Easy Holiday Appetizers


It is always good to have some easy apps in your back pocket, especially this time of the year!  These 3 are festive, impressive looking and most importantly delicious.  I recently had a little get together and served all three and they got high reviews from my girlfriends.  Two out of the three are gluten free which is a bonus especially if you are going to or having a party with some guests that are gluten free.  Hope you get to try these this holiday season, or frankly anytime!!



Cranberry Jalapeño Dip

cranberry salsa cream cheese app

This is really a cranberry salsa, a delicious tart and sweet salsa with a slight heat from the jalapeños.  This recipe is served over a layer of whipped cream cheese, but honestly if you are dairy free or just not a cream cheese fan, it definitely can stand on its own.  I happen to not be dairy free and love cream cheese so I’m going to just keep it as it is, but you do you friend!!! The cranberry mixture needs to rest in the fridge overnight, so this is a great make ahead option.  Just throw it on top of the cream cheese and you are good to go.  For the original recipe from Sparrows & Lily click here.


12 oz fresh, uncooked cranberries
1/4 cup green onion
1-2 fresh jalapeño peppers
2 Tbsp. cilantro
3/4 to Cup sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juce
1/8 tsp. salt
16 oz. whipped cream cheese not

What to do…

  1.  I throw the cranberries, green onion, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro all in the bowl of a food processor.  This is controversial.  I think it is easier this way because I don’t really want to chop cranberries by hand.  However, you need to pulse this just until chopped.  If you chop too long it will become watery.  My reccomendation is use the food processor but watch it closely.
  2.  Pour your chopped mixture into a medium sized bowl.
  3.  Add sugar, lemon juice and salt.  Stir to combine.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, spread the whipped cream cheese (you can buy whipped cream cheese or whip regualr cream cheese with a hand mixer) on the bottom of a pie plate or serving dish of your choice.
  6. Pour cranberry salsa on top of cream cheese.  Garnish with additional cilantro if you desire.
  7. Serve with crackers of your choice.

Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Log

cranberry pistachio log

This app is a show stopper, but easy to make.  The best part of this is that you can even make it a couple days ahead of time.  Just remember to pull it our of the fridge a bit before serving so it has time to soften up a bit. This is also gluten free.  I promise you people will be asking you for this recipe.  For the original recipe from Carlsbad Cravings, with more detailed pictures click here. 


Cranberry Pistachio Coating

  • 1 1/4 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup shelled roasted, salted pistachios

Cheese Log

  • 7 to 8 oz. goat cheese log or tub softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 tsp each ground ginger, ground cinnamon, salt, dried thyme, dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup Cranberry Pistachio Coating mixture

Additional honey can be drizzled on top for a garnish

What to do…

  1.  Add cranberries and pistachios to your food processor and chop into small pieces, making sure to not over process.  The mixture will get too watery to if you do.
  2. Remove a 1/2 cup and add it to a medium bowl
  3. Add all remaining goat cheese log ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Place cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Form into the shape of a log and wrap up.  Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
  5.  Line the counter with a large sheet of parchment paper about the size of a cookie sheet.  Place the coating ingredients on the parchment platter in a single layer in the shape of a rectangle slightly larger than the log.
  6.  Place cheese log on the edge of the rectangle and roll until log is fully coated, pressing down so it sticks.  Use your hands to press the coating onto the edges.
  7. Wrap the log and refrigerate until ready to serve, or serve immediately.  If saving for later, remove the log about 15-20 minutes prior to serving.
  8. When ready to serve, drizzle with honey and serve with crackers of your choice.

** This makes a large cheese log.  If you are serving fewer people or have multiple parties to attend you can make two smaller logs.


Antipasto Crescent Role Ring

This is an fun appetizer that will be gone as soon as you place it on your table.  I have included in holiday appetizers but this one especially would be great anytime of year!! It it quick and easy to put together! The pepperoncinis make it.  They give it that little extra bite that takes it over the top.  I’ve modified the original recipe a bit, but to see the original from Lemons for LuLu, click here.


  • 2 8 oz tubes crescent rolls
  • 8 slices proscuitto
  • 10 slices salami
  • 4 oz or 10 slices pepperoni
  • ⅓ cup sliced pepperoncini peppers
  • 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

What to do…

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2.  Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  3.  Unroll the crescent rolls from the tube.  Arrange the triangles so the points face out.  The corners of the larger edges on the inside should be overlapping. (see picture)antipasto ring raw
  4.  Layer the filling, beginning with the prosciutto. Add the salami and pepperoni strips next.  Then the sliced pepperoncinis and finally the cheese
  5.  Fold the tops of the dough triangle into the center, covering the filling.  Press the dough triangle tips into the dough the on the center of the circle. You may need to push some of the dough edges together to cover the filling.  Don’t worry, this does not have to be perfect!!
  6.  Spray the unbaked ring with the olive oil spray and top with garlic salt and parmesan.
  7.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before slicing.


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