'Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. Unless you end up spending hours making all the eats, in which case, you're left with little time for the whole drink and be merry part. And, let's be real, who wants to give up that? I know I am not alone when I say "Not me!'.
Thankfully there's a little something called make ahead appetizers. I'm sure your familiar. If not, get familiar! They come in many forms, shapes, sizes and flavors. Cheese and crackers, dips and chips, crockpot favorites...so many apps that can be easily prepped ahead of time. I've rounded up a few of my favorites here today. With plenty of holiday gatherings and festivities still on the calendar, it's safe to say that having a few of these recipes in your back pocket will definitely come in handy.
PEPPER JELLY + CREAM CHEESE DIP
Pepper jelly + cream cheese is nothing new. In fact, it's been around for longer than I've probably been alive. And yet, it's just too good to give it up (even if it is something grandma would make). This easy spin on the classic (simply beat the cream cheese and pepper jelly together instead of pouring the pepper jelly on top of the cream cheese) is a fun way to modernize the recipe just a bit. Add in orange zest or a splash of tabasco for another twist, and garnish with pomegranate seeds or chopped fresh cranberries and fresh herbs (I like cilantro). This dip will need to chill for at least a few hours, if not overnight, so it's perfect for make ahead situations (just wait to add the garnishes until right before serving).
SUN-DRIED TOMATO + BASIL CHEESE STICKS
Another recipe that is a classic with a bit of a twist (quite literally actually). While regular cheese sticks are always a hit, adding chopped fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes are an easy way to elevate this favorite make ahead app. Simply sprinkle a sheet of puff pastry with 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, a 1/4 cup of grated parm and a sprinkle of salt (bonus points if it's truffle salt). Then slice into thin strips, twist and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool and store in an airtight bag or container until ready to serve. These can be made up to a day in advance.