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SNACKS & APPETIZERS

BUFFALO-STYLE CHICKEN WINGS

Makes 24 drumettes
A very spicy, and slightly hot, appetizer which is usually served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Cut wings at each of the two (2) joints. Discard the tip of the wing and use the remaining 2 pieces of each wing (see page 40). Fry in hot deep fat about 5 to 8 minutes until they float to the top of the oil. Remove and place on paper towels to drain well.

Before serving, place wings and either version of Hot Wings Sauce (recipes follow) in air-tight bowl and shake well to cover each wing. Remove wings from sauce and place on serving plate. Place celery strips on side of plate and a small bowl of Blue Cheese Supreme dressing or Cucumber Dip in center of serving plate.

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Wing Hot Sauce - Version 1

12 chicken wings
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
1 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more to taste)
2 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 cup catsup
3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces

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Wing Hot Sauce - Version 2

12 chicken wings
1/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
1/4 cup taco sauce, mild, medium or hot
1/4 Mustard-based barbecue sauce or SOUTHERN BBQ SAUCE by Fox Hunt Farms
1/4 cup French dressing
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Mix sauce ingredients and simmer 5 minutes. Cook and dip chicken according to instructions above.

VARIATION:

If either sauce is too hot for your taste, reduce the amount of Texas Pete hot sauce or cayenne pepper.

FAJITA CHICKEN CHUNKS

Makes 16 appetizer servings

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar fajita sauce
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced garlic
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix fajita sauce, garlic, water and sugar. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes. Marinade for about 4 hours. Drain.

In frying pan, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add a little chicken at a time and stir-fry about 2 minutes. Remove and place in large bowl. Repeat process with remaining chicken. When all chicken has been browned, reduce heat and return chicken to frying pan. Add 1 cup of reserved marinate. Cover and cook on simmer about 20 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain.

Place in bowl and serve with toothpicks or spear each cube of chicken with a toothpick and place on tray, with toothpick in vertical position.

PICKLED SHRIMP

Makes about 1 quart
Although this is best with fresh shrimp, it is also delicious with canned shrimp.

1-1/2 pound fresh, raw shrimp, peeled
2 to 3 stalks (1/2 cup) chopped celery leaves
1/4 cup whole mixed pickling spices
2 quarts boiling water
2 large sliced onions (2 cups)
5 whole bay leaves
1-1/2 cup cooking oil
1-1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) chopped pimentos
2 tablespoons capers with liquid
1-1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce
Loosely tie celery leaves and pickling spices in a piece of cheesecloth, making a spice bag (see insert below). Place in boiling water and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes. Drain well. Discard contents of spice bag.

In large bowl, place sliced onions and shrimp in alternating layers. Add bay leaves. Combine oil, vinegar, pimentos, capers, celery seed, salt and hot sauce. Pour over the shrimp and onions. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.

With a slotted spoon, remove shrimp and onions. Place them in a serving bowl, with toothpicks available for spearing shrimp.

VARIATION:
For the fresh shrimp, substitute 4 (6 ounces each) cans shrimp, drained. Add shrimp to boiling water, but let sit for 5 minutes rather than cooking for 5 minutes.

How to Make a Spice Bag

An inexpensive man's handkerchief may be used, instead of cheesecloth, for making a spice Bag. Put spices onto center of handkerchief. Bring edges into center to enclose spices and tie with a cotton cord. Be sure to wash the new handkerchief before using it, and also wash it after each use as a spice bag.

PIMENTO CHEESE

Makes 1-1/2 cups
Commercial pimento cheese never tasted this good! This pimento cheese is equally good made into sandwiches or used to stuff celery. This recipe can easily be doubled.

2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup low-calorie mayonnaise
1 (4 ounce) jar Dromedary chopped pimentos
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar or red wine vinegar
In small bowl, mix cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, cayenne pepper and vinegar. Stir until well blended OR place ingredients in food processor and process about 1 minute until pimento and cheese is in tiny pieces.

