(Family Features) Kick off your holiday parties in style with flavorful appetizers every guest will enjoy.
Whether you’re a seasoned holiday host or a first-timer, throwing a holiday party can be a bit overwhelming. But with the proper tools, such as a great sampling of easy-to-make appetizers and delicious beverage pairings, you and your guests will get in the festive mood in no time.
When planning your appetizer fare, go with casual selections that require little to no clean-up. Finger foods, like this recipe for Sweet Slice® Ham Sliders, require just a few savory, mouth-watering ingredients and minimal time in the kitchen. Or, take some inspiration from the menus of Italian restaurants and wine bars and create an old world-inspired charcuterie board composed of Boar’s Head Brand® artisan meats and cheeses. Here are a few tips to create your own:
- Delight and prime guests’ palates: Use one to two ounces of cheese and three slices of meat per person. This will give your guests a mix of salty and savory items to delight their palates but not overwhelm them before the main course.
- Arm independent snackers: Don’t fully pre-cut your cheese choices. To give guests the most interaction with the delicacies, slice a few pieces and then pair a knife with each selection.
- Choose the cheese: The cheese selection should also be diverse and include a minimum of a fresh, semi-soft, firm and hard cheese. Try Boar’s Head Asiago Vecchio Cheese, Picante Sharp Provolone Cheese and Aged Gouda. For more tasty ideas, visit www.boarshead.com.
- Match your meat: You’ll want to display a variety of charcuterie including cured, smoked and preserved meats. Boar’s Head Bianco D’Oro® Italian Dry Salame,
Italian Dry Sausage and Prosciutto Di Parma® are robust and delicious.
- Add the finishing touches: Recreate the artisan culinary experience by placing meats and cheeses on a wood platter or cutting board. Accessorize by adding fruits, nuts, olives, grapes and honey for dipping. Be sure to offer textural contrasts with dippers, such as whole grain crackers, crusted breads, breadsticks and crostini.
- Cheers to your success: Pair a great wine or beer with your choice of meat and cheese. For example, a Cabernet Sauvignon goes great with a dry salami, while dark beers pair perfectly with aged Gouda.
So, get your party started right with a delicious assortment of appetizers and just relax. As long as the drinks and delicious foods are flowing, the good times will as well.
Sweet Slice® Ham Sliders
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 8 appetizer size rolls
- 1/2 cup apple butter
- 4 slices Sweet Slice Boneless Smoked Ham, sliced thick
- 4 slices Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese, sliced thick
- Slice rolls and spread with apple butter. Cut ham and cheese slices in half to fit on roll. Add one slice each of ham and cheese to roll. Arrange on dish and serve.
(Family Features) Holidays are a time filled with family, friends and — perhaps most importantly — feasts. Traditional holiday menu items have the power to evoke warm memories of holidays past while continuing to bring people together year after year. For many, the center of that coveted holiday table would not be complete without a sweet and savory spiral-sliced ham.
But what kind of holiday spread would it be without a plethora of delicious side dishes to accompany and complement the meal? Whether you prefer ham with notes of honey, nuts or fruit, make sure your dinner table boasts a variety of options that enhance its delectable flavor. Look for recipes that incorporate both traditional and unexpected ingredients for a holiday menu makeover. Doing so will keep guests pleased with familiar favorites, yet pleasantly surprised with the new variations.
Savory side selections
If you’re looking for a savory side that spotlights the distinct flavors of the season, butternut squash is an excellent choice. White Beans with Bacon and Butternut Squash is a perfect blend of savory, sweet and salty. Serve it alongside your favorite Smithfield ham — Honey, Caramel Apple or Pecan Praline glazed — for a true taste of tradition. For more great recipes, visit www.smithfield.com.
A potato dish is also a must for many holiday spreads. Break away from mundane mashed potatoes and gravy with this recipe for Smashed Bacon Ranch Potatoes. Family and friends will line up for seconds when they get a taste of the ranch dressing and smoky bacon combination. Or, try this recipe for Green Bean Corn Casserole for another new twist on a classic holiday favorite.
3 ways to make ham leftovers delectable
For many, the best part of the holiday meal awaits them in the fridge the next day. If you find yourself with a kitchen still stocked for a holiday feast, here are some easy ways to turn delicious ham into a flavorful meal with just a few extra ingredients:
Pizza: Nothing pleases a child — or a parent for that matter — more than pizza. Simply place marinara sauce, cheese and cubed ham atop broiled French bread or English muffins for a crunchy post-holiday lunch.
Pasta salad: Whip up a cool classic you can nibble on all week long. Prepare your favorite whole-wheat noodles, then mix in cubed ham, your favorite cheeses, diced tomatoes, spinach and a generous pour of creamy Italian dressing. It’s an easy meal in just minutes.
