It is New Years Eve. Do you have your party plans made? Did you just get a last minute invite and need to bring a snack? Did your hubby decide he wanted to invite friends over to watch a Bowl game tomorrow and you are worried the stores may be closed? Don’t fret. Let’s take a quick trip into the pantry. Here are some easy last minute (or late night) snack ideas using what you already have:
Have a can of beans? You have a quick dip. Simply mash, drizzle with some olive oil (almost all beans work with olive oil) or lemon juice (works well with lighter beans-white; garbanzo) and season with complimentary spices. For black beans, add chili powder, jalapenos, cheddar cheese and some jalapeno juice. Serve cold or warm in microwave. Serve with crackers or chips. Don’t have any? Make some with pita bread or tortillas. Cut into triangles. Spray with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees until crispy, about 10 minutes. Still none? Use Tasty Toasts
Have crackers? Make some seasoned crackers using whatever kind of crackers you have on hand. Here are some quick options: Pour some Italian dressing over them and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, or pour melted butter over the crackers and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning, red pepper, and paprika (hubby’s favorite). Let each sit for 5 minutes. Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.
Have olives? Then you can make one of my favorites. Wrapped Olives. Simply make a quick dough of flour and softened butter.
1 cup flour to 1/2 cup softened butter seasoned with your choice of seasoning. Paprika, Cajun seasoning, garlic, onion powder, or thyme are good choices. Make small balls of dough. Wrap around dry olives. (Can be stuffed or plain) Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
I love these. I have been known to make a small snack batch for myself (1/4 cup flour to 2 TBSP butter) and wrap blue cheese olives-makes about 4 large olives or 8 small ones!!
Have Instant Potatoes? Whip up a batch. Use an ice cream scoop. Scoop a serving into a plastic tumbler. Top with crumbled bacon, cheese, dollop of sour cream, and chives! (Even if you only have cheese, still a tasty appetizer.) Stick a spoon in it and serve!
Have chili sauce? You know that lone bottle that has been in the fridge since you made that meatball recipe months ago!! Make a batch of mini cornbread muffins-great with a dab of chili sauce on top.
Have popcorn? Pop up a few batches. When it is hot, toss with seasonings. Parmesan cheese is my go to, especially if I am enjoying a glass of champagne. A wonderful pairing! Put individual servings in cupcake liners. Make different flavored batches. Get creative with your spice drawer. Want more flavor? Add the spices to melted butter and pour over the popcorn (Indian spices really work well!) Place servings on cheese board and mark the flavors! For a grown up treat, try a drizzle of your favorite liquor or cordial on the hot popcorn.
Have pancake mix? Make some mini pancakes. Top with a pecan or walnut or a slice of pear with blue cheese. Drizzle with honey.
Have canned tomatoes or tomato sauce? Add some to cream cheese for a quick spread for crackers or raw vegetables. To make a quick marinara-Add some garlic and drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to spruce the taste. Have some pasta? Skewer some cooked tortellini or Penne pasta and serve alongside marinara for dipping.
Have canned tomatoes or tomato sauce AND frozen pizza? Yeah!! It is your lucky day. I know to some this may seem rude and crude to demolish a slice of perfectly tasty pizza. But here I go-defrost in fridge (Oh, no patience? Then just heat for 20-30 seconds in microwave.) Break the slice up into our trusted friend-the mini food processor. Pulse until finely minced.
Mix with the tomatoes or tomato sauce over low heat until warm. Top with some shredded Parmesan. Serve with some crusty bread and you will be hooked! Pizza dip! A good recipe for the kids when there is only 1 piece of pizza leftover!
Keep in mind that almost anything can become an appetizer. It’s all about presentation. Use your mini muffin tins to make individual servings. Remember the Rice Rounds? http://wp.me/p57UhS-7X Almost anything can benefit from going into a mini muffin tin and baked-even macaroni and cheese! Think of unique ways to serve simple food. Here is one of mine for New Year’s Eve. Let the countdown begin!Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: Always try to think “outside the box” using what is in the box! What do you have in your fridge, pantry, freezer? How else could you use some of these basic staples I listed? Especially the mini pancakes-they can be sweet or savory! Think about what other items would make a quick dip? Get creative and use your imagination. Create an appetizer that will leave your friends in awe? Raid the pantry and remember to have fun!
FOOD FUN: Well, maybe not so much! The New Year is upon us and it is time to update our inventories-not just in our life, but in our kitchen. Take stock of your freezer, pantry, and fridge. Make a resolution to diminish food waste in your house. Don’t think you have food waste? I challenge you for 1 week to have a separate garbage bag for all food waste. All food waste-what your kid’s didn’t eat, spoiled food, peelings, heels of bread, etc. At the end of the week, see how much food was thrown away. Food is money. Estimate the cost. Multiply it by 52 (weeks in a year) to get the average amount of money your family wastes in a year. How could that money have been used or saved? How can you reduce waste? Make a plan and get started today! My plan began a few years ago by simply changing my dinner plates to a smaller size!