VARIATIONS:
Substitute 1 tablespoon La Victoria Hot Ranchera sauce for vinegar.

(If you like it hot!) Add 1/4 teaspoon chili powder.

Stuffed Celery

8 stalks celery, washed and cut into 3-inch pieces
Stuff celery with pimento cheese. Place on serving plate and sprinkle with paprika.
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches

12 slices bread, with or without crust
Spread pimento cheese on one side of 6 slices of bread. Spread mayonnaise on one side of remaining 6 slices of bread. Place mayonnaise side of each slice of bread on pimento cheese. For a meal, cut sandwiches in half. For appetizers, remove crust from bread and cut each sandwich into quarters.

SPICY CHEESE BITES

Makes 4 dozen
A cheese cookie with a light crunch. These are habit-forming!

4 ounces (1 cup) grated sharp cheddar cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, at room temperature
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper
1 cup Rice Crispies cereal
48 pecan halves
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In large bowl, mix cheese and margarine. Add flour, then salt and cayenne pepper. Blend cereal in well.

Using a teaspoon, drop dough from the spoon onto an un-greased cookie sheet, placing dough about 1/2-inch apart. Slightly flatten dough by pressing a pecan half on top of each ball of dough.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes until cookies just start to brown. Do not brown. Cool. Serve at room temperature. Store in air-tight container. These will keep for weeks.

VARIATIONS:

Instead of placing pecans on top, chop pecans and add to the batter when the cereal is added.

For a spicier cookie, add 1/4 teaspoon chili powder.

For a hotter cookie, increase cayenne pepper to 1/2 teaspoon.

HOT CHEESE PUFFS

Makes about 180 puffs
This inexpensive appetizer tastes great and can be prepared in advance and frozen.

1 loaf un-sliced bread, French or Italian
1 (3 ounces) package cream cheese
4 ounces ( 1 cup) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two 9x13-inch cookie sheets with aluminum foil.

Trim crust from bread, and cut into 1-inch cubes. In a double boiler, melt cream cheese, cheddar cheese and margarine. Heat until well blended, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in whipped egg whites.

Dip bread into cheese mixture until well-coated. Place each cube on prepared pan. Do not let them touch each other. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The puffs may be frozen at this point.

Uncover and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until hot and slightly golden brown. Keep a close watch, as they will burn quickly once they begin to brown.

TO FREEZE: Freeze unbaked puffs on cookie sheet. When solidly frozen, remove puffs and place in sealable freezer bag. Immediately return to freezer. When ready to cook, place on cookie sheet and bake as directed above, adding 1 to 2 minute to cooking time.

CHEESE POT

Makes 3 to 4 cups
My mother's creation which I have enjoyed throughout the years.

1 pound ( 4 cups) grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons skim milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon grated onion
a few sprigs of parsley

Mix cheddar cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, garlic salt, cayenne pepper and onion. Stir until well blended. Chill in refrigerator several hours. Form into a large ball. Place on a plate.

Thirty minutes before serving, remove from refrigerator. Cheese Pot should be served at room temperature. Decorate with parsley sprigs and serve with crackers and a spreading knife.

CONFETTI CEREAL MIX

Makes 10 to 12 cups
Spicy, slightly hot and crunchy, this high-fiber mix is great for munching!

In a large bowl add:

2 cups Wheat Chex
2 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
Quantities of each cereal may vary, but be sure that you have at least 6 total cups of above cereals.

Then add:

1 (12 ounce to 16 ounce) can peanuts or pecans
4 cups of any mixture of the following:
Cheerios cereal
pretzels
cheese tidbits
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a large pot or tall kitchen trash bag, add the Wheat Chex, Rice Chex, Corn Chex, nuts and other cereal mixture. Evenly sprinkle Spicy Seasoning (recipe follows) or pour mixture over cereals and nuts. Stir or shake to evenly coat cereal with spices. Pour seasoned cereal mix into two pans 9x13x2-inch and spread evenly in pans.

