8 Holiday Apps So Good, Your Guests Will Never Leave

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By Cooking Panda

The holidays are upon us! Are you ready?

Whether you’re preparing to host hordes of distant relatives, or you just want something to guzzle while you curl up under a blanket, binge watch TV and prepare for your upcoming winter hibernation, we got you. Whatever it is that you need, we’re pretty sure you can find the recipe right here, in these shamelessly loaded holiday appetizers. Go ahead, indulge!

1. Warm Gruyere Bacon and Caramelized Onion Dip

Want something warm, gooey, easy to make and super decadent? All you need to do is melt together a few easy ingredients, and you can totally caramelize the onions well in advance and freeze them, so you have no excuse not to make this!

2. Beer-Pretzel Cheese Ball

Ever had a cheese ball? If not, you have no idea what you’re missing! This beer-infused EASY version gives a grown-up kick to this savory, creamy incarnation, plus the pretzels on the outside give it a nice little crunch.

3. Loaded Mashed Potato Cakes

Make a double batch of mashed potatoes next time, so that you’ll have some leftover to bread and pan-fry. Or just use the instant stuff. Honestly these crispy, pillowy bites are incredible either way.

4. Italian Cheese Bread

Interested in baking some bread? Why not roll the dough in some cheese before throwing it in the oven? Because gooey melted cheese + freshly baked bread = heaven.

5. Bacon-Sweet Potato Tots with Maple-Mustard Dip

What’s better than tater tots? That’s an easy one: tots made out of sweet potatoes and bacon, coated in a crispy panko crust, and served with an improved version of honey mustard dip. What are you waiting for?

6. Baked Brie

If you’re a brie lover, you absolutely need to try wrapping your brie in a puff pastry and throwing it in the oven until golden, flaky and oozing in the middle. Delicious!

7. Potato Rings with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce

Can’t choose between French fries and onion rings? Keep this recipe on hand so that you never have to make that tough call ever again. And why would you want to, when you can have a light and crispy shell surrounding a soft potato filling and a flavorful caramelized onion center?

8. Pomegranate Arancini with Goat Cheese Fonduta

These delicious DEEP FRIED RISOTTO BALLS (need we say more?) get a crunchy, sweet festive kick from the pomegranate seeds, making it pretty much the best surprise ever. Oh, and they’re pretty easy to make if you have leftover risotto lying around. (Pro-tip: always make a double batch of risotto. For science.) The only problem with these ridiculously fancy schmancy apps are that your guests may never want to go home after tasting them.

Featured Photo Credit: Cooking For Keeps

Tags: Christmas appetizer, holiday appetizer, loaded snacks, Tasty Tuesday, winter food
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7 Thanksgiving Appetizers That Might Outshine Turkey

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By Cooking Panda

Thanksgiving is nearly here! We understand that hosting people can be a little terrifying, especially if you are the one responsible for cooking dinner, and we know that your oven, stove, slow cooker and maybe even grill will be operating on full-capacity. But even so, don’t neglect your appetizers, because they are exactly what will be keeping your guests happy and patient while you scramble to stir the gravy and frantically throw an underdone turkey back into the oven. Plus, most of these are either super easy or can be made in advance.

Of course, you can totally use any of these dishes as sides for the big meal, if you’re looking to do something slightly unconventional with traditional fall flavors.

1. Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Lemon Dip

No one will complain about eating their veggies when they are wrapped in bacon and smothered in bright, zippy cream sauce. That’s just a fact.

2. Caramelized Onion and Bacon Pull-Apart Bread

Stuff melty smoked cheese, savory bacon and sweet caramelized onions into a hearty, rustic loaf of bread. Serve it as an appetizer, and no one will bug you about the turkey every five seconds.

3. Holiday Bacon Appetizers

If you find yourself short on time and appetizer-less, whip up these crunchy bacon snacks in no time. All you do is wrap a cracker and parmesan cheese in bacon, then just toss in the oven until crispy for the ultimate savory treat.

4. Sweet Potato Gratin with Chile-Spiced Pecans

Nothing against the usual sweet potato side dish, but there’s no shame in mixing it up every now and again. Upgrade your typical cloyingly sweet yam mash by adding a little texture and spice.

5. Green Olive, Walnut and Pomegranate Dip

If you want something sweet, tart, savory and salty all at once, try this chunky Iranian dip. You’ll love the perfect balance of bright, bold flavors, and they’ll cut right through the thick, heavy holiday entrees.

6. Apple Blue Cheese Flatbread

You can use pretty much whatever you want for the crust — flatbread, naan, pizza crust or whatever else you have on hand. You can probably even roll out a can of croissant dough if you want something a little sweeter.

7. Kabocha Bean Dip 

The best part of this squash dip, beyond its satisfying creaminess, is the esthetic factor, since you can serve the bright dip in the actual squash if you want. If you want bolder flavors, feel free to mix in curry powder, smoked paprika, chipotle, or any other similarly awesome seasonings.

Featured Photo Credit: Food Network Kitchen

Tags: Appetizer, holiday appetizer, holiday food, Tasty Tuesday, thanksgiving
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