Thursday, December 6, 2012

Some Ideas for Party Nibbles, on a Budget

In the Pink, over at Nod if You Hear Me, is having a party.  She expects about 15 guests, and has a budget of $35 including wine. Here are some of my suggestions for her, with the idea that she can pick and choose knowing what's on sale locally and existing items in her pantry:

No time to cook
Oven baked tortilla chips and salsa
Spicy Popcorn
Fresh fruit wedges

I have a bit of time
Sausage Bisquick Balls
Homemade Humous and Pita wedges
Herbed Ricotta Bruschetta
Rachel Ray's French Onion dip, with Veggies

Let's Cook!
Pesto Pasta Salad
Potato Salad

Oven baked tortilla chips
It is much cheaper to make your own tortilla chips: It costs about $1.50 for a family pack of corn tortillas (versus $3.49 and up for one bag of premade chips).

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.  Lay the tortillas out on a cutting board, spray with the nonstick olive oil spray on both sides. If using a seasoning, sprinkle on both sides now.
3.  Stack the tortillas in piles of eight (8) tortillas. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut through the pile of tortillas, cutting into 4 equal triangles.
4.  Arrange tortilla triangles in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake for approximately 6 to 7 minutes until crisp and the edges start to curl and turn lightly brown. Watch the chips carefully after 5 minutes, as they can burn easily. Once the chips are done, remove from the oven to cool. Chips will continue to crisp as they cool.
6. Serve with jar of chunky, hot salsa ($1.99 for large jar at No Frills).

Spicy Popcorn
From Rachel Ray

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup popping corn kernels
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat oil in deep pot over medium high heat. Add corn. Cover pot and pop the corn, shaking pan often. Remove from heat when pops stop. Drizzle with melted butter. Combine spices in a small dish and sprinkle the blend over hot corn. Serve.

Fresh Fruit
Look for what's on sale.  Recently I found a whole pineapple for 99cents at No Frills, and a large  watermelon was 2.99 in chinatown. Slice into wedges and serve on platter.

French Onion Dip
From Rachel Ray

3 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped
Salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups sour cream, low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt (use whatever combo you like, just make the total quantity 1 1/2 cups)
Chopped veggies, such as celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, or carrots for dipping

1. Place a medium pan over medium-high heat with 3 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 3 tablespoons. Add the onion, thyme, some salt and pepper to the pan, and put a lid on it.
2. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the lid and continue cooking the onions until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. (If the onions begin to stick to the pan too much, add a splash of water and scrape up any bits that are sticking.)
4. Turn the cooked onions out into a medium mixing bowl and stir in the sour cream and/or Greek yogurt (whatever you’re using). Serve the dip up with chopped veggies and crackers alongside.

Sausage Bisquick Balls

1 lb. pork sausage
1/2 lb. cheese (grated)
3 cups Bisquick

1. Place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Work with hands until completely blended.
3. Shape mixture into balls the size of walnuts.
4. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes on greased cookie sheet.

Homemade Humous and Pita

1 clove garlic
1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, half
the liquid reserved
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a blender, chop the garlic. Pour garbanzo beans into blender, reserving about a tablespoon for garnish. Place lemon juice, tahini, chopped garlic and salt in blender. Blend until creamy and well mixed.
2. Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top.

Herbed Ricotta Bruschetta
Makes 20-25 bruschetta

2 cups ricotta cheese
3 tbsp minced scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
2 tbsp minced fresh dill
1 tbsp minced fresh chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 sourdough baguette
Good olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, cut in half

1. Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals or turn a gas grill to medium-high heat. (I used a grill pan over medium high heat)
2. Combine the ricotta, scallions, dill, chives, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and set aside.  Cut the bread in rounds about 1/2 inch thick. You should have about 20-25 total.
3. When the grill is hot, brush the bread with olive oil and grill on each side for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from the grill and rub each slice of bread with the cut side of the garlic clove.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread the herbed ricotta.  Serve warm.

Pesto Pasta Salad
Source: Food Network

1 pound pasta (farfalle or other small noodle)
3/4 cup pesto from jar
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, as needed

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Stir in the bow ties and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it stops steaming. Bounce the pasta around to get rid of as much water as you can.
2.  Dump the pasta into a large serving bowl. Stir in the pesto until the pasta is coated. Toss in the cherry tomatoes and the crumbled feta. Taste the salad and season it as you like with salt and pepper. You can make the salad up to about 1 hour before you serve it.
3.  Check out the salt and pepper just before you serve the salad. If it's looking a little dry, add some olive oil and stir it around.

Simple Southern Potato Salad

8 -9 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup chopped pickle
2 medium onions, chopped
5 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
salt and pepper
2 cups mayonnaise
3 -4 tablespoons mustard

1. After peeling and dicing potatoes place them in a large pot to boil until tender.
2. Drain the potatoes, add pickles, onions, and eggs then mix in mayo until its the desired consistency.
3. Mix in mustard.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt, Flickr

1 comment:

  1. These are great sounding recipes. I like how you divided up the recipes by how much time/effort you are able to put into them.


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