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December 26, 2013

The Perfect Pantry's top 12 party appetizers for New Year's Eve

12 favorite appetizers for New Year's Eve (The Perfect Pantry).

Are you ready for New Year's Eve? Whether you're hosting a celebration for many, or an intimate affair for two, all you really need is an assortment of some favorite appetizers, the more variety the merrier, and plenty of bubbly. Add a few streamers or noisemakers, and mood music, and welcome, 2014!

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December 22, 2013

Sweet Rhode Island coffee-dunked turkey appetizer meatballs recipe (slow cooker)

Sweet coffee (decaf!) meatballs, made in the slow cooker. (The Perfect Pantry)

Did you grow up in a meatball house? In the house where I grew up, there were two kinds of meatballs: big red ones, cooked in sauce made with a packet of Spatini, and small sweet-and-sour ones, made by my dad in nothing smaller than five-pound batches. Never did we have anything approaching the sheer nirvana of these sweet Rhode Island coffee-dunked turkey appetizer meatballs. This recipe, from my e-book A Flock of Meatballs: Easy turkey recipes with around-the-world flavors, pretty much requires that you buy a bottle of real Rhode Island coffe syrup (my favorite local product, hands down, is Dave's All-Natural Decaf Coffee Syrup), used to make Rhode Island's official state drink, coffee milk. You can substitute strong brewed decaf coffee plus molasses, and it will be good, though not authentically Rhody. These meatballs freeze so well that you might want to double the quantity, and stash some for last-minute holiday appetizers.

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December 19, 2013

Slow cooker vegan black bean and sweet potato stew recipe {vegan, gluten-free}

Gorgeous black bean and sweet potato stew, vegan & gluten-free.

Around the holidays, we're never quite sure who will drop in, or when, or how long they might stay. One thing we do know is that everyone must be fed, and fed in holiday style. Vegetarians and vegans merit special attention in our household, because there are so many of them, and I always have a batch of this vegan black bean and sweet potato stew made ahead and stashed in the freezer. Like all stews, this one tastes better when made a bit ahead, and the slow cooker does most of the work, so it's perfect for holiday entertaining. The vibrant colors and bright citrus-accented flavors appeal to all ages, and make this stew a great side dish or main course. I like to serve it with wedges of polenta, but it would be great over rice or noodles, too.

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December 17, 2013

Recipe for baked samosa wontons with potato, pea and broccoli filling {vegetarian}

Baked samosa wontons filled with potatoes, peas and broccoli (The Perfect Pantry).

You've heard the saying, You never get a second chance to make a first impression. No wonder I'm always stressed when I have to prepare appetizers. Apps create excitement and anticipation, as they set the stage -- with or without drinks -- for the occasion to follow. When I serve the same old same old dips and chips, my guests are probably wondering if they're in for a ho-hum dinner. The solution to the pre-dinner blahs is a repertoire of easy, yet impressive, appetizers, like these samosa wontons. The dip is store-bought mango chutney, and the wontons are baked, not fried, so nobody starts the meal with a mouth full of grease. The traditional mashed potato and pea filling gets a kick from Madras (yellow) curry paste, which is easy to find in the Indian foods aisle of many supermarkets. You can make the filling ahead and refrigerate it. Or, make and bake the wontons ahead, and freeze them to reheat at party time. Either way, these apps, easy on the cook, will surely be a hit for your holiday entertaining.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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