WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - By now, the menu for Thanksgiving dinner has been planned for weeks. Turkey, dressing or stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, green beans and cranberry sauce—the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving feast.
What about the appetizers, though, for those who will want to nibble before sitting down to the dining room table.
Perhaps the WECT news anchors can give you some ideas. I asked my colleagues to share their favorites.
Jon Evans’ favorite appetizer is his wife’s creation. He calls ii Sheila’s Famous Bean Dip.
“I usually have to be careful not to eat too much of this and leave room for dinner,” Jon says. “I often do not succeed.
Sheila’s Famous Bean Dip Ingredients: -One package of cream cheese -One can of Hormel chili with beans -A jar of sliced jalapenos -Shredded cheddar cheese Directions: Microwave the cream cheese and chili for 30 seconds at a time, maybe 4-5 times, stirring in between. Stir in one cup of finely shredded cheddar cheese and the jalapenos, and microwave again until completely melted. We serve with tortilla chips
Kim Ratcliff’s favorite is a popular appetizer on any occasion, but it’s a tradition for her family.
Kim’s Sausage Balls 1 pound hot Jimmy Dean ground sausage 1 1/2 cups Bisquick 1/2 cup fat free or 2% milk Shredded fiesta blend cheese
Make small round balls place on cookie sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes “I mix the milk and Bisquick with a spoon first then add sausage,” Kim says. “I add cheese to taste. I don’t measure it.”
Bob Bonner’s favorite is a Thanksgiving tradition, although he says the dish is not about the holiday.
“My grandmother made this dip when my brother and I were kids,” he says. “There’s nothing ‘holiday’ about it other than my memories. I make it each Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Bob Bonner’s Grandmother’s Dip Ingredients: Equal parts whipped cream cheese and sour cream. Chopped bacon (or bacon bits if you’re feeling lazy) to taste Prepared horseradish to taste (I like a lot)
Directions: Stir to combine in a covered container and let sit (I typically make the day before) Serve (stir first) with chips, crackers, veggies - whatever you want. It’s very good on steak or a roast beef sandwich!
Gabbie Williams favorite is everyone’s all-time favorite—deviled eggs. She adds a little extra flavor to hers, though.
Gabbie’s Deviled Eggs
1 dozen eggs
Mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and relish to taste.
Put eggs in a pan, bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Let them sit covered for 15-20 minutes. (I like to do this the night before so they’re nice and cold when I go to peel them the next day!) Peel the eggs. Cut them in half. Put yolks in a bowl and set whites on a platter. Mash the yolks with a fork and then add mayo, mustard, relish, salt and pepper to taste. Put mixture in a piping bag and fill the egg whites. I then top each egg with a sprinkle of paprika.
“My husband can eat a dozen of these on Thanksgiving so be sure to make enough,” Gabbie says.
Bill Murray, considered affectionately at WECT as the foodie expert discovered his favorite years ago while watching his carb intake.
“Several years ago, when Atkins Diet was all the rage, friends made these stuffed peppers for a dinner party, because the carbs were very low,” Bill says. “I thought they were great and, more importantly, simple, so I make them all the time.”
Bill’s Low Carb Stuffed Mini Peppers
Ingredients: Grab a bag of mini peppers from the grocery store (yellow, red, orange mixture). They have the mini size. Cut lengthwise, in half, and take out the seeds. Directions:
Brown a pound of Breakfast sausage (I like Jimmy Dean hot) and then drain Mix a brick of softened cream cheese with 1/2 a cup of Parmesan and 1/2 a cup of shredded cheddar. Throw in some salt and pepper. Take a tablespoon and stuff the peppers. Throw on a baking pan (I use aluminum foil to avoid clean-up. 350 for about 12-15 minutes. Delicious!!!!!!!!
Finally, my favorite is one that pairs well with Thanksgiving dinner. It’s also one you usually only see around Thanksgiving time. The ingredients and the directions are universal.
Fran’s Cranberry Brie Bites
(1) 8 oz. tube of Pillsbury crescent roll dough
(1) 8 oz. wheel of brie
½ cup of whole berry cranberry sauce (do not use the jelled sauce)
¼ cup of chopped pecans or walnuts
6 sprigs of rosemary (you’ll cut those up into one-inch pieces)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray, like Pam
Spread flour lightly on countertop to roll out the dough
Cut into 24 squares
Place each square inside the mini muffin pan and pinch the corners
Cut brie into small pieces and place inside the crescent dough
Top each square with a spoonful of cranberry sauce (you can also use orange marmalade) sprinkle chopped pecans or walnuts over each square (I might try a whole walnut)
Add a sprig of the rosemary
Bake for 15 minutes
Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating from the WECT news team!