Bake uncovered for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until crisp and lightly browned. Cool completely. Store in an air-tight container. This will keep for a month or more.

Spicy Seasoning

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
In a small sauce pan, add butter, garlic salt, onion salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper and worcestershire sauce. Heat on medium heat until butter is melted. Stir well.

Note: Omit Butter. Spray cereal mix with non-stick cooking spray. Mix seasonings together and sprinkle seasonings on cereal mix. Bake as directed.

DEVILED EGGS

Makes 12 deviled eggs
Deviled eggs never tasted so good! Although a very popular appetizer, deviled eggs are also perfect for picnics, tailgating parties, and luncheons.


6 hard boiled eggs
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons horseradish sauce (see insert below)
2 tablespoon pickle relish, well-drained
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon Morton's Nature's Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
Slice eggs in half lengthwise. Gently remove the cooked yolks and place in bowl. Add horseradish sauce, pickle relish, mustard, seasonings, and basil. Stir with a fork to mix well. With a knife, fill egg white hollows with egg yolk mixture, rounding into a slight mound.

To serve, lightly sprinkle with paprika.

VARIATIONS:

Substitute mayonnaise for the horseradish sauce.
To make fuller eggs, grate one half egg white into yolk mixture. This will make 11 deviled eggs.

Another variation for the quickest deviled eggs ever made: simply combine egg yolks with a proportionate amount of Kraft Thousand Island salad dressing...

Egg Salad

Grate all egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Add 1 teaspoon grated onion and 1 tablespoon finely diced celery. Stir to mix well. Spread mixture on bread slices, with or without crust. Cut into halves or quarters.

How to Select Horseradish

Horseradish sauce is a mayonnaise-based sauce containing horseradish. Cream-style prepared horseradish is a horseradish preserved in vinegar and oil. Some brands of horseradish (sauce or prepared) are hotter than others, so try several brands until you find one that suits your tastes.

MARINATED APPLE SLICES

Makes about 1 quart
This marinade serves a dual purpose: It adds a delicious flavor and preserves the color of the apple slices for several days.

1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup peach schnapps liqueur
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 large Winesap apples, un-peeled, sliced
Mix wine, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and lemon juice. Slice apples and place in juices. Refrigerate and marinate overnight.

To serve, drain and place in a small bowl. Serve with crackers and an assortment of small cheese wedges.

MARINATED VEGGIES

Makes about 1 quart
A popular make-ahead appetizer that keeps for several weeks. It is a healthy substitute for a fresh vegetable and dip tray for picnics, tailgating, cocktail parties or casual get-togethers.

1/2 cup water
6 large peeled carrots, cut in 1/2-inch slices
1 head cauliflower, remove stem and use florets only
1 head broccoli, remove stem and use florets only
2 (4-1/2 ounce) jars whole button mushrooms, drained
2 (3 ounce) jar small black olives, drained
1 large onion, cut into thin slices, separated into rings
Zippy Vegetable Marinade
In a large saucepan, add water and carrots. Bring to boil and gently boil for 2 minutes. Remove carrots and drain. Add cauliflower and broccoli to boiling water. Boil 1 minute. Remove cauliflower and broccoli and drain.

Drain all vegetables. In a large glass jar or plastic bowl, add carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, olives, and onion. Pour marinade over vegetables. Cover. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving to blend flavors.

To serve, drain vegetables and place in serving dish. For spearing vegetables, place a holder of toothpicks nearby.

VARIATIONS:

Any balanced combination of the following can be substituted for (or used in addition to) the vegetables above:

fresh zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch slices
green peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
celery, sliced
Zippy Vegetable Marinade
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups red wine vinegar
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 cup cooking oil

In saucepan, heat sugar, vinegar, salt and basil. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in oil. Pour over vegetable mixture. Chill for several hours or overnight.

