Chicken wings, potato skins, pigs in a blanket and tortilla roll-ups….these are basic (and easy) appetizers that you can customize to fit your budget, taste, and time. When I was deciding which apps to make, I at first said, “Well everyone knows how to make potato skins so why should I make those?” and then I had three friends tell me they had never made them….Each one of these recipes can be made with your favorite ingredients.
SPICY CHICKEN WINGS –
There are literally hundreds of different ways you can make chicken wings, from sweet to spicy, to burn the roof of your mouth hot. These wings are baked, making them a bit healthier than fried and once you get the hang of it, you can add any type of sauce or seasoning to make these “yours”. I paid $2.29 lb for these wings, which I then cut in two, creating a wing and a small leg, with the wing tips left for future chicken stock. When we filmed, I had already cut my wings, (forgetting I was going to show you how!) so here’s a quick and informative article on how to cut your wings. *I can usually find wings on sale for less than what I paid this time so check your local stores for a better price. With the sauce and wings (and none of my ingredients on sale at the time) these wings came in at about 30 cents per wing. This sauce is spicy but more tangy than hot.
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/8 cup cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/8 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/2 bunch green onions, chopped (or 1 small yellow, white or red onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 25 to 30 chicken wings (already cut)
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients (except for the wings). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thickened.
Meanwhile, cut chicken wings into 3 sections; discarding (you can use these for homemade chicken stock) the wing tips. Place wings in a well-greased 10x15x1-inch baking pan or spray Pam on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, turning once. Brush with sauce. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer, turning and basting once, or until chicken juices run clear. Serve with additional sauce, if desired.
EASY POTATO SKINS –
Potato skins are so easy and cheap to make. This is one of those recipes you can literally add anything and everything you want, and a great way to use up leftover vegetables and cheeses you probably already have on hand. You can also use any type of potato you want, including Russet, Yukon, red, fingerlings or even blue…
- 4 large potatoes, already baked (or whatever potato you want)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped green or red pepper
- 2 slices bacon, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon sliced green onions
- Sour cream – *to make this recipe GF, check label on sour cream
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out centers with a spoon, leaving 1/4-inch shells. (Reserve centers for another use-you could use them for mashed potatoes, soup thickeners, or potato balls). Cut shells in half crosswise for 16 small appetizers or leave as is for 8 large appetizers. Place on cookie sheet; brush with butter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Top with cheese, continue baking until cheese begins to melt. Top with remaining ingredients.
Depending on your budget and preference you can add or sub ingredients including; turkey bacon, any types of cheese, jalapeno, caviar, chopped mushrooms, olives,….I’ve even added chopped carrots, which gave them a crunch and flavor without a lot of calories.”
“GOURMET” PIGS IN A BLANKET –
Who doesn’t like pigs in a blanket? They may have been around for a long time but I’ve never been to a party where there were any leftovers! We dressed these up to make them even more delicious…want to go healthier? Use turkey or tofu dogs. We used crescent rolls but you could also use pizza dough or biscuit mix. The thicker your dough, the longer you’ll need to cook them. You can fill these with any ingredients you enjoy topping your hot dogs with. I tried this recipe with cooking my vegetables before stuffing the dogs and then I just added the raw vegetables to the second batch. Both ways tasted great, using raw veggies saved me a step. Again, the possibilities are endless with different cheeses, vegetables, dough, seasonings and condiments.
- Shredded or sliced cheese
- Cooked bacon
- Chopped red onion
- Chopped pickles (dill, sweet or bread and butter)
- Chopped jalapeno
- Chopped bell pepper
- Lit’l smokies, hot dogs, tofu dogs, chicken or turkey dogs
- Crescent rolls or pizza dough
Heat oven to 375. Cut crescent rolls or dough in strips. Add your choice of dog, cheese, veggies and spices and roll up. It doesn’t have to be perfect! If you like, you can brush the “blanket” with melted butter.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your dough is.
Serve with your choice of condiments like mustards, barbecue sauces, horseradish, ketchup or ketchup.
TORTILLA ROLL UPS –
Tortilla roll ups are easy and simple to make. A lot of times I’ll simply add turkey or ham with cheese and spinach and a bit of cream cheese to hold them together. I made these by “accident” one year when I was making several different appetizers and had pepperoni left over, which I added to my cream cheese mixture. There wasn’t any of these left and I’ve been making them ever since. To lower fat and calories, you can use low-fat cream cheese. I don’t measure when I make these, I just add ingredients and mix until I get the consistency I want….
- Cream Cheese (at room temp)
- Sliced or chopped pepperoni
- Chopped green onion
- Chopped jalapeno stuffed green olives (cause that’s what was in my fridge)
Add whatever ingredients you are using to your cream cheese, adding whatever amount of salsa you want to thin it out and make it easier to spread. Roll the tortilla up, add a little of the cream cheese mix to the outer edge so it sticks, and cut on the bias. Fresh cilantro is good to add in the tortilla or as a garnish.