(Family Features) For holiday parties of any size, tasty appetizers and starters are menu must-haves. While the main course roasts and before dessert is served, guests may flock to the table for snacks and small plates to keep cravings at bay.
When pre-dinner hunger strikes at your holiday gathering, be the center of attention with quick, delicious and simple appetizers that deliver exactly what your guests crave. One way to be the star of your holiday soiree is with Litehouse’s rich and flavorful Simply Artisan Reserve blue cheese and gorgonzola center cuts. Whether the foundation of a delicious cheese plate or crumbled in a recipe – such as one of these eight apps – it’s a win-win solution.
Find more holiday solutions and appetizer recipes at litehousefoods.com.
New seasonings make it easy
(Family Features) Exotic flavors common in the Middle Eastern region of the world like harissa, za’atar and shawarma are having a moment, appearing on restaurant menus and in popular make-at-home recipes.
Now is the perfect time to give these flavors a try. Thanks to new global seasonings from McCormick Gourmet, the spice combinations are already blended for the ultimate taste and simplicity.
Made from high-quality herbs and spices, the seasonings are USDA-Organic certified and Non-GMO Project verified so you can feel good about the ingredients used in your cooking. The expertly blended spices help create distinctive global-inspired dishes that take your home dining experience to the next level so you can explore these flavors from around the world without leaving the comfort of home.
- Za’atar: This traditional Middle Eastern blend of spices including thyme, oregano and sesame seeds is perfect for sprinkling on flatbreads, roasted vegetables, nuts
or popcorn. It can also be mixed into hummus or oil
- Harissa: A spicy flavor found in North African cuisine, this seasoning is made from a combination of chilies, warm spices and mint. Add it to meat and veggies before roasting, stir it into cooked rice and grains, mix it into yogurt to make a dip or combine it with roasted bell peppers and oil to turn this spice into its namesake sauce.
- Shawarma: Often associated with the slow roasting of meat, this Middle Eastern street food favorite is made with cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and more. Use this seasoning to flavor an easy marinade for chicken, pork or steak.
Look for these flavors as well as new Peruvian and Berbere seasonings in the spice section of retailers nationwide. Find more recipe ideas at McCormickGourmet.com.
Grilled Chicken Shawarma
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
- 1 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
- 5 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 4 pita pockets, halved
- 1 medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
- 8 lettuce leaves
- In small bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon shawarma seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, remaining yogurt, remaining shawarma seasoning and sea salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mixture; set aside.
- Place chicken in large re-sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 1 hour, or longer for extra flavor.
- Heat grill or skillet to medium heat.
- Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill or saute 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 F, brushing with reserved marinade.
- Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve in pitas with cucumber, lettuce and yogurt dressing.
Shaved Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Harissa Dressing
Prep time: 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Harissa Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Black Pepper, coarse ground
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound multicolor carrots, washed and peeled
- 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachios
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In large bowl, mix mint, pomegranate juice, honey, harissa seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Gradually add oil while mixing with wire whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
- Trim carrot ends. Slice each carrot lengthwise into ribbons with vegetable peeler or mandoline. In medium bowl, toss carrots with 1/4 cup prepared dressing. Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
- Arrange arugula on serving platter. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with carrot mixture. Sprinkle with feta before serving.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (2 tablespoons each)
- 1 cup labneh (yogurt cheese)
- 2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pita bread, for serving (optional)
- pita chips, for serving (optional)
- sliced fresh vegetables, for serving (optional)
- In small bowl, mix labneh and 1 teaspoon seasoning until well blended.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
- Serve with fresh pita bread, pita chips or sliced fresh vegetables, as desired.
(Family Features) Holiday entertaining is all about food, wine and quality time with family and friends. This year, try a new approach to holiday get-togethers by hosting an hors d’oeuvres party.
Skip the hassle of preparing a full meal by serving a number of small bites, dips and spreads for your guests to enjoy. Most hors d’oeuvres can be prepared ahead of time so you can spend more time with your guests instead of in the kitchen, making it easy to entertain flawlessly.
The best part is you don’t have to break the bank to host a fabulous holiday gathering. By switching from national name brands to a grocer like ALDI, party essentials and seasonal must-haves, such as holiday gifts and baking necessities, can be as much as 50 percent less. Manufactured by many of the nation’s leading food producers, these exclusive brand items often meet or exceed the quality and taste of the national name brands.
Try these hors d’oeuvre serving tips from food stylist and loyal ALDI shopper Janice Stahl:
- Rethink the regular: Surprise guests and get creative with classic recipes by changing the presentation. Square pizza bites, circular tea sandwiches or star-shaped fruit make entertaining fun.
- Keep hors d’oeuvres simple: Serve foods that are bite-sized and easy to pick up. Try skewers to create festive kabobs, which are perfect for nibbling.
- Presentation is everything: Experiment with serving pieces like vases, champagne glasses or appetizer cups that add special interest to bite-sized snacks from chips and dip to shrimp cocktail.
With these simple tips and recipes, you’ll be ready to throw a festive holiday hors d’oeuvres party that’s easy and affordable. Visit www.aldi.us for more entertaining ideas.
Cranberry Shrimp Ceviche Cups
$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Alyssa, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 3 minutes
Yields: 16 ceviche cups
- 1 1/2 teaspoons iodized salt, divided
- 16 ounces medium raw shrimp, thawed
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 red onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 jalapeno, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 16 ounces tortilla chips
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- Fresh cranberries, optional
- Bring medium pot of water to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt.
- Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Immediately plunge cooked shrimp into ice water bath. Peel shrimp and place in flat dish.
- In food processor, combine cranberries, red onion, parsley and jalapeno. Pulse until finely chopped.
- Add cranberry mixture to shrimp.
- Add lemon juice, lime juice, remaining salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Stir to combine ingredients thoroughly.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- To assemble, spoon ceviche, about 4 to 5 shrimp each, into small clear cups or glasses. Garnish with tortilla chips and lime wedges.
Pistachio Lemon Truffles
$0.43 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Cook time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour to chill
Yields: 24 truffles
- 1 1/4 cups pistachios, shelled
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 4 ounces plain goat cheese
- 3/4 cup dried mixed berries, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped lemon zest
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Roughly chop pistachios, place in bowl.
- With electric mixer, cream together remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Scoop tablespoon size balls of cheese mixture and roll in pistachios to coat.
- To serve, sprinkle platter with remaining pistachios and place truffles on top. Serve with crackers.
A signature drink is a must at any holiday soiree. Get creative by offering guests a specialty cocktail that matches the color scheme for the event. An avid party hostess, food stylist Janice Stahl makes the occasion special by pairing white wine with a splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice, garnished with fresh fruit or herbs. Giving your signature drink an original name to reflect your personality is an added touch your guests will love. For a lasting impression, hand out recipe cards of your signature drink as party favors.
$0.58 per serving at ALDI
Recipe courtesy of ALDI Food Stylist, Janice Stahl
- Sugar for glass rim
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup cranberry- pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh cranberries
- Fresh fruit for garnish
- Dip rim of glass in sugar.
- Pour wine and juice into glass, stirring to combine.
- Drop in cranberries, along with any additional fruit desired. Serve immediately.