Simple Snacks for Anytime Entertaining

When it comes to entertaining, it’s not always about three-course meals or hours upon hours of preparation. Sometimes, the best hosts look toward simple snacks and small plates to please guests with an array of palates.

Herbs, onions, artichokes and olives create a medley of flavors atop this savory flatbread that makes it easy to give guests a fresh bite without spending too much time in the kitchen. Or you can enjoy a berry and beet chutney as a topping for crostini that is spread with goat or cream cheese, or topped with a thin slice of Gouda or a runny slice of Brie. It’s also a welcome addition to an open-face sandwich.

The secret is using convenient ingredients like Aunt Nellie’s Harvard Beets and Holland-Style Onions that contribute great flavors to recipes and also help streamline preparation as guests settle in for an evening of fun and relaxation.

Explore more ideas to make your entertaining skills shine at AuntNellies.com.

Herbed Mediterranean Flatbread

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10-12 minutes

Servings: 4

  • 1          jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Holland-Style Onions
  • 1          jar (7 1/2 ounces) quartered, marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1/4       cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2          tablespoons chopped or sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1/4       teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2          tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2          teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1          clove garlic, minced
  • 2          whole-grain round or square flatbreads (about 6-7 inches diameter)
  • fresh basil (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Drain onions. Pat dry. Discard liquid. Drain artichokes well. Discard liquid.
  2. Press onions with spatula to crush lightly. Pat dry again. Place in large bowl. Coarsely chop artichokes. Add to bowl with onions. Stir in bell pepper, parsley, olives, red pepper flakes, black pepper and 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese; set aside.
  3. In small bowl, stir together olive oil, thyme and garlic. Brush over one side of flatbreads. Place on baking sheet; bake 2 minutes. Remove from oven.
  4. Top each flatbread with onion mixture. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Return to oven. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until heated through and flatbread is crisp.
  5. Cut each flatbread in half. Sprinkle with fresh basil, if desired.

Beet and Berry Chutney

Prep time: 20 minutes

Servings: 10

  • 1/2       cup orange marmalade
  • 1          jar (15 1/2 ounces) Aunt Nellie’s Harvard Beets, not drained
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1          tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
  • 1 1/2    cups berries (fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, cut in half or quartered, if large)
  1. In medium saucepan over medium heat, stir marmalade until melted. Stir in beets and red pepper. Cook 3-5 minutes until liquid is reduced by about half, stirring frequently. Add ginger, if desired.
  2. If using only cranberries, add to pan with beet mixture and cook until they just begin to pop. If also using other berries, add to beet-cranberry mixture; stir and heat through. If using only blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, add to beet mixture after reducing liquid. Stir and heat through.
  3. Remove pan from heat; cool to room temperature before serving.

Note: Chutney can also be served chilled. Store, covered, in a refrigerator up to 1 week. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Aunt Nellie’s

5 Easy Ways to Say “I Love You”

If gift-giving isn’t your strong suit, occasions like Valentine’s Day are likely to bring on stress and worry, but procrastinating will only serve to elevate your unease.

Follow these steps to simplify your shopping, and while you may not come to love the task of finding the perfect gift, your loved one will undoubtedly appreciate your effort.

  1. Browse for ideas online. Many retailers offer special promotions and gift idea sections on their websites, so finding inspiration can be as easy as visiting the sites of your loved one’s favorite stores. There are also dozens of articles online to help get the ideas flowing. Searches such as “gifts for horse lovers” or “Valentine’s gifts for a new boyfriend” will reveal a long list of ideas to peruse.
  1. Keep it simple. Although the advertising industry works hard to convince consumers otherwise, Valentine’s Day isn’t really all about the bling. Sure, a pretty bauble is a welcome gift, but there are plenty of ways to show your affection that don’t require spending a month’s salary. A heartfelt card paired with a memento of a meaningful event or place in your relationship sends the same loving sentiment.
  1. Make it a (different) date. For many couples, navigating the demands of work, kids and life make spending time together a luxury. Instead of fighting crowds at busy restaurants on the official date, celebrate your love on a day of your own choosing, when you can relax and enjoy the time together without the pressure to rush through dessert so your table can be flipped for the next waiting couple.
  1. Give blooms a boost. A dozen long-stem red roses is a beautiful gesture, but unless your intended rose receiver is a strictly traditional type, try adding a little spice to your floral arrangement. Go for a bouquet in her favorite color, or have the flowers arranged in a practical vessel she can reuse to remember the occasion, such as a cocktail shaker or a watering can.
  1. Go ahead, gift yourself. It may seem counter-intuitive, but finding a gift you’ll enjoy may inspire an idea for your loved one. The trick is finding something you can share together, whether it’s tickets to a show or his and hers mugs for enjoying your favorite brew. Just be sure the item is something your intended will share your enthusiasm for, or you may as well go buy a blender.

Find more ideas to simplify every occasion at eLivingToday.com. (Family Features)