Appetizers – Hot & Steamy

Some appetizers need a little heat to have them at their best.  These are always the trickiest treats for me to figure out how to serve.  Sometimes keeping them hot in a crockpot for serving works well.  Other times it’s just bet to wait right until the time to serve to actually finish making them and then get ‘em while they’re hot!
Mini Ham Puffs
2.5 oz finely chopped ham or turkey (I buy already diced ham)
2 T finely chopped onion (I use dried onion flakes)
½ C shredded Swiss cheese
1 egg
1 T snipped fresh parsley (I use dried parsley, a little less than 1 T)
1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 oz pkg refrigerated crescent roll dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a mini-muffin pan.  Mix together ham, onion, cheese, egg, parsley, mustard & pepper.  Unroll crescent dough & press into one large rectangle.  Cut dough into 24 squares using a pizza cutter.  Press one square of dough into each muffin cup (works really well with a lightly floured mini-tart shaper, if you have one).  Fill each muffin cup with a scant scoop of ham mixture (a small cookie scoop works well).  Make 12-14 minutes or til puffs are light golden brown.  Remove from pan & serve immediately.
Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip
6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained & coarsely chopped
1 pkg (9-11 oz) frozen creamed spinach, thawed
¼ C mayo (I may use Miracle Whip for an extra zip)
¼ C sour cream
1 small garlic clove, pressed or minced
½ C finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix artichokes, spinach, mayo, sour cream, garlic & cheese.  Spool into a small baking dish.  Bake 20-25 min or til heated through.  Serve with toasted bread, tortilla or pita chips.
Cristin’s Spinach Artichoke Dip
8 oz cream cheese
2 C parmesan cheese
½ can artichoke hearts, chopped
2 C frozen chopped spinach, thawed
Garlic salt, to taste
Melt cream cheese in medium pan over med/low heat.  Add other ingredients 1 at a time, stirring after each addition until the mixture is well blended & cheese is melted.  Serve with tortilla chips or crackers. (Thank you, Cristin Dunn!)

Bacon-wrapped Little Smokies

16 oz pkg Little Smokies (I use the turkey ones)
1 lb. bacon (do not use the pre-cooked kind)
1 C brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut bacon into thirds & wrap each strip around a little sausage.  Secure with a toothpick.  Arrange on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with brown sugar.  Bake until bacon is crisp and brown sugar is melted into a glaze sauce, about 20-30 min.  Serve immediately, drizzling glaze over sausages.
**Note: the pre-cooked bacon does not give off enough fat to turn the brown sugar into a glaze.  I would also question if turkey bacon would work for the same reason.  A co-worker once used the Splenda brown sugar, though, and that tasted fine.

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