If you ask us, holiday hosting could be a professional sport. There’s so much to do in so little time! Luckily, you can take menu-planning off your to-do list. Together with DOLE®, Taste of Home has come up with quick, easy and timeless appetizers that are sure to impress your holiday guests.
When you want to plan ahead:
Instead of spending most of the party working away in the kitchen, be sure your menu includes some make-ahead recipes. The more dishes you make in advance, the less you’ll have to do on the big day. Not only will this mean less stress, but it’ll give you space to tie up any loose ends before party time.
This classic cheese ball keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Guests of all ages will appreciate the classic sweet and savory blend of peppers, onions and DOLE Crushed Pineapple.
Pineapple Pecan Cheese Ball
Prep: 10 min. + chilling
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 can (8 ounces) DOLE Crushed Pineapple, well drained
- 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 2 cups chopped pecans, divided
- Assorted crackers
1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the DOLE Crushed Pineapple, green pepper, onions, seasonings and 1/2 cup pecans. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap; shape into a ball. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Just before serving, roll cheese ball in remaining pecans. Serve with crackers. Yield: 3-1/3 cups.
When you’re having an impromptu party:
Uh-oh: a few of your holiday party guests called, and they’ll be here in an hour! Relax—you’ve got this. First, grab a laundry basket and do a speed pick-up around your living space. Stash the basket in your bedroom to deal with later. Then, use pantry staples to whip up a couple of easy appetizers. While your apps chill or finish up in the oven, light a few candles and put on some music. You’re all set for fun.
If you have bacon, DOLE® Pineapple Chunks, honey and chili powder on hand, you’re in for a treat. These Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites call for just four simple ingredients (five if you count the green onion garnish) and take a mere 15 minutes of prep time.
Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 30 min.
- 1 can (20 oz.) DOLE Pineapple Chunks, drained
- 1 pound bacon slices
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion, optional garnish
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with foil and place a baking rack on top.
2. Cut each strip of bacon in half.
3. Weave bacon around three pineapple chunks by skewering one end of bacon strip, then pineapple. Wrap bacon around one side of a piece of DOLE Pineapple Chunks and skewer middle section of bacon strip. Skewer another pineapple piece, then fold bacon over one side of pineapple. Skewer a third another pineapple piece.
4. Drizzle bites with honey and lightly sprinkle with chipotle chile powder.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping each skewer halfway through, or until bacon is crisp. Garnish with green onion if desired. Yield: 20 appetizers.
When the whole family’s coming:
Finding a crowd-pleasing appetizer can be tricky, especially when kids are in the mix. Here’s our biggest tip for feeding picky eaters: make classic dishes that are easy to eat, and they’ll be way more likely to give it a try. Serve finger foods you can eat in a bite or two, with no assembly required. (This’ll make the adults happy, too.)
Guests of all ages will gobble up these juicy, sweet, tangy pineapple meatballs. Better make a double batch! Win extra points from the kiddos by serving them with decorative party picks—think flags, pompoms or swords.
Pineapple Appetizer Meatballs
Total Time: 30 min.
- 1 can (8 ounces) DOLE® Crushed Pineapple
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
- 1/2 pound ground beef
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-mayonnaise blend
1. Drain DOLE Crushed Pineapple, reserving juice. Place pineapple and 2 tablespoons juice in a large bowl (set the remaining juice aside for glaze). Add the egg, bread crumbs and pepper to pineapple. Crumble sausage and beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls.
2. Place meatballs on a greased rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 450° for 12-15 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine glaze ingredients and reserved pineapple juice. Add meatballs. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 5-10 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 2 dozen.
When you’re short on time:
Was that the doorbell? Time seems to speed up when you’re expecting company. If you’re running a little behind, we have good news: guests usually love to lend a hand. Let them set the table, play bartender or help you with odds and ends in the kitchen.
When it comes to last-minute recipes, these Polynesian kabobs are here to save the day. Early-bird guests can help assemble the skewers, and they’ll be baked and ready to eat in just half an hour.
Pineapple Kielbasa Bites
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 15 min.
- 1 can (20 oz.) DOLE® Pineapple Chunks, drained
- 2 red or green bell peppers, cut in 1-inch cube
- 1 package (14 oz.) kielbasa, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup prepared Hawaiian-style barbecue sauce
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coated with cooking spray.
2. Place one DOLE Pineapple Chunk, bell pepper chunk, kielbasa piece on a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
3. Place kielbasa bites onto baking sheet and brush barbecue sauce over tops and sides of bites.
4. Bake 15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Yield: 20 appetizers.
When you want to impress your in-laws:
While this gooey pineapple baked brie looks like it took all day, it’s actually super easy to make. (Don’t worry—your secret is safe with us.)
Caramelized Pineapple Baked Brie
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 10 min.
- 1 can (20 oz.) DOLE® Pineapple Chunks or Tidbits, drained
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey, divided
- 1 package (13 oz.) round brie cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted salted pistachios
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add DOLE Pineapple in a single layer, plus rosemary and 1 tablespoon honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes or until liquid is evaporated and pineapple is golden brown.
3. Place brie in an oven-safe serving dish. Cut top rind off of brie and discard. Spoon DOLE Pineapple over brie. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven and drizzle with remaining 1 teaspoon honey.
5. Garnish with pistachios and serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.