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Eating Well: New Year's Eve appetizers provide variety, plenty of flavor

If you are entertaining New Year's Eve and want to keep it easy, a variety of dips served with differing accompaniments for dipping is always a safe and easy path to follow.

Nothing is better than lining your table with a delicious assortment of quick and easy hors d'oeuvres that can be prepared ahead of time and are ready to serve in a moment's notice, giving you more valuable time to spend with guests. The following are all home-tested recipes made with simple ingredients that can be easily popped into the refrigerator, microwave or oven, or served straight from the crock-pot.

If you're hosting a really large group, all of these recipes can be doubled. The Avocado Dip and the Hot Cheese Dip make generous batches and the Chipped Beef and Shrimp dips are sure to disappear quickly.

The meatball recipe can also be doubled and made even easier by using the all-ready prepared frozen meatballs straight from the grocer's meat case. The cranberry sauce that coats them is one of the best - deliciously sweet and tangy, without being overpowering

The Artichoke and Braunschweiger Dip recipes are a little more unconventional but delicious nonetheless if you are a fan of artichokes and braunschweiger. The Artichoke Dip is cheesy and delicious served piping hot and the braunschweiger resembles a creamy liver pate, with its delicately seasoned taste.

With the great variety previewed, there should be several that deliver to everyone's satisfaction.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

Easy Taco-Avocado Dip

1 can refried beans

1 8 oz. carton avocado dip

1 8 oz. carton sour cream

1 package taco seasoning

2 cups grated cheese (Cheddar or blend)

1 tomato diced

Sliced black olives

Layer can of refried beans on large serving plate. Spread avocado dip over beans. Mix sour cream with taco seasoning and spread over avocado layer. Cover with grated cheese and garnish with tomatoes and olives. Serve with nacho chips.

Chipped Beef Dip

2 ( 8 ounce) packages cream cheese

1 (12 ounce) sour cream

1 (8 ounce) package of thin sliced chipped beef cut into squares

Dash of garlic powder

Dash of onion salt

Heat all ingredients together in small cocktail size crock-pot. Excellent served with bagel bites (any flavor bagels cut up in bite size pieces for dipping).

Savory Shrimp Dip

8 ounce carton of sour cream

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

3 Tbsp. chili sauce

1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion.

1 can shrimp rinsed and thoroughly drained

Mix all ingredients together and let them blend for several hours in the refrigerator. The dip is even better the next day. I like to serve this with Wheat Thins, but it is also good with vegetables, other crackers and chips.

Hot Cheese Dip

1 lb. ground beef, browned and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper

1 small can mild chopped green chilies

2 lbs. Velveeta Cheese

1 cup salsa of your choice

Heat all together and serve with nacho chips. Works great in a crock pot.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

2 lbs. hamburger

1 cup crushed corn flakes

1 Tbsp. parsley

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/3 cup catsup

2 Tbsp. onion soup mix

Mix well and form into meatballs. Place balls in cake pan.


1 can jellied cranberry sauce

12 oz. catsup

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix together, cook until smooth in microwave. Pour sauce over meatballs and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. (These can also be prepared ahead of time and placed in crock-pot for easy serving. If you use the pre-cooked meatballs, simply place them in the crock-pot and pour the sauce over them, let them heat through and they'll be ready to go.)

Artichoke Dip

1 can artichokes, well drained and chopped

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup real mayonnaise

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped green onion

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Mix all ingredients. Bake 30 minutes in small casserole or pie plate at 350 degrees. Serve hot with crackers.

Braunschweiger Spread

1 1/2 lb. braunschweiger

8 ounce carton sour cream

8 ounce package cream cheese

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic power

1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all together well and place in serving dish (covered) in refrigerator. Let blend for several hours or overnight. This gets better with age. Served chilled with crackers.