DadsStory: Holiday Appetizers and Refreshments

Submitted by:  Neil Koberman

The holiday season is here, and so are the holiday parties with family, friends, and co-workers.  

If you should ever be asked to bring something to the party, surprise them with one of these easy to make holiday appetizers and refreshments.

Read on for recipes for Christmas quesadillas, holiday soda, cranberry punch and cheese balls.



Christmas Quesadillas


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (stems removed)

12 (6 to 7 inch diameter) flour tortillas

6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno chiles, shredded (1 ½ cups)

Cilantro leaves and 1 hot red pepper for garnish (red pepper optional)



1.)  In a nonstick 10-inch skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and peppers and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until golden and tender.

2.)  Add the garlic, cumin and salt, and cook for 5 minutes longer, stirring often.  Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro.

3.)  Place 6 tortillas on a work surface, and spread the pepper mixture on the tortillas.  Sprinkle them with cheese, and top with the remaining tortillas to make 6 quesadillas totaled.  Cover and refrigerate the assembled quesadillas for up to 6 hours before serving.

4.)  To complete, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place them on two large cookie sheets.  Bake them for about 8 minutes or until they are lightly browned on both sides.  Turn the quesadillas over once while cooking.

5.)  Remove the quesadillas to a cutting board and cut each one into 8 wedges.  Top each wedge with a cilantro leaf, and scatter the remaining chopped hot red pepper over the top of the dish.




Cheese Ball


2 (8 ounce) packages of cream chesse

12 -16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix

Chopped pecans

4 pecan halves



1.)  Mix together the cream cheese, grated cheddar and dressing mix.

2.)  Form the mixture into one large ball or two smaller balls.

3.)  Roll the ball(s) in chopped pecans to cover, then decorate the top with the pecan halves.

4.)  Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight before serving with wheat thins or other cracker of your choice.





Holiday Soda

(makes a single glass)


8 oz. bottle of club soda

Any sort of cranberry juice (preferably cranraspberry)


Candy cinnamon stick



Fill a glass half full of juice, then add soda and stir.  Add some ice and a candy stick to the glass and serve.




Cranberry Punch

(makes about 1 ½ quarts)


2 cups cranberry juice

2 cups pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 lime, thinly sliced

4 cups ginger ale, chilled



1.)  In a large glass container, combine all of the ingredients except the ginger ale.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight to chill thoroughly.

2.)  Just before serving, slowly stir in the ginger ale.  Pour the mixture into a punch bowl or large jug and add ice cubes.

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