The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is in full swing. With only 3 short weeks until Christmas, there will guests to host and parties to attend. Having a couple fresh, fast and festive appetizers in your cooking repertoire will make entertaining a breeze.
Honey Ham and Fresh Pineapple Pizza Squares and Roasted Lemon Barbecue Shrimp are quick to prepare and easy to serve. Both appetizers are right at home at either an elegant black tie affair or a causal cocktail party. They have an added advantage that they can be made ahead of time too. These mini pizza bites and roasted shrimp hors d’oeuvres will have you spending less time in the kitchen and more time socializing with family and friends.
The Honey Ham and Fresh Pineapple Pizza Squares combine the enticing flavor combination of savory and sweet ingredients. Large flour tortillas stand in for the traditional pizza crust so there is no need to get out a rolling pin. Marinara sauce gets an added spicy sweetness from a couple tablespoons of barbecue sauce. Sharp and salty Parmesan cheese and smokey honey ham complement the contrasting sweetness of the fresh juicy pineapple tidbits. A sprinkling of oregano, basil and fresh parsley complete the colorful pizza.
Honey Ham and Fresh Pineapple Pizza Squares
serves 12 as appetizers
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1 1/3 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup diced honey ham
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place tortillas on 2 large baking sheets. Combine the marinara and barbecue sauces and spread about 2 heaping tablespoons on top of each tortilla. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of the cheese on top of the sauce followed by 1/4 cup each of the ham and the pineapple. Sprinkle with a little oregano and basil. The pizzas can be made up to this point and refrigerated up to 4 hours.
Bake in the preheated oven for 6 – 8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown and the tortillas are crispy. Let cool 2 – 3 minutes before cutting in to squares. Sprinkle with the parsley.
Jumbo shrimp take center stage in the appetizer of Roasted Lemon Barbecue Shrimp. I like to purchase wild shrimp which are becoming more readily available at local seafood counters. A ketchup-based marinade is highlighted by lemon, Worcestershire sauce, and scallions. It does double duty as a marinade for the ocean fresh shrimp and a sauce that is drizzled over the finished appetizer. Served either warm from the oven or chilled, Roasted Lemon Barbecue Shrimp are a tantalizing addition to any party.
Roasted Lemon Barbecue Shrimp©
serves 8 as appetizers
for the marinade —
1/4 cup ketchup
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16 – 20 count per pound), peeled and deveined with tails
lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
In a mason jar with a lid or a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and shake well. Place shrimp in a resealable bag and add about 2/3 of the marinade. Place in refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining marinade.
Remove the shrimp from the marinade and place on the prepared baking sheet. Discard the marinade in the bag. Roast for 8 – 10 minutes until the shrimp are pink and firm to the touch. The shrimp can be served warm from the oven or chilled.
To serve, drizzle with the reserved marinade and lemon wedges.
A feast for the eye as well as the mouth, these inventive appetizers will be welcomed at any holiday party. They are the perfect nibbles to go along with a festive drink.