Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Looking ahead to year-end appies

Cathi Litzenberger offers some easy-to-prepare and tasty nibbles for your year-end celebration

It’s Christmas Eve and all through the house…people are certainly not thinking of appetizers for the coming New Year’s Eve gatherings.

But if I’m to be paid, I need to offer recipes for later in the week and perhaps these will work for New Year’s.

Since we smoked a lot of salmon this year it’s pretty convenient for me to make the salmon mousse below; for the rest of you, smoked salmon is readily available to purchase and in a recipe like this, a little goes a long way; it’s an easy recipe and so delicious.

The second appetizer is a very versatile  and popular dip, easily altered with suggestions as printed.

Wishing you all a merry Christmas and the best for the new year.

Smoked Salmon


4 ounces smoked salmon

2 tbsp. heavy cream

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed, to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ounce salmon roe, optional

Place smoked salmon in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Mix in heavy cream, cream cheese, juice of half of a lemon, dried dill weed, salt and pepper. Blend to desired consistency.

Transfer to a medium serving dish, and garnish with salmon roe if desired. Serve with crackers or veggies of your choice.

Cheesy Spinach

and Artichoke Dip

14 ounces canned artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained

3⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3⁄4 cup reduced fat Mayonnaise

1⁄2 cup 2% shredded mozzarella cheese

1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix ingredients; spoon into 9-inch quiche dish or pie plate. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

Serve with crackers and assorted cut-up fresh vegetables.

Special Extra: Substitute 1 envelope (0.7 oz) Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix for the garlic powder.

Awesome Spinach and Mushroom Dip: Substitute 1 cup chopped mushrooms for the artichokes.

Makeover Savings: This made-over version of the popular artichoke dip uses 3/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise instead of regular mayonnaise, and a blend of Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses instead of the 2 cups mozzarella used in the original recipe. These simple tweaks save more than 50 calories and 5.5 grams of fat per serving when compared to the traditional artichoke dip.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

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