Recipe one: Marinated Mozzarella Balls
- 1 6.5-ounce jar Italian basil pesto or equivalent homemade pesto
- 7-ounce container of small mozzarella balls (bocconcini)
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- *Optional – some fresh basil leaves for garnish
Drain the mozzarella balls. In a small bowl, coat the mozzarella balls in Italian basil pesto. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Toss and cover and refrigerate for one hour so that the cheese absorbs some of the pesto/parmesan flavors. Using a slotted spoon, place mozzarella balls neatly on a serving platter. Stick each ball with a fancy mini toothpick for serving. Garnish platter with fresh basil if desired before serving.
Recipe two: Bacon Jalapeno Bites
- 10 jalapenos
- About 5 oz. of herb-flavored cream cheese (or make your own using plain cream cheese and your favorite herbs such as dill, Italian seasoning, or smoky chipotle)
- 10 thin bacon strips (*Thin strips turn out crispier)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and dry jalapenos, then cut in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and ribs. Fill with cream cheese (about 1 ½ tsp, each.) Wrap the jalapeno bite with bacon, securing the bacon with a toothpick if necessary to hold it in place. Arrange bites on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and the bacon is crispy. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe three: Cranberry Brie Bites
- 24 frozen mini phyllo tart shells (available in the freezer section of the store)
- About ½ lb. to ¾ lb. Brie cheese (no rind)
- About 1 cup cranberry sauce (or your favorite seedless jam such as apricot)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the phyllo shells on top of a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Set aside. Meanwhile, cube the cheese into ¾-inch or 1-inch pieces. Put one cube of Brie in the center of each dough. Top with a dollop of cranberry sauce or your favorite jam—place in preheated oven. Watch carefully. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until the bites are lightly golden brown. Let cool before serving. Makes 24 bites.