Appetizer Menu

Endive with Herbed Cheese and Sprouts

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Hands on time: 30 minutes

8 ounces Boursin or goat cheese
2 tablespoons finely minced Italian parsley
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated, washed and dried
2 cups sprouts, such as alfalfa, sunflower, broccoli, etc.

Add the cheese, herbs, salt and pepper to a bowl and mash with a fork until creamy.

Transfer the cheese to a pastry bag with a plain or fluted tip and squeeze about 1 tablespoon of cheese at the base of each leaf of endive. Top the cheese with a pinch of the sprouts, tucking them down a bit so that they adhere to the cheese. Arrange them in a spoke pattern on a round platter for a decorative effect. If not serving right away, cover with damp paper towels and wrap with plastic and refrigerate.

Make-ahead: The cheese can be stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. The endive can be assembled up to 2 hours before service, covered and refrigerated.

Tip: Belgian endive or witloof is the perfect vehicle to hold tasty bites of cheese, vegetable salads, seafood salads, chicken salads, etc. Experiment with different cheeses or colorful vegetable concoctions or shrimp salsa for a lower-fat alternative.

Makes about 24 pieces

Recipe created by Carla Snyder

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Holiday Spiced Cider

Warm cider makes your house smell so good that no holiday party is complete without it. Plus, serving a non-alcoholic drink gives those that don’t imbibe an option and the children a special drink that makes them feel like they’re a part of the grown up action.

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Hands on time: 10 minutes

2 large oranges
2 quarts apple cider
1 vanilla bean, split
2 tablespoons peeled and chopped fresh ginger
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Orange peel and cinnamon sticks as garnish

Peel the orange zest from the oranges into strips using a vegetable peeler and set them aside. Squeeze the juice and combine it with the cider, vanilla bean, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, brown sugar and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the cider into a clean pot. (The vanilla bean can be rinsed and dried and used again.) Rewarm the cider before serving in mugs garnished with orange peel and cinnamon sticks.

Variation: For a sturdier version add up to 1 ounce of apple brandy or Calvados to each mug of cider.

Make-ahead: Cider can be made up to 2 days ahead, refrigerated and reheated.

Makes 8 cups

Recipe created by Carla Snyder

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Pear, Gorgonzola and Hazelnut Bundles

Pears and gorgonzola are a classic cheese plate combination. Here they’re paired with crunchy toasted hazelnuts and peppery arugula, wrapped up together in salty prosciutto for an elegant and easy to eat package.

Start to finish: 1 hour
Hands on time: 1 hour

8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, room temperature and crumbled
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup toasted, skinned and chopped hazelnuts
3 medium Bartlett pears, halved and cored
1 tablespoon lemon juice
20 thin slices prosciutto
3 ounces fresh baby arugula (about 3 cups), washed and dried

Mash together the gorgonzola and butter in a medium bowl with a fork until well combined. Stir in the hazelnuts. Set aside.

Slice each pear half lengthwise into 9 slices. Place the pear slices in a bowl with the lemon juice and cover with water to prevent browning. Set aside. Working with 1 slice at a time, cut the prosciutto lengthwise into 1-inch wide strips (You should have about 3 strips per prosciutto slice). Space strips 2-inches apart on work surface. Remove a slice of pear from the water, pat gently with paper towel to dry and spread a scant teaspoon of the cheese mixture on the pear slice. Lay crosswise at one end of the prosciutto strip.. Arrange 3 or 4 arugula leaves atop each pear slice. Roll up the prosciutto around the pear tightly, so that the prosciutto is holding the pear and arugula securely. The arugula should peak out on either side of the prosciutto. Transfer to a platter and continue to roll the remaining slices.

Make-ahead: Can be made 3 hours ahead. Cover rolls tightly and refrigerate.

Makes about 54 pieces

Recipe created by Carla Snyder

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Sausage in Pastry with Mustard Dipping Sauce

Nothing is easier than putting together this juicy, rich, man-pleasing appetizer. Use any kind of precooked sausage that appeals to you from spicy chorizo to everyday kielbasa.

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Hands on time: 20 minutes

1 pound chorizo, kielbasa or other spicy smoked sausage
1 box store bought frozen puff pastry
Egg wash made with 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoons water
Open the sausage and remove it from its package. You may have to cut it in half into two logs. Dry the sausage with a paper towel. Set aside.

Trim the pastry so that it’s as long as the sausage and wide enough to roll around it with a 1/2-inch overlap. Lay the sausage on the pastry and brush one long side with the egg wash. Roll the sausage in the pastry beginning at the unwashed side and ending at the egg washed end of pastry. Lightly press the pastry into itself along the seam to adhere and form a seal. Arrange the sausage on a parchment lined baking sheet seam side down. Refrigerate the pastry for at least 30 minutes to firm up. Repeat with the remaining sausage and pastry.

