicken Salad
One of the fillings that always seem to get people coming back for more is curried chicken salad. (This is also a good filling for sandwiches and stuffed tomatoes too).

2 cups chopped cooked chicken
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon curry powder, your choice of mild or hot
¼ cup chopped celery,
¼ cup chopped toasted cashews
½ cup chopped seedless red grapes.

Simply mix everything together and let it sit in the fridge for about an hour, more if you have time. The combination also works well with tuna too, just leave out the grapes.

Mini Quesadillas
Most people think of chicken as the ideal filling for quesadillas but when holiday season is in full swing, canned salmon is always on sale and makes a great filling when it’s mixed with some pepper jack cheese and cooked as usual. You can either cut them into wedges or cut them in circles with a cookie cutter for bite size snacking. Or even just plain cheese quesadillas with some salsa for dipping are perfect too.

Pesto Coated Drumsticks
Many years ago I saw a recipe for cooked shrimp and pesto but as shrimp can get pricey, especially if you’re serving lots of people, a less expensive option is chicken drumsticks. Cook them and while they’re still warm toss them some store bought pesto sauce.

Mini Versions
I make up a batch of regular size sandwiches and use a cookie cutter to make smaller ones. I’ve also used this method with pizza and made pizza fingers.

Watch for Things on Sale
Besides being Christmas, next week begins the sale season. If there’s something you’ve been holding off buying it’s the best time of the year to go shopping. I always buy cards for next year too. And don’t forget red and greens items that can be used throughout the year, like red for Valentine’s Day which will be upon us before you know it.
Foodwise, I’m seeing great deals on grapes, apples and pears are still bargain priced and citrus fruit. Yesterday I was at the local Wal-Mart store and brought a 10 lb. Box of oranges for $6.98. Great for a filler item for the stocking or snacking on when you’ve over-indulged which we all do this time of the year.

Holiday Wishes
Next year I have lots of good things planned for Budget Smart Girl. The blog turns five in February and 2013 will see the release of the Budget Smart Girl book. I’m taking a break over the next couple of weeks and I’ll be back posting January 7th with a new meatless recipe.

Thank you for reading my posts throughout the year and for your kind comments. I appreciate all of you. Here’s wishing you and your families the happiest of the Holiday season and my best wishes for a wonderful New Year.



  1. I really enjoy your news letter. Love the snack ideas. I didn’t realize, but I have probably been following you for five years congratulations! Colorado Junkett

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