Holiday parties have to have one essential item: food! At many of these parties, you may find that a lot of the same items turn up at the dining table: cheese balls, crackers, and plenty of sweets. Recently, I was helping someone plan a party. I suggested that instead of a sit-down dinner, which they always did at their Christmas party, have a "munchie" party, where everyone brought a holiday snack to share. The person in charge of the food stated, "Yeah, and we'll have twelve trays of sausage balls!" After that statement, I knew I'd said enough!
If you are having a party or invited to bring a "munchie" or heavy appetizer to a party, here's something very different: "Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp". This takes fresh shrimp, which you cook first and wrap with a slice of bacon. These are brushed with a flavored butter that has garlic and chili powder and then they are broiled until the bacon is done. To go with it, there's a Chili Dip that you make ahead and serve cold with these shrimp. The hot shrimp and bacon go great with this icy-cold dip!
In preparing the shrimp, you can get the shrimp already shelled and deveined. These are more expensive than if you got the shrimp that's unshelled and not deveined, so go with whichever suits you in terms of time and expense. To cook the shrimp, you can steam them. This is done by placing the prepared shrimp in a steamer, like what you'd use for vegetables, and cook over steam until they turn pink. Be careful not to overcook them, as this makes the shrimp tough. You could also boil them and many like to cook their shrimp in beer. You would boil them only until they turn pink, since again you have to be careful about overcooking them.
The Chili Dip should be made at least an hour ahead to give it a chance for the flavors to blend and to get really cold. Making it ahead is always a good idea, since you'll have this much of the preparation completed and can be doing other things in the meantime.
In the event you would still like to serve cheese at your party, I gave a recipe last year for a "Gateau de Fromage", which is a French cake of cheese that goes great with crackers or small slices of bread. To get this recipe, follow this link:
If you also looking for some easy and inexpensive appetizer recipes, here's a video link that will give you some ideas:
For a new change in appetizers, this appetizer will certainly be something new and different!
For the Chili Dip:
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
- 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 1 tablespoon chopped olives
- 1-1/2 teaspoons grated onion
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
Combine ingredients and cover. Chill for at least one hour to blend the flavors.
For the shrimp:
- 1 lb. fresh shrimp, cooked
- 8-10 slices wafer-thin bacon
- 1 stick butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced finely
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
Wrap each shrimp with half of a bacon slice and reserve. When ready to serve, melt the butter and saute garlic. Add the chili powder. Brush shrimp with this mixture and bake in a preheated 500 degree oven, about 3 inches from the heat, for five minutes, basting with the remaining butter mixture. Turn the shrimp and bake for five more minutes, basting again. Serve hot with the Chili Dip. Yield: about 8 servings.