Northwest NEWS

December 27, 1999

Home & Garden

Dining In: Special appetizers to help ring in the New Year

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

   2 slices white bread, torn in 1-inch pieces
   1/4 c. lowfat milk
   1-1/4 lb. ground turkey
   1/4 c. finely chopped onion
   1 large garlic clove, minced
   1 tsp. salt
   1/4 tsp. ground pepper
   1/3 c. chili sauce
   1/3 c. ketchup
   2/3 c. grape jelly
   1/2 tsp. chili powder
   1/2 tsp. ground ginger

   Preheat the oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with foil; coat with cooking spray. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 2 minutes. Mash it with a fork. In a mixing bowl, combine the turkey, soaked bread, about 1 inch apart. Bake the meatballs until they are firm to the touch and white in the center, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a deep pot, combine the chili sauce, ketchup, grape jelly, chili powder, and ginger. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the meatballs. Simmer until the sauce thickens and coats the meatballs, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish, and pass with toothpicks. Or cool, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 days; re-heat and serve. Makes 36 meatballs.

Cheddar-Jack Cheese Ball

   1/2 c. Neufchatel cheese, softened
   2 Tbsp. plain non-fat yogurt
   1/2 c. (2 oz.) shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese
   1/2 c. (2 oz.) shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese
   1 tsp. minced onion
   1 tsp. prepared horseradish
   1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
   1/8 tsp.. ground red pepper
   2 Tbsp. nutlike cereal nuggets
   1-1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
   48 fat-free crackers

   Combine Neufchatel cheese and yogurt, stirring until smooth. Add cheddar cheese and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.Shape cheese mixture into a ball. Wrap cheese ball in wax paper and chill. Combine cereal nuggets and parsley. Roll cheese ball in cereal mixture just before serving. Serve with fat-free crackers.

White Bean Hummus with Fresh Herbs

   2 c. white beans
   3 cloves garlic, minced
   1/2 c. tahini (sesame paste)
   3 Tbsp. lemon juice
   1/4 c. extra virgin Greek Olive Oil
   1 Tbsp. paprika
   1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
   1-1/2 tsp. fresh chopped herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley)

   In a food processor (or blender), combine beans, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until smooth. With machine running, drizzle in olive oil until incorporated. Add paprika and cayenne pepper. Process for 5 to 10 seconds. Remove mixture and transfer to bowl. Fold in fresh chopped herbs. Drizzle additional olive oil on top and serve.

Caviar-Stuffed Mushrooms

   3/4 c. salad
   1/4 c. cider vinegar
   1 clove garlic, chopped
   Dash freshly ground pepper
   8 oz. softened cream cheese
   1/4 c. mayonnaise
   3 Tbsp. minced onion
   30-36 medium-size mushrooms (about 1 lb.)
   1/2 c. (4 oz.) Romanoff Caviar

   In shallow bowl, combine oil, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Wash and remove stems from mushrooms. Coat caps with dressings; set aside, hollow side up. Combine cheese with mayonnaise and onion. Fill mushrooms with cheese; top each with rounded quarter tsp. of caviar. Makes 30-36 mushrooms.

Puffy Danablu Appetizers

   1 sheet (about 8-1/2 oz.) frozen pastry
   4 oz. Danish Blue Cheese
   Thaw puff pastry 20 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll sheet to rectangle, approximately 9x13 inches. With sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut 54 (1-1/2 inch) squares. Cut Danish Blue into small pieces. Place one piece of cheese in the middle of each pastry square. Arrange squares on baking sheet and bake in pre-heated 400 degree oven 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
   Makes 54 pieces.

Spicy Spinach Dip

   4 lightly packed c. stemmed fresh spinach leaves
   1/2 c. (2 oz.) feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
   2 large scallions, white part only, chopped
   1/4 c. fat free mayonnaise
   2 tsp. drained, prepared white horseradish
   1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
   1/4 c. chopped dill
   Salt and ground pepper

   In a food processor, finely chop the spinach. Add the feta and scallions. Purée until they are blended with the spinach. Add the mayonnaise, horseradish, and lemon juice. Process to blend. Add the dill and process 15 seconds. Season the dip to taste with salt and pepper. Although this dip keeps 2-3 days, it loses some of its zing after 24 hours. Makes 1 cup.