Preheat an oven to 425° F. Remove the pastry/sausage from the refrigerator and brush with the egg glaze. Make cuts into the pastry (not into the sausage) along the length of it in 1-inch intervals with a sharp knife to delineate where you will be slicing the sausage into servings. This will make for neater cuts and less pastry cracking after it has baked and puffed.

Bake the pastry wrapped sausage in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Remove the sausage from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into servings. Serve warm or at room temperature with the Mustard Sauce.

Mustard Sauce:

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons dry white wine

Whisk Dijon, thyme, oregano, fennel and black pepper in a bowl to blend. Thin to a dipping sauce consistency with the white wine. Let the sauce sit at room temperature for 1 hour to allow flavors to mix. Serve at room temperature and refrigerate leftover sauce for up to 1 week.

Make-ahead: These can be assembled one day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Bake as directed in the recipe.

Makes about 32 pieces

Recipe created by Carla Snyder

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Shrimp Salsa

The bright flavor of this limey shrimp salsa is sure to satisfy even the pickiest salsa addict. The sweet shrimp really sings with the ripe tomato and rich avocado and using the pickled jalapeno makes it easy to get the heat where you want it.

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Hands on time: 30 minutes

1 pound medium (31-35) cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into thirds
2 cups diced tomato
1/3 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno or to taste
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Leaf lettuce for lining the serving bowl
Assorted tortilla chips (blue corn and white corn) for dipping

Toss the shrimp with the tomato, onion, cilantro, avocado, lime, jalapeno, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Taste for seasoning and adjust with more lime juice, salt or pepper.

Line a decorative bowl with lettuce leaves and add the shrimp salsa to the bowl. Serve the salsa with a mix of regular or blue corn tortilla chips.

Make-ahead: This dish can easily be made and refrigerated up to 6 hours before serving and should be made the day it is served. Though it doesn’t go bad, the vegetables become watery and it isn’t as good the next day.

Makes 5 cups

Recipe created by Carla Snyder

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The Ultimate Cheese Tray

No party is without the obligatory cheese tray. It’s the easiest thing possible to set on an appetizer table and guests invariably eat it up, which is a good thing. The problem is that most cheese trays are thrown together without imagination. Cubes of cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack are usually tossed on a platter with a large cluster of grapes and set on the table, which is a shame because beautiful, interesting, aromatic artisanal cheeses are being produced all over the world. Many of these cheeses are available at your local Heinen’s, and with just a little effort, can transform an ordinary cheese tray into something quite memorable.

When constructing a cheese tray try to keep in mind that variety is important. Don’t serve all soft, or semi-soft or hard cheese. A tray of Parmigiano-Reggiano, aged Asiago and Pecorino-Romano, while all wonderful hard cheeses, are too close in texture and flavor to be an interesting offering to your guests.

The standard cheese tray should have at least three different cheeses and would typically consist of a blue cheese, a soft goat cheese and an aged cheddar. This combination stays within most peoples comfort level, as well as catering to different tastes. To expand the offering, add a chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano and a wedge of camembert or brie. And always allow the cheese to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. This will bring out the true character of the cheese.

But the cheese selection is only the first step in constructing a wonderful cheese tray. You also must think about the accompaniments to the cheese. Wonderfully dense walnut bread, sliced thinly and seeded crackers are lovely on a platter. And yes, grapes do have their place, but so do fresh figs and dried fruits such as apricots and golden raisins.

The point is to think outside the box when it comes to your cheese platter and you will turn something mediocre that your guests nosh on without thinking into something that will inspire oohs and ahhs from the crowd. Ask the cheese specialist at Heinen’s to help you. It’s that easy.

Guide Courtesy of Carla Snyder

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Waldorf Chicken Salad in Phyllo Cups

Fruity chicken salad can be made a day ahead and used to fill ready-made phyllo cups for an on the spot hearty appetizer. Red grapes, celery, apples, toasted walnuts and tender chicken are tossed with a mixture of creamy mayo, turmeric and cumin for a colorful and spicy take on that tried and true favorite of our childhood. 7 cups diced rotisserie chicken

2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
1 cup diced celery
3 sweet-tart apples such as Braeburn, Mutsu or Golden Delicious, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
50 frozen phyllo cups, thawed according to the directions on the box

Combine the chicken, grapes, celery, apple, walnuts, zest and lemon juice to a large bowl. Add the mayo and spices. Toss to coat adding more mayo if desired. Taste for seasoning, adjust with salt and pepper and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.

Fill phyllo cups with cold chicken salad and serve immediately.

Make-ahead: The chicken salad may be made 1 day in advance covered and refrigerated. The cups can be filled and refrigerated one hour before serving.

Tip: Phyllo cups can be found in the freezer case at your grocery store. They are already baked and only need to be thawed before using.

Makes 50 chicken cups

Recipe created by Carla Snyder

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We're Heinen's Grocery Stores, a Cleveland, OH based family-owned grocery store established in 1929. Focused on quality meats, fresh market produce and superior customer service, we make grocery shopping something to smile about.