Holiday Platters

December 1, 2013

Cranberry Brie Bites
3 (1.9-ounce) packages miniature phyllo pastry shells (45 shells)
1 cup cranberry sauce
1 (8-ounce) wheel of Brie, rind removed
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place shells on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 5 minutes.
Cool completely on baking sheet.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°.
Cut Brie into about 45 pieces.
Place 1 Brie piece in each pastry shell; top with about 1 teaspoon cranberry mixture.
Sprinkle nuts on top if you like.
Bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or just until cheese begins to melt.
Serve immediately.

These are great with my homemade Cranberry Sauce! No, time to make it? Just use 1 cup of canned whole berry cranberry sauce mixed 1 teaspoon of fresh orange zest.

Party Pinwheels
2 blocks (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 packet (1 ounce) Ranch dip mix
8 to 10 large flour tortillas or lavosh flat bread
1 pound thinly sliced deli ham, turkey, or roast beef or a combination of all three
A few cups of fresh spinach
1 jar roasted red peppers (optional)

In a large bowl use a mixer and beat together cream cheese and Ranch dip mix.
Spread a thin layer on each tortilla.
Put a few slices of deli meat on top.
Top with some spinach and roasted red pepper if you like.
Don't over stuff the sandwiches.
Roll up tortilla tightly.
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least a few hours.
When you are reafy to serve, unwrap and cut into 4 to 8 pieces depending on how big you want to make the sandwiches.

You can arrange the sandwiches in the shape of a Christmas tree or wreath and use cherry tomatoes and colored peppers to decorate the sandwiches for the holidays.

Chocolate Peppermint Trifles
1 package chocolate cake or family size brownie mix, baked in a 9"x 13"pan, according to package directions
3 cups cold milk
2 packages (3.4 ounces) chocolate instant pudding
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 container (16 ounces) whipped topping, thawed
A few drops red food coloring (optional)
2 cups crushed peppermint candy or candy canes
Fresh mint sprig

Cool cake or brownies and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes.
Add milk to dry pudding mix in medium bowl.
Beat until pudding starts to thicken.
Stir peppermint extract into pudding.
Mix a little red food coloring into all but about a fourth of the whipped topping until it turns light pink.
Refrigerate the remaining white whipped topping.
In a clear glass bowl or trifle dish add half of the cake cubes, ¾ cup candies, half of the pink whipped pudding, and half of the pudding.
Repeat to build layers ending with pudding.
Cover loosely with plastic and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Right before serving remove plastic and decorate the top with a "cloud" of the reserved white whipped topping.
Sprinkle some peppermint candy on top and garnish with fresh mint sprig.

Instead of making one big trifle, you can also make minis! Just layer the ingredients in mini trifle dishes, pretty wine glasses, or even clean ball canning jars. That way everybody gets their own dessert! What fun!

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