Sandwiches: Take standard ham and cheese sandwiches to new levels with uneaten goodies from your cheese platter. Fill leftover artisan rolls from your holiday fare with sliced ham. Experiment with your favorite cheeses — Gouda, Gruyere or Roquefort — and place on the grill for a gooey, crunchy bite.
Holiday Spiral Sliced Ham with Honey Glaze
Cook time: 10 to 12 minutes per pound
Yield: 14 servings
- 1 Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham with Honey Glaze
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Remove packaging; reserve liquid. Place ham cut-side down on large sheet of foil in roasting pan, pour reserved liquid over ham and wrap completely with foil. Warm ham in oven for 10 to 12 minutes per pound. Do not overheat.
- After removing from oven, let sit for 5 minutes before glazing. Heat glaze packet for 15 seconds in microwave. Glaze is hot, so be careful when opening packet. Holding packet with towel or oven mitt, cut corner off packet and pour glaze into bowl. Stir well and spoon over ham. Let glazed ham sit for 5 minutes before serving to allow glaze to melt over ham.
Smashed Bacon Ranch Potatoes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 to 6 slices Smithfield Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon
- 1/4 cup bottled ranch dressing
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk or whole milk
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; return to saucepan and mash coarsely. Cook bacon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until browned; drain and crumble. Pour off drippings from skillet, leaving clinging particles in skillet. Add potatoes, salad dressing, buttermilk and vinegar to skillet; stir until well blended. Cook, stirring constantly, until hot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
White Beans with Bacon and Butternut Squash
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices Smithfield bacon, chopped
- 1 pound diced butternut squash
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed and chopped
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon to skillet and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until crumbly; remove from skillet, drain on paper towels and reserve 2 tablespoons of drippings in skillet. Add butternut squash, onion, salt, pepper, nutmeg and curry powder to the skillet; saute for 5 minutes; add chicken broth to the skillet, reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 5 additional minutes or until butternut squash is tender. Add beans and spinach to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until all vegetables are heated through. Sprinkle with reserved bacon.
Green Bean Corn Casserole
Cook time: 50 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 bag frozen French-style green beans
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 can cream of celery soup
- 1 can corn, drained
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated (or more)
- 1 sleeve butter crackers, finely crushed
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In large mixing bowl, combine first 7 ingredients and place in prepared 13-inch by 9-inch casserole dish. Combine crushed butter crackers and melted butter and spread over top of casserole. Bake for 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Note: Add 1 cup diced ham and 1 cup shredded cooked chicken to this recipe to make it a main dish.
Apps and starters perfect for game day
(Family Features) Rules may vary from one event to the next, but whether your favorite team kicks it, runs it or dunks it, sports fans and food always provide a winning combo. Gather your friends for the next big game with a menu that gets everyone revved up for a win.
A lineup filled with starters is just the ticket for a game day watch party or tailgate. Offering a series of finger foods and lighter fare lets your fellow fans grab a quick bite before the game or during a commercial break and continue snacking through the game.
Make no mistake, serving up a lighter menu doesn’t mean you need to skimp on quality – just the opposite, in fact. Make every bite count by using exceptional ingredients and introducing unexpected flavors such as the distinctive taste of Jarlsberg Brand Cheese, which has a rich, 60-year Norwegian heritage. Best known as a classic wedge, this mild, mellow and nutty cheese can also be served sliced, shredded and cubed.
Quesadillas are always a hit, and this version combines the best of gooey, melted cheese with bacon and a deliciously tangy salsa for a lively burst of fresh flavor. Then keep the mouthwatering cheese and bacon combos coming with a whole new take on grilled kebabs.
No game day is complete without pizza, and this one scores big with its unexpected blend of flavors for a pie that is smoky and tangy, sweet and savory, and briny and creamy all at once. Then round out your menu with these easy sliders that are big on flavor and small on prep time.
Find more ideas to liven up your game day menu at jarlsberg.com.
Hawaiian Sliders with Cheese, Ham and Pork
- 3 Hawaiian bread slider buns
- 1 cup pulled pork
- 3 slices ham
- 3 slices Jarlsberg cheese
- sliced pickles
- Dijon mustard, to taste
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Separate buns and layer pulled pork, sliced ham and cheese. Place sliders on oven-safe tray and bake about 10 minutes, or until cheese melts. Remove from oven and gently remove top bun. Add pickles and mustard before serving.