VARIATION:

Regular apple cider vinegar may be used. However, the flavor will be delicious, but different.

MEXICAN 6-LAYER DIP

Makes 12 or more servings
Having a great combination of flavors with eye-appeal, this appetizer is ideal for a picnic, tailgating party, a cocktail party, or casual entertaining. It is especially pretty when prepared in a round quiche pan.

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 can Jalapeno cheese dip
1 teaspoon San-J Szechuan sauce
1 tablespoon San-J teriyaki sauce
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (16) ounce jar La Victoria HOT Ranchera Sauce, divided
1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
1 stalk celery, diced (1/4 cup)
2/3 cup chopped cucumber, peeling and seeds removed
1 cup finely diced onion or 2 spring onions with tops, diced
2 tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, chopped and well-drained

Bottom Layer
Mix cream cheese, Jalapeno cheese dip, Szechuan sauce, and teriyaki sauce. Spread in bottom of dish.

Second Layer
Mix refried beans and 6 tablespoons Ranchera sauce. Spread for second layer.

Third Layer
Spread sour cream over bean layer.

Fourth Layer
Pour 1 cup Ranchera sauce over sour cream.

Fifth Layer
Sprinkle celery, cucumber and onion over sauce.

Sixth Layer
Sprinkle drained tomatoes evenly on top.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with nacho chips, corn chips or crackers and a spreading knife.

VARIATION:
Sprinkle 2 ounces (1/2 cup) grated cheddar cheese on top of tomatoes.

MEXICAN CHEESE SQUARES

Makes 81 one-inch squares
Served at room temperature or chilled, it's simple and so deliciously Mexican!

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, well-drained
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper
1 pound (4 cups) grated cheddar cheese
6 eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-inch square baking pan.

Spread peppers in prepared pan. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Cover with cheese. Pour beaten eggs over cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes or until firm in the center. Cool.
Cut into 1-inch squares and serve.

VARIATION:

For green chilies, substitute 3 to 4 fresh jalapeno peppers. Remove seeds and finely chop. Spread in bottom of pan. Continue to follow directions above.

PECAN HARD CANDY

Makes 4 to 5 cups
An appetizer for those people who have a sweet tooth.

4 cups pecans, mixed halves and pieces
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two (2) 9x12-inch pans. Grease the bowl of a wooden spoon. Heat nuts on un-greased 9x12-inch baking pan or cookie sheet for 15 minutes, stirring often.

In a large saucepan, mix sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Heat, without stirring until a temperature of 236 degrees on a candy thermometer is reached. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla flavoring. Then add pecans. Stir with a greased wooden spoon until creamy. Pour out into prepared pans, separating into pieces as it cools. Cool completely.

Store candy in air-tight container.

VARIATION:
4 cups of walnut meats may be substituted for pecans.

BARBEQUED BANANAS OR PEACHES

BANANAS

10 bananas
lemon juice to taste
1 cup packed brown sugar approx.
cinnamon or nutmeg to taste
allspice to taste
1/2 cup butter
1/2 c. mini pure chocolate chips

Place each banana on sheet of heavy-duty foil. Cut out a very thin V almost the entire length of the banana. Pack this V with mini choc chips. Brush with lemon juice; sprinkle with brown sugar. Dust lightly with cinnamon; dot with butter.
Fold and seal foil; twist ends. Grill over hot coals for 10 minutes, you can also add a dash of rum.

Pass the whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you are feeding a group, scoop out the ice cream ahead of time and place into a big bowl in scoops storing in the freezer until ready to serve...no digging in a pail of ice cream at the last minute. Great!

Note: when I made these I used bananas that were starting to get brown spots on the outside, a little riper than normal, they were still wonderful.

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PEACHES

Make the same recipe without the chocolate chips with peaches or nectarines, along with the rum, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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