Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gearing Up For The Holidays

My husband is fond of inviting guests over at the last minute. It was not unusual for him to call on the way home from a round of golf to say he was bringing home some people he had met on the course. Although I usually protested, I knew he wasn't going to change so I just made sure I always had something in the pantry that I could whip up at the last minute.

With the holidays approaching, I always have Athens "Mini Fillo Shells" in the freezer. They don't even need to be baked and are great for appetizers or dessert. They come 15 to a box. Just fill them straight from the freezer. Here are some of the ways I have served them and they are always a hit.

Savory Fillings (hot):
  • Chili (Bush's chili in a jar is great to keep on hand) topped with shredded cheddar and chives
  • Sauteed mushrooms with garlic and a splash of sherry
  • Brie and a dollop of whole cranberry sauce
  • A combination of your favorite pizza toppings, for example, mozzarella, pepperoni, peppers and mushrooms
  • Ham, pineapple and cheddar

Just remember that everything needs to be cut into pieces small enough to fit into the mini shells. Warm filled shells at 350 degrees until heated through, usually only 8 - 10 minutes.

Savory Fillings (cold):

  • Guacamole topped with a dollop of salsa
  • Cooked cocktail shrimp topped with seafood sauce
  • Smoked salmon topped with sour cream, capers, chives and fresh dill
  • Mozzarella cube, 1/2 grape tomato, torn basil and a splash of Italian dressing
  • Mix together one 8oz package cream cheese and one 8oz carton sour cream. Keep in the fridge and when unexpected company shows up, put the amount you need into a small bowl, adding one of the following mixtures:

Roasted chopped almonds, dried cranberries, garlic salt and curry powder to taste.

Chopped dry roasted peanuts, thai chili sauce, lime juice and chives

Chopped bacon, blue cheese crumbles, chopped celery and minced sun dried tomatoes.

Sweet Fillings

  • La Creme yogurt topped with a fresh berry
  • Cool Whip mixed with or topped with lemon curd
  • Cool Whip mixed with crushed pineapple
  • Instant chocolate pudding spooned over a dollop of peanut butter
  • Cool Whip mixed with chopped chocolate and chopped peppermint candy
  • Cool Whip mixed with mandarin orange slices and coconut
  • Assorted fresh melons, berries, grapes

Again, just make sure you chop pieces into sizes appropriate for the shells. Also make certain that any fruit is well drained. You can see that I am fond of using Cool Whip - it's another great product to keep on hand in your freezer!

I always keep a box or two of the mini shells in my freezer. They never fail to impress and only you need to know how easy it all is!

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