Cheese and Bacon Kebabs
- 18 slices bacon
- 2 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, cubed
- 18 pearl onions
- 12 long skewers
- 1/4 cup roasted bell peppers
- 1 1/3 tablespoons capers
- 2 2/3 tablespoons olives
- 1/4 cup cucumber
- 3 1/3 ounces olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice and grated zest
- Cut bacon slices in half and wrap around cheese cubes. Place cheese cubes and pearl onions on each skewer, alternating ingredients. Roast in pan or on grill 2-3 minutes on each side.
- To make relish, chop peppers, capers, olives and cucumber, and mix with olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper.
Grilled Pizza with Cheese, Prosciutto and Figs
- 2 cups pizza or tomato sauce
- 4 1/2 cups pizza dough
- flour, for rolling
- 3 1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese, coarsely grated
- 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced prosciutto
- 8 dried figs, each cut into six wedges
- dried red pepper flakes
- black pepper
- Heat grill and warm pizza sauce.
- Divide dough into desired number of pizzas. On floured surface, roll dough into long, thin ovals and spread with sauce. Sprinkle light layer of cheese over sauce. Add layer of prosciutto and a second layer of cheese. Dot with fig pieces then season with red pepper flakes and pepper.
- Reduce grill heat, slide pizzas onto grill and close lid. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until crust is lightly charred and cheese is melted.
- 4 slices thick slab bacon
- 1 small chili pepper
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 1 small shallot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon coriander or cumin
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 small lime (juice and zest)
- 6 slices Jarlsberg Original or Hickory Smoked cheese
- 2 large tortillas
- Fry bacon, drain and chop.
- To make salsa, remove seeds from chili pepper and finely dice. Chop tomatoes then dice shallot and garlic clove. Combine pepper, tomatoes, shallot and garlic with lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide cheese slices and bacon on one half of each tortilla, top with 1/4 cup salsa and fold tortilla over, pressing down to close. In medium-hot, lightly oiled pan, toast tortillas about 1 minute on each side.
- Cut each tortilla in half and serve with remaining salsa on the side, or combine salsa with black beans and fresh chopped cilantro to make a side salad.
Source: Jarlsberg Cheese
(Family Features) From savory starters and sides to a show-stopping main course, there are so many recipes to choose from this season. The secret to creating those hallmark holiday moments – the ones that leave us with delicious memories – is choosing the right dish.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect recipe for the special holiday meal, an office potluck or a simple snack to warm up with after ice skating, these recipes are an easy way to elevate any moment with tastes you’ll savor for years to come – and leftovers you’ll devour the next day.
“Pork lends itself to a multitude of flavors and preparation methods, making it the perfect protein for any occasion,” said Pamela Johnson, Director of Consumer Communications at the National Pork Board. “You can transform a classic ham with a simple glaze or mix up your starters by adding a nutty, Spanish-inspired sauce to tender pork meatballs – giving those traditional dishes everyone loves a special touch.”
For more holiday recipes, visit PorkBeinspired.com, or try the interactive Pork Be Inspired Facebook bot that provides pork fans with great-tasting recipes. Just visit the Pork Be Inspired Facebook page, open Facebook Messenger and say, “Hi.” The bot will respond by asking questions to help you find the right recipe. You can also uncover more inspiration from the National Pork Board on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Thyme-Basted Ham with Roasted Grapes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 2-2 1/2 hours
Servings: 15-20 (4 ounces each)
- 1 cooked, bone-in ham (6-8 pounds), trimmed
- 1/2 cup grape jelly
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into 4-6 pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 3 cups whole grapes (red, green or a combination)
- 4 shallots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Position rack in lower third of oven.
- In large shallow roasting pan, place ham flat-side down and score a diamond pattern about 1/8-inch deep into any fat. Season with pepper and bake 1 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in small saucepan over medium heat, combine jelly, butter and thyme, whisking occasionally until jelly and butter melt together and mixture comes to gentle boil, 1-2 minutes. Cover and set aside. In medium bowl, combine grapes and shallots. Set aside.
- Baste ham with jelly mixture. Continue baking, basting with jelly mixture and/or pan juices about every 15 minutes. When ham’s internal temperature reaches 120° F, add grapes and shallots to roasting pan, stirring to coat with pan juices. Continue baking and basting until internal temperature reaches 140° F, 15-18 minutes per pound. Remove ham from oven, transfer to cutting board and let rest 15-30 minutes. If grapes and shallots aren’t tender yet, return roasting pan to oven.
- Slice enough ham to serve and arrange on plates or platter. Season roasted grapes, shallots and pan juice mixture with pepper, and spoon some on top of ham. Serve remaining grape mixture on side.
