Lunchbreak: Make ahead appetizers – ready to take & bake for any party

Midday News
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Carol Mackey Entertaining Expert


Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

3/4 cup flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. dried oregano

�� tsp. granulated garlic

½ tsp. red pepper flakes

Dash of salt and pepper

3/4 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup pepperoni, diced or mini Hormel pepperoni’s

1/2 cup marinara sauce

2 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes add a grind or 2 of salt and pepper; whisk in the milk and egg. Stir in the mozzarella and pepperoni; let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups. Bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. If you are using mini pepperoni, add a few to the batter and place 3 on top of each before baking. After baking let cool and place on a sheet pan with parchment to flash freeze for about an hour.  Place in freezer bags.  Reheat oven 350 for 10-12 minutes or microwave until hot. Sprinkle the puffs with basil. Serve with warm marinara for dipping.


Sausage Rolls

Ready-made puff pastry dough

16 oz. bulk breakfast sausage

Stone ground or Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten with a little water to seal and glaze the pastry

Make an egg wash by mixing the beaten egg with ¼ cup water. Cut the puff pastry into 3 horizontal strips, spoon about 2 Tbls. of the mustard on the puff pastry, toward the end but leaving a couple inches of puff pastry exposed.

Divide sausage into 3 and place down on each pastry strip (helps to kind of roll the sausage).

Roll up each and brush the edges with plenty of the egg wash to help make the pastry stick together. This latter step can be a little tricky - if you don't seal those edges together securely enough, they'll come "unzipped" in the oven half-way through the baking process!

Brush the tops of each roll with the egg wash to create a nice glaze and make slits in the top of each roll to section off, place on parchment lined sheet pan and put in freezer for about 30 minutes to make it easier to cut pieces. Cut pieces, place back in the freezer if needed then place in freezer bags (optional with mini cutter make a decoration with puff pastry on each individual sausage roll). To serve; bake frozen at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or cold. Makes about 1 dozen per log.


Cranberry Cream Cheese Wontons

1 cup cranberries

1 jalapeno; stem and most seeds removed

2 Tbls. sugar

8 oz. softened cream cheese

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 package square wonton wrappers

vegetable oil for frying


In a food processor, combine the cranberries, jalapeno pepper, sugar and mayonnaise. Process until smooth. This will be your cranberry relish. Mix cream cheese into this until well blended.

Lay a few wonton wrappers at a time out on a clean surface. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture onto the center of each one. Using water wet the edges of the wonton wrapper fold in half to make a triangle shape, then pinch together 2 ends of triangle, set aside on a parchment lined sheet pan while you assemble the remaining wontons.

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully set 5 to 10 of the wontons in the pan. Do not over crowd the pan. Fry on each side until LIGHT golden brown, since we will reheat, they will brown more in the oven. Remove from the hot oil using a large slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.  When cooled place on parchment lined sheet pan to flash freeze (about an hour).  Carefully place in freezer bags.  Bake frozen 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 4 dozen.


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