Thursday, May 26, 2011

Easy Appetizers for Memorial Day!!

Good morning!  Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend!  I am very excited for a three day weekend!  Plus, my mom is coming to visit…..Yeah!!!  Remember what I said on Tuesday….I love having people stay with me.  Hopefully we get some nicer weather while she is here…..my mama is not a fan of snow, cold, rain, etc….
I asked a few days ago what everyone wanted to see in terms of Memorial Day recipes.  Apps won….which makes me so very happy.  There is nothing I like better than creating new appetizer recipes.  I had a few in the hopper too.  I am co- hosting a baby shower next weekend, so I had already started with the app thing.  The recipes I created will work for your Memorial Day BBQ’s too!  I will show you how to make them….easiest to hardest.  And trust me, even the hardest isn’t that hard…..
My first appetizer is more of an idea then a recipe.  Have you all ever had chicken and waffles?  It is kind of a soul food thing.  There is a chain of restaurants called Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles that started in Harlem and spread across the country to LA.  They specialize in (duh) chicken and waffles. 
This chicken and waffle appetizer is probably the easiest thing you could make for a party….If you are short on time, energy, kitchen space, etc…..this is for you. 
I use frozen mini waffles, frozen popcorn chicken, and honey.  Aren’t they adorable?
I toasted the waffles in the oven at the same time the chicken cooked.  Then, I set them up on a platter and drizzled honey over them.  I know that chicken and waffles might sound weird to some of you….but you have to give it a shot.  Waffles aren’t sweet, so it isn’t like I am pairing chicken with a sugar cookie or something;)  This is the perfect little hand held app, and it is different.  I guarantee you that your guests won’t have seen this before.  And really, the only energy it takes is turning on the oven.
My next appetizer is BBQ chicken cups.  I used a box of cornbread mix, a rotisserie chicken, Gourmet Rooster BBQ sauce, shredded cheese and green onions.
I prepared the cornbread mix according to the package instructions, but I also stirred shredded cheese (about 3/4 of a cup) into the batter.  I baked the muffins in a mini muffin tin that had been sprayed with cooking spray.
As soon as the muffins came out of the oven, I used the end of a wooden spoon to poke a hole in the middle.  I suppose you could use your finger too, but these babies are hot!

Then, I took chicken off of the bone from my rotisserie chicken and cut it into pretty small pieces.  I mixed the chicken with BBQ sauce and microwaved it until it was warm.  I filled each little hole in the mini muffins with chicken.  I topped the whole thing with green onions……
Another perfect little hand-held treat!  You could use leftover chicken or even the BBQ chicken that comes sauced that you get in the meat section of your grocery store

Cornbread goes so well with BBQ.  This really would be the perfect appetizer for a cook-out/BBQ.
My third appetizer is a dip…..a buffalo chicken dip!  I have a friend that loves hot wings, so I created this for him.  I am not such a fan.  I like the flavor of them, but they are so hard to eat.  Plus, they turn your hands and face a greasy orange.  And then there are the bones to contend with.  Not fun.
I have seen a lot of recipes for buffalo wing dips, but mine is the easiest you will find.  Plus, it is filled with blue cheese which really is the best part anyway.
For the dip, I use chicken (from a rotisserie chicken), blue cheese, mayonnaise, cream cheese, hot wing sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper.
With a hand mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese, mayo, blue cheese, Worcestershire and salt & pepper.  Just beat it until everything is combined.  I don’t beat it until smooth, as I like the blue cheese to be chunky.  I spread this in to the bottom of a baking dish, like one the size of a pie plate.
Then, I mix the chicken with some hot wing sauce.  I used a “thick” one so that my chicken mixture won’t be runny.  I spread the chicken on top of the cheese mixture, leaving a border all the way around.
I sprinkled the chicken with a little bit of reserved blue cheese and popped this bad boy under the broiler.  I broiled it for a few minutes, just until the top was bubbly and starting to brown.

Just like Buffalo wings, I served this with celery….and sliced, toasted baguette slices….which is not just like Buffalo wings;)  My husband devoured this.  Like seriously went nuts on it.  I think I got maybe one bite.  It was a hit, for sure.
This has all the best parts of wings, but minus the bones and mess.  Plus, it was still super easy! 
(Come on Court-get a manicure!)
My last appetizer, and the one that requires the most work, is “shrimp and grits”.  When I say “work”, I don’t mean this is ridiculously hard, I just mean it is the hardest of the four……but so worth the effort.
Shrimp and grits is a very southern thing….South Carolina and Georgia to be exact.  It consists of shrimp cooked with bacon, green onion, sometimes garlic and cheese.  And that is all served over grits that have been made with cream, butter and cheese.  Sounds good, right?  I love shrimp and grits, so I desperately wanted to turn it into an appetizer.
To make this more of a finger food, I used polenta instead of grits.  It all comes from corn anyway;)  I bought a tube of polenta…the kind you can slice.  I sliced mine about 1/3 of an inch thick.  Make sure you dry your slices really well.  Lay them on a clean towel for at least 10 minutes.  If they are too wet, they will not brown well.  Plus, when you put something wet into hot oil, it will splatter further then you ever thought possible.  Like you will find oil spots in the next room…..
I put my polenta slices into a sauté pan that had about 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in the bottom.  I cooked these for a few minutes each side, or until they browned a bit.  I set them on paper towels to drain once I took them out.  You will have to fry these in batches, unless you have the world’s largest frying pan.
For the topping, I fried a few pieces of bacon in a hot pan.  Once the bacon was cooked, I took it out and drained it on paper towels, but I left most of the bacon drippings in the pan.  The shrimp cooks in the bacon drippings which automatically makes it good;)

I sautéed the shrimp with 2 cloves of minced garlic.  Once the shrimp was cooked, I added the crumbled bacon back in and some green onions.
I topped each polenta slice with some shredded cheese and then the shrimp.  OMG-these are amazing.  Yes, they take a tad more work than the other apps, but they are heaven on polenta.  You have to try these.  If you like shrimp, you will LOVE this.
I hope that you try one of these recipes/ideas for your Memorial Day parties.  And I also hope you have a fun and safe Memorial Day!
I will pop back in tomorrow with a quick cocktail idea……

Chris’s Favorite Hot Wing Dip
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
5 ounces crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 cups shredded chicken
½ to ¾ cup “thick” hot wing sauce
Pre-heat broiler.
In in mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, blue cheese (reserving about 1 ounce), Worcestershire and salt & pepper.  With a hand mixer, beat until combined.  Spread mixture into a baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine chicken and hot wing sauce.  Top cheese mixture with chicken.  Sprinkle reserved blue cheese over the top and broil until dip is bubbly and starting to brown, about 4 minutes.
Serve with toasted baguette slices and celery.

Court’s Shrimp and “Grits”
1 tube polenta
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups raw shrimp, shell and tail off
6 slices bacon
½ cup green onion, diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Oil frying polenta
Slice polenta into ½ of an inch thick slices.  Dry well.  In a large sauté pan, fry slices in oil until browned on each side, about 4 minutes per side.  Remove from pan and drain well.
In a sauté pan, fry bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan, but leave drippings.  Drain bacon well and crumble.
In bacon drippings, sauté shrimp and minced garlic until shrimp is cooked through, about 4 minutes.  Add green onions and reserved bacon.
Top each polenta slice with shredded cheese and shrimp mixture.

No comments:

Post a Comment