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Nifty nibblers for New Year's festivities


Last updated 12/28/2006 at Noon

Ringing in the new year can be as elegant or casual as you want. From a few to 50… the party is all about how you want to entertain. So, let the party you plan reflect your style, your favorites and also, says the practical side of me, the time and assistance available.

For many, there is a happy compromise between a fully catered affair and letting someone else do part of the food preparation. After all, you want to enjoy the festivities, too, and who can be the belle of the ball when they’ve been slicing, dicing and peeling veggies all day?

Here’s a dandy selection of nibblers that might add a special flavor note to your party’s appetizers.

Or, do as many do – make the whole party one great appetizer feast. It’s fun, it’s easy and in many cases the nibblers can be made a day or so ahead of time. Pass the veggies… and be sure there is a dip, too!

Veggie Dill Dip

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp. seasoned salt

¼ cup finely minced onion or 1 tbsp. onion flakes

3 tbsp. fresh chopped dill or 1 tbsp. dill weed

3 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley or 1 tbsp. parsley flakes

Assorted mixed veggies for dipping

Combine all ingredients except veggies. Blend well and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Take from refrigerator; stir well. Turn into serving bowl, surround with prepared vegetables and serve.

Here are dandy little hot nibblers to pass on a tray and collect compliments all of the way around the room.

Boka ditto de Guatemala

½ cup grated Romano cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

Small onion, sliced wafer-thin

Very thinly sliced bread or unflavored crackers


Mix cheeses and mayonnaise. Store in refrigerator until ready to prepare appetizers. Cut bread into squares. Spread with cheese mixture. Top each with a thin slice of onion. Sprinkle with paprika. Broil 3-4 minutes until bread is lightly toasted and cheese heated thoroughly.

Serve hot.

A chafing dish of meatballs with assorted sauces makes a hearty and filling appetizer.

Oven-Fried Meatballs

2 lbs. ground beef

1 ½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¾ cup chili sauce

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

¾ cup cornflake crumbs

¼ cup evaporated milk

Barbecue, sweet sour and mustard sauce for dipping

Mix all ingredients together. Shape into 6 or 7 dozen tiny meatballs, about the size of large marbles. Place on a jelly roll pan or other pan with sides. Bake in a 400-degree oven about 12-15 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Spear each meatball with a wooden pick. Keep warm in a chafing dish or on a heated serving platter. Serve hot with barbeque sauce, sweet sour sauce or mustard sauce.

This cheese and nut log is unusual and unusually flavorful.

Chili Cheese Log

2 (3-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp. salt

Few drops pepper sauce

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup finely chopped pecans

2-4 tbsp. chili powder

Water crackers or unflavored round crackers

Beat cream cheese until soft and smooth. Blend in remaining ingredients except chili powder. Blend until smooth. (If quite soft, refrigerate before handling). Shape into log about 7 inches long and 1 ½ inches in diameter.

Sprinkle chili powder on sheet of waxed paper. Roll log in chili powder to coat evenly. Wrap in waxed paper, or plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 4 hours.

Serve surrounded with crackers.

An Italian-flavored butter sauce makes shrimp almost irresistible!

Shrimp with Garlic Butter

3 lbs. fresh uncooked shrimp

¼ lb. butter

¼ cup olive oil

2 tbsp. lemon juice

¼ cup finely chopped shallots

1 tbsp. finely chopped garlic

¼ tsp. thyme

¼ tsp. oregano

1 tsp. salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Fresh chopped parsley, optional garnish

Lemon wedges, optional garnish

Shell and devein shrimp. Skewer using 2 or 3 shrimp to each skewer.

Melt butter in a large shallow sauté pan. Add all ingredients except parsley.

Add shrimp on skewers and spoon butter mixture over shrimp over to coat well.

Transfer shrimp to a broiler pan. Broil shrimp just until firm and lightly browned.

Keep butter mixture warm. When shrimp is cooked, transfer to a chafing dish or heated platter. Spoon hot butter mixture lightly over shrimp. Garnish with parsley and lemon.

Watch these seasoned crackers disappear from an appetizer buffet or a football snack table.

Peggy’s Seasoned Crackers

2 (10-oz.) pkgs. oyster crackers or plain Goldfish crackers

2 tbsp. dill weed

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 pkg. dry Hidden Valley Ranch mix

¾ cup olive oil

Shake the seasonings together in a bag.

Pour oil over crackers. Mix oil-coated crackers with seasonings. Store in a tightly sealed container.

South-of-the-border flavor and presentation adds flair to these bite-size nibbles.

Cheesy Burrito Bites

1 (16-oz.) tub sour cream

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 small can green chilies, chopped, drained

1 cup chopped green onions

Dash of pepper sauce

¼ tsp. garlic salt

24 flour tortillas

Wooden picks


Mix sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, green chilies, onion, pepper sauce and garlic. Blend well. Spread on tortillas. Roll and chill to set. Cut into bite-size pieces, spear with a wooden pick and serve with salsa.


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