Small bites, big flavor

Whether you’re prepping for an extravagant party or an impromptu get-together, put the party in the palm of your hand with these simply scrumptious bite-sized appetizers.

Brie, Fig and Walnut Crostini

Serves 6-10

• 1 French baguette, sliced 1/2 inch thick diagonally
• 1/2 cup Garlic-Infused Olive Oil (see recipe below)
• 1/2 lb wedge brie cheese, room temperature*
• 1/2 cup fig preserves
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
• Honey, for drizzling

Heat a grill or stovetop grill pan to medium heat.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place bread slices on baking sheet and brush with olive oil on both sides. Toast in the oven until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side.

Spread each crostini with brie, followed with a dollop of fig preserves and sprinkling of walnuts. Arrange on a serving tray and drizzle with honey.

*Note: Substitute goat or blue cheese instead of brie or make a combination of the three.

Garlic-Infused Olive Oil

Makes 1 pint (2 cups)

Garlic-Infused Olive Oil is a timesaver in the kitchen and so easy to make. No more bits of minced garlic to bite into in your homemade salad dressings or on your roasted veggies. Basically, use in any recipe requiring both garlic and olive oil — which there are many.
This will become a staple in your kitchen!

• large head garlic, peeled
• 1 pint extra virgin olive oil

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add garlic and oil. Let simmer slowly for 20–30 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. In the meantime, sterilize storage jar in a 275-degree oven for 20 minutes. When olive oil is cool, strain into jar and seal. Oil will last 2–3 months in the refrigerator. Be sure to properly label and date before storing.

Vegetable and Potato Nuggets

Yields 36 nuggets

• 4 cups Idaho potatoes, cooked and mashed
• 4 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
• 1 cup broccoli, cooked and "riced" (diced fine)*
• 1 cup fine bread crumbs, divided
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 2 eggs, lightly whisked
• Canola oil

In a large bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, cheeses, finely diced broccoli, 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs, and the salt and pepper.

Quickly give it a taste, adjust seasoning if needed, then add in the lightly whisked eggs and mix until well combined.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs in a shallow dish.

In a heavy-duty skillet, or Dutch oven, heat 2-3 inches of oil over medium-high heat.

Using a 1-inch scoop, shape potato mixture into balls and gently roll each one in the bread crumbs to lightly coat.

Add the potato nugget balls in batches to the oil, cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Allow to drain on a paper towel-lined dish. Repeat with remaining potato balls.

Serve with your favorite dips, such as ketchup, mustard or ranch dressing.

*Note: Other great substitutions for the broccoli are riced cauliflower, finely diced zucchini or yellow squash, and carrots.

Make-Ahead Spinach Phyllo Roll-Ups

15 servings

• 1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
• 1 cup Athenos Traditional Crumbled Feta Cheese
• 1 tub (7.5 oz.) Philadelphia Garden Vegetable 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese
• 4 green onions, finely chopped
• 1 egg, beaten
• 15 sheets frozen phyllo dough (14x9 inch), thawed
• 1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix first 5 ingredients until blended. Brush 1 phyllo sheet lightly with butter; top with 2 more phyllo sheets, lightly brushing each layer with some of the remaining butter. Place remaining phyllo sheet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap until ready to use; set aside.

Spread 1/5 of the spinach mixture along one short side of phyllo stack. Fold in long sides of phyllo; roll up from one short side to make log. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and spinach mixture to make 4 additional logs. Brush with remaining butter. Make small cuts in tops of logs at 1-inch intervals. Place in large freezer-weight resealable plastic bags or wrap tightly in plastic wrap.

Freeze up to 3 months. When ready to bake, remove desired number of logs from freezer. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, several hours or overnight until thawed. Unwrap, then place on baking sheet.

Bake in 375 degree oven 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Use serrated knife to cut each log into 6 slices.

Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut-Pumpkin Sauce

10 skewers

• 1 cup Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
• 2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk
• 1/3 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
• 2 green onions, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled
• 2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 Tbs lime juice
• 1 Tbs soy sauce
• 2 tsp granulated sugar
• 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 bunches green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces (white parts only)

Place pumpkin, evaporated milk, peanut butter, chopped green onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar and cayenne pepper in blender or food processor; cover. Blend until smooth.

Combine 1/2 cup pumpkin mixture and chicken in medium bowl; cover. Reserve remaining pumpkin mixture. Marinate chicken in refrigerator, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Alternately thread chicken, bell peppers and green onion pieces onto 30 (4-inch) skewers. Discard any remaining marinade.
Preheat grill or broiler.

Grill or broil, turning once, for 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Heat remaining pumpkin mixture; serve with satay.

Note: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before threading.