Memorial Day is traditionally the first barbecue of the summer season, and our family always looked forward to it. Along with the traditional hot dogs, hamburgers, and salads, Mom and I would get busy on the appetizers, while Dad and my brothers would be setting out the chairs, games, and tubs of ice for drinks. Here are the five quick and easy appetizers I remember helping to make, and which also became part of our holiday tradition. Depending on number of guests, you might have to double or triple ingredients. These recipes make enough for eight people.
Pigs In A Blanket
1. One package refrigerated crescent rolls
2. One can Vienna sausages
3. Two tablespoons melted butter or margarine
4. One-fourth cup barbecue sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll crescent dough, and cut each in half, length-wise. Lightly brush with barbecue sauce. Place sausage at largest end of dough, and roll up. Brush with butter.
When all are completed, place on lightly greased foil-lined baking tray, and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
Beef And Chicken Snackers
1. Two cups shredded beef or chicken
2. One cup each barbecue sauce, one cup chicken gravy. (Thicken gravy by slowly stirring in one tablespoon of corn starch as it heats.)
3. Finely shredded mozzarella cheese
4. Snack crackers, such as Ritz
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add beef to sauce, and chicken to gravy. Heat on stove until they start to boil, then simmer beef and chicken mixtures for 1/2 hour. Let cool to thicken. Spread by tablespoon on cracker, top with cheese. Line baking tray with foil, place crackers on, and bake just until cheese begins to melt, about five minutes.
Cream Cheese Spinwheels
1. One sheet puffed pastry
2. One four- ounce package of softened cream cheese.
3. One large egg, beaten
4. Two tablespoons of melted butter or margarine
5. One-quarter cup of Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil, lightly greased. Unfold pastry and lightly brush on the egg. Let egg set on dough about five minutes. This allows it to absorb into dough. Spread on cream cheese, and tightly roll into a log. Put in refrigerator for one hour, until firm. Take out, and slice into ¼ ” slices. Place on tray, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Strawberry Fruit Dip
1. One 8 oz. package of softened strawberry cream cheese
2. One 15 oz. jar of marshmallow cream
3. Fresh strawberries
Blend cream cheese and marshmallow cream until blended. All finished! Dip strawberries or any fruit you desire. I keep mine cool by placing it on top of an ice-filled bowl.
Easy Crab Dip
1. One 8 oz. package of room-temperature cream cheese, light or regular
2. One 6 oz. can of minced, shredded, or finely chopped crab meat. Drain, but reserve and keep one tablespoon aside.
3 .One teaspoon lemon juice
4. One-quarter cup finely chopped onions
5. One-quarter teaspoon of paprika
6. One tablespoon of reserved crab liquid
Put cream cheese in medium microwave safe bowl, and beat at medium speed for about two minutes, until softened. Add crab liquid. Stir until smooth. Add crab and other ingredients. Blend well. Can be served chilled or warmed in microwave.
These have been family favorites for three generations, except Mom used Bisquick, and Gran used a flour and baking powder recipe, for their dough. Since we all vacationed at the Jersey Shore in southern N.J., fresh crab was plentiful, available, and less expensive. Enjoy, and have a happy and safe holiday.