Monday, June 2, 2014

appetizers only buffet

I belong to an organization that meets monthly and we take turns bringing the lunch.  It is a small group, usually around 10 of us or so each month and this time when it was my turn to serve I decided to do an appetizers only buffet.  It is really up to the hostess to decide what she is going to bring.  Last time it was my turn I brought a casserole and salad.  This time I knew that there was another event upcoming so it was a perfect opportunity to try a few trial a couple of new recipes.  Here is my menu.


Honey Balsamic Drummies

Sausage Feta Skewers

Marinated Cheeses with crackers

Reuben Appetizers

Bacon and Cheese Wrapped Tater Tots with Tabasco


Honey Balsamic Drummies

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 sprigs rosemary
5 cloves of garlic, halved
10-12 chicken drummies or wing sections
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, optional
1 green onion, sliced

Combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar and soy sauce stirring until the honey and brown sugar are dissolved.  Place the mixture in a resealable plastic bag and add the rosemary and garlic cloves.  Add the chicken pieces and seal the bag, trying to remove as much air as possible.  Marinade in the refrigerator for two hours.  Preheat oven to 450°.  Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on a greased and foil lined baking sheet.  Reserve the marinade.  Bake the chicken pieces for 30-35 minutes or until the skin is slightly crispy.

While the chicken is baking place the marinade in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add cornstarch 1 tsp at a time until sauce reaches desired thickness.  Remove chicken from the oven and brush on the sauce.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and onion slices.

Sausage Feta Skewers

Chorizo sausage ( I used Guy Fieri Italian Sausage)
Goat cheese or Feta cheese

The sausage that I used was fully cooked, so I sliced it and served it cold.  I cut the Feta cheese into similarly sized pieces.  I selected a larger sized pimento stuffed olive.  I assembled the appetizer by piercing thru the olive with the skewer, then thru the cheese slice and then into the sausage slice.  I did not have fresh parsley so I omitted it and they were very good without it.  With fully cooked sausages these do not require any cooking.  They can be assembled quickly and are very tasty.


Marinated Cheeses with Crackers

1 Good Seasons Italian Dressing packet
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp minced green onion
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
8 oz block of Monterey Jack cheese, chilled
8 oz block of cheddar cheese, chilled
8 oz block of cream cheese, chilled
4 oz jar of chopped pimento, drained
Assorted crackers

Whisk together the first six ingredients and set aside.  Cut the cheeses in half lengthwise and then cut each half into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Arrange in rows alternating the three cheeses and standing on edges in a shallow baking dish.  Pour  marinade mixture over cheeses, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.  To serve either drain marinade and arrange cheese on platter and top with pimento or serve right from the container with the marinade.  I did not have pimento and it tasted really good without it but the picture accompanying the original recipe was much more colorful with it.  I used wheat thins, the original version and it was a nice flavor combination with the cheese and marinade.

Reuben Appetizers

36 cocktail rye bread (we used a loaf of marble rye with slices cut in quarters)
4 oz package sliced corn beef (we used sliced deli pastrami)
8 oz can sauerkraut, drained and snipped into short pieces
6 slices Swiss cheese, (we used grated)
thousand island salad dressing

We spread each slice of bread with thousand island dressing, added a slice of pastrami and topped it with a tsp or so of the sauerkraut and some cheese.  Place the open faced appetizer on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400° for 6-8 minutes or until cheese melts and they are heated through. 

Bacon and Cheese Wrapped Tater Tots with Tabasco

24 tater tots
12 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise
24 small chunks of sharp cheddar cheese about 1/2 inch x 1/4 inch
Tabasco sauce

Preheat oven to 450.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Take a partially defrosted tater tot and place it on a bacon strip half.  Make a slit in the tot and tuck a small piece of cheese in the slit.  Sprinkle with Tabasco sauce.  Roll the bacon around the tot/cheese and secure with toothpick if needed.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes or until they appear to be cooked through and the bacon is crispy.  The original recipe includes a couple fun looking variations and a spicy dipping sauce option. 

next time I would use shorter pieces of cheese

ready for the oven

This menu had some drawbacks.  The place where our meeting was held does not make for easy baking so I was trying to bring hot food from home.  I also used my mom's buffet server but it took a while to get it up to temperature.  Doing these recipes where they could be baked and served right away would work much better.  If you were to do these recipes I would follow these steps:

  • Make the marinade for the cheese, prep the cheese slices and get the marinade on the cheese and in the refrigerator early in the day.
  • Make the marinade for the drummies and get that in the refrigerator several hours ahead
  • slice the sausage and cheese for the skewers
  • assemble the Reubens, wait to bake
  • assemble  the tater tots, wait to bake
  • assemble the skewers
  • begin heating the buffet server
  • bake the drummies, transfer to buffet server, top with sauce, sesame seeds and onions
  • bake the tater tots, transfer to buffet server
  • bake the Reubens, transfer to buffet server
  • while baking the above, arrange the cheese slices and top with pimento and arrange the crackers.


Honey Balsamic Drummies 
Sausage Feta Skewers
Marinaded cheese
Bacon and Cheese wrapped tator tots
The Reuben appetizer is a shared recipe and origin is unknown

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