Stuffed Pork Meatballs with Romesco
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 (40 meatballs)
- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
- vegetable oil, for the baking sheet
- 3/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 40 red-pepper-stuffed green olives (not large)
- 40 wooden toothpicks or bamboo cocktail spears, for serving
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed under knife, peeled
- 2 drained, jarred roasted red bell peppers
- 1/4 cup sliced natural almonds
- 2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika (preferably smoked paprika)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- To make Romesco Sauce: In food processor, drop garlic through feed tube to mince. Stop machine and add peppers, almonds, vinegar, paprika, oregano and salt. Pulse about 10 times until minced. With processor running, slowly pour oil through feed tube. Transfer to serving bowl. Makes about 1 1/4 cup sauce.
- To make meatballs: Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly oil large rimmed baking sheet. In large bowl, mix bread crumbs, egg, sherry, parsley, paprika, garlic and pepper. Add ground pork and mix thoroughly but gently with hands. Using about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture for each, shape into 40 meatballs. Stuff 1 olive in center of each meatball then completely enclose olive. Arrange meatballs on baking sheet.
- Bake meatballs 15 minutes. Turn meatballs over and continue baking until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs to serving platter. Spear with toothpicks and serve hot with Romesco Sauce for dipping.
Note: Romesco sauce can be covered and refrigerated up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Five-Spice Pork and Apple Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Fuji apple or other sweet-tart apple
- 1/4 red onion
- 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
- 12 cups mixed greens (about 6 ounces)
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Season tenderloin on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder, salt and pepper. Place tenderloin in shallow pan and roast about 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches between 145° F (medium-rare) and 160° F (medium).
- While pork is cooking, core and thinly slice apple. Thinly slice onion.
- While pork is resting, in large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and remaining five-spice powder. Add greens, apple and onion; toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, if desired. Arrange salad on plates or platter.
- Cut pork into thin slices. Arrange on top of salads and serve.
Source: National Pork Board
(Family Features) This year, make your Easter ham effortless by ditching the oven and using your slow cooker instead. While most people think about slow cooking for staples like chili and stew, it’s also perfect for center-of-the-plate feasts — like an Easter ham.
Using the slow cooker, you can minimize both prep time and cleanup time, leaving plenty of room in the day for church, hunting eggs and enjoying time with your loved ones.
Ham is a tradition for many families this time of year, and because it pairs well with a multitude of ingredients, you can create a unique dish every time.
For a fresh spin on the classic ham, try this Sweet Southern Slow-Cooker Ham recipe from the National Pork Board. Apple cider and bourbon (or vanilla extract, if you prefer) combine to create a rich flavor complemented by the sweetness of brown sugar.
Round out your Easter menu by pairing your ham with classic sides such as oven-roasted carrots, asparagus wrapped in bacon and mashed sweet potatoes.
You can also use leftover ham for flavor-packed recipes like Ham, Apple and Cheddar Crepes, which are ideal for a family-style brunch.
Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes
Enter the National Pork Board’s Easter Ham Pin-spiration Sweepstakes at PorkBeinspired.com/EasterHam for the chance to win an Easter gift basket with everything you need for this year’s celebration.
- 1 bone-in fully cooked ham, about 5 1/2 pounds
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- Place ham in large slow cooker. Whisk cider with brown sugar, bourbon, honey and mustard. Slowly pour over ham. Scatter thyme sprigs into slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours, or until very tender. Remove ham to rest on cutting board. Pass remaining cooking liquid through fine mesh sieve into saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced. Carve ham into serving pieces. Brush ham pieces with cooking liquid before arranging on platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
4 to 8 hours
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
For a non-alcoholic alternative, replace the bourbon with 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
- 3 cups ham, shredded and warmed
- 1 3/4 cups 2% milk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- Pour milk, butter, eggs and salt in blender. Mix until well combined. Add flour. Mix for 15 to 20 seconds or until smooth. Let stand for 10 minutes.
- Heat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat well with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, swirl to fully cover bottom of pan. Cook for 1 minute or until crepe begins to curl around edges. Carefully flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until set. Transfer to plate. Repeat with additional cooking spray and remaining batter. Layer cooked crepes between pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking.
- Lay a crepe on clean work surface. Arrange few slices of apple on quarter of crepe; top with shredded ham. Fold crepe in half to cover filling and fold in half again to create triangular shape. Repeat with remaining crepes, apple and ham. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet and hold in warm oven until ready to serve, or up to 30 minutes.
- For cheese sauce, melt butter in saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in flour until well coated. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until pale and smooth. Whisk in milk, a splash at a time, until smooth; stir in mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat back of spoon. Remove from heat. Whisk in cheese, a small handful at a time, until melted and smooth.
- Place filled crepes on each plate. Spoon cheese sauce over each crepe and sprinkle with chives.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
All the elements of the recipe can be prepared a day in advance and gently warmed before assembling.
SOURCE: National Pork Board