Spending much more time at home with family over the past year, I’ve gained a new appreciation for finding easy ways to elevate the ordinary. These three appetizers are definitely elegant enough for entertaining, but they are so quick and easy you could easily serve them as an afternoon snack when you are in the mood for something a little different!
Let’s start with this delicious little treat - Goat Cheese with Fig Preserves and Pistachio.
How can something so incredible be so easy? To pull this together, you will need:
4oz plain goat cheese roll
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/3 cup fig preserves
1/4 tsp Rosemary Citrus Sea Salt
Coarsely chop the pistachios. Place the fig preserves on a plate or shallow serving dish, then place the goat cheese on top. Sprinkle the Rosemary Citrus Sea Salt onto the top of the goat cheese, then drizzle the honey on top. Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top of goat cheese and preserves. Serve with crackers. This is also AMAZING on toast the following morning!
Now let’s talk about these little gems:
Not Your Grandma’s Sausage Balls
They may be little, but these sausage balls pack a punch! The outside gets wonderfully golden and crunchy, while the middle stays moist and delicious. The texture is absolutely PERFECT. To make these, you will need:
1 lb hot breakfast sausage (raw)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup The Daily Grind seasoning blend
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Throw ingredients in your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, or mix by hand until combined. Line a jelly roll pan or other shallow baking sheet with parchment paper (note: they will release a little grease, so a flat baking sheet is not recommended). Roll mixture into 1 inch balls (about 30 of them), allowing about an inch of space between them. Bake about 20 minutes.
Now for this show-stopper:
Garlic Pepper Sage Three-Cheese Ball
This cheese ball has an amazing, creamy texture thanks to a blend of mascarpone, sharp cheddar and cream cheese. The flavor is so elegant and the toasted almonds set it off with a perfect amount of crunch. To make this, you will need:
8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I use Tillamook)
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
3 tbsp Garlic Pepper Sage seasoning blend
Toast the almonds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer to a small plate. Coarsely chop cheddar if using large shreds. Combine all ingredients in a stand-up mixer using the dough hook attachment or stir together by hand. Shape mixture into a ball and roll through almonds until completely covered, pressing them in gently as needed. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. (Note: if the cheese mixture is too soft to shape into a ball, pop it in the freezer for 10-20 minutes until it is firm enough to shape.)