Treats for those Holiday Parties and Events

December is a month of special events including Christmas and New Year with family gatherings and parties. This year was different for my husband and me since we had moved in August to Sedona, Arizona from Michigan.  But  that didn’t stop the parties. We were more active here than in Michigan, and partly because I had let me writing career take over my life. I had slipped away from the social life of friends and mainly spent social time with family, but I realized the loss when long time friends traveling in the area stopped to see us and our new home. The value of friendships heightened again, and I made a decision to return to my social roots.

With that in mind, preparing appetizers for special events as well as for our church fellowship hour took on a new meaning. As I thought about the many people this time of year preparing dishes to take along with them. I wanted share a few recipes that are easy to make and a couple that are  good enough to spend the extra time. I hope you enjoy these treats for parties and for dinners when you want to include appetizers.

Sausage Puffs

This is a recipe I’ve had for years and it’s always been a crowd-pleaser. They are easy to make and delicious to eat.

1 lb. roll of Bob Evans sausage (or any brand)
2 cups Bisquick
4 oz. Old English Cream cheese spread
4 oz. jar cheese whiz.

Mix all ingredients well. Roll into 1-1/2 inches balls. (Freeze if making them in advance) If frozen don’t thaw before baking. Place on cookie sheet, bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

You can include a salsa for dipping or eat plain. Enjoy.

Ham Roll-Ups

You can get creative with this recipe and add other ingredients such as olives or colorful peppers diced. They are tasty and always a hit.

1 tub of soft cream cheese
chopped green onion
thin ham slices
Pkg of flour tortillas

On flour tortillas, spread cream cheese, sprinkle with diced green onions, and cover with ham slices. Roll into cylinders and cover in plastic wrap. Let set hours or overnight and then cut into rounds and serve.

Christmas Roll-Ups

Though Christmas is over, this appetizer can be used at any time of year with diced additions that are not just Christmas colors, such as orange or yellow peppers or ripe olives.  They are very good at anytime.

1 tub soft cream cheese – plain or use veggie-type
1/2 cup diced green olives
1/2 cup diced green onions
1/2 cup diced red peppers
1/2 cup diced green peppers
pkg of large four tortillas

Spread cream cheese over large flour tortillas. Sprinkle on the diced, olives,  green onions, colored peppers. Roll tortillas into a tight cylinder and place in plastic wrap for hours or overnight. Cut diagonal slices  and serve.

Cowboy Caviar

My niece brought  this recipe from California, and it’s become one of our favorites and perfect for any event served with chips or crackers. We use fresh cilantro but if it’s not available you can use the dried herb.

1 can white corn
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 or 2 avocados, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2/3 c green onions, chopped
2/3 c cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate until cold and enjoy with your favorite chip.

Fiesta Cheese Spread

For any special event, a cheese ball is always a pleasing tradition. This recipe is not only delicious, but it looks good, too, with all the colorful ingredients. It makes a large igloo shaped cheese ball or two smaller ones. If low fat cheese and cream cheese is used, calories can be cut to make a low fat appetizer.

2 pkg (8 oz. each) softened cream cheese
1 Tbsp. Southwestern or Tex-Mex seasoning
2 garlic cloves, pressed.
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions with tops, thinly sliced
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro

1 plum tomato, seeded and diced
½ cup pitted and chopped ripe olives


Mix well cream cheese, seasoning, garlic, cheddar cheese,
green onions, and cilantro until smooth.
Place ½ mixture into a rounded bowl lined with plastic wrap.
Add layer of tomatoes, Use 1/4 of creamed mixture and cover the tomatoes.
Add layer of chopped olives. Spread the last 1/4 mixture over
the olives. Let ingredients stand for 30 minutes to meld flavors.

Unmold spread, invert bowl onto plate. Use cilantro for garnish
if desired and serve with assorted crackers or tortilla chips.

Puppy Chow Snack

Since we moved to Sedona, we entertain more guests and one of my friends shared  this recipe. Since it contained two of my favorite ingredients—chocolate and peanut butter—was excited to try it. When my next company came to visit, I made a batch. I’d never heard of Crispix cereal but we found it in the cereal section.  If you can’t find it, use a mix of any type of Chex cereal. The recipe is truly a great snack with a sweet taste, and it’s easy to make and worth the few minutes it takes to stir it into a crispy yummy treat.

6 cups crispix cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar


Place cereal in 9×13 plastic dish with a lid. Microwave choc chips & peanut butter until melted. Drizzle it over cereal to coat pieces. Sprinkle with powder sugar,  place the lid on the container and shake to coat. Store in lidded dish. It lasts a long time when airtight. Enjoy.

I hope you enjoy the recipes and find a couple new ones that you can make. Wishing you all a blessed new year filled with all good things.


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