This post is sponsored by Real California Milk but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
The holidays are right around the corner and that means holiday entertaining. I don't know about you but while I love hosting people at my house I don't love the time and effort it takes to make all the food to go along with entertaining. That's why I'm sharing 3 Easy Holiday Appetizer Recipes using Real California Cheese.
Why use Real California Cheese? Besides the fact that cheese is one of my favorite foods, I like supporting dairy families and California dairies are 99% family owned and operated! How cool is that? Plus there is such a variety of Real California specialty and Hispanic-style cheeses that can bring something special to my holiday table. So the next time you are in the store make sure you look for the Real California Milk seal on all of your cheese packages.
Now instead of simply sharing one creative and complicated recipe for the holiday I decided I wanted to share 3 easy holiday recipes. No one has time around the holidays to spend hours in the kitchen plus I think hosting a party with appetizers, drinks, and desserts is totally the way to go. Family and friends enjoy munching on a few good snacks while mingling with people they haven't seen much during the year.
The three recipes I'm sharing today are Pan Fried Panela with Salsa, Marinated Mozzarella Cheese, and Antipasto Skewers. All three of these recipes are super simply to make, are easy to enjoy while walking around, and they are great for holiday entertaining. It's easy to elevate holiday entertaining with wholesome, flavorful California cheeses found in all three of these appetizers.
Let's talk about the Marinated Mozzarella first. I have to admit that this is a family favorite. I often make a jar of this marinated cheese and keep it in the refrigerator for us to snack on. My husband, my toddler, and I all enjoy munching on it because it's so flavorful and is a filling snack. Plus it's such a fun appetizer during the holidays. I mean, who wouldn't enjoy mozzarella cheese marinated along with sun dried tomatoes, spices, and garlic?
- 1 lb. Real California Milk mozzarella cheese cut into 1 inch cubes
- ½ c. sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T. fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 T. fresh oregano, minced
- 2 t. Italian seasoning
- 1 t. black pepper
- 2 t. sea salt
- ¼ t. red pepper flakes
- 1 c. olive oil
- Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl and toss to combine.
- Place the ingredients in a large mason jar.
- Pour olive oil over top of the cheese and spices and cover.
- Refrigerate for at least 24 hours turning the jar upside down every few hours.
- Serve with fun wooden picks or with crackers and bread.
How good does this Marinated Mozzarella sound? I often make extra whenever I'm having a party just so we can have some to snack on while we are preparing for the party or to enjoy the next day. It always seems to disappear quickly and sometimes we wouldn't get any otherwise!
Another delicious holiday appetizer is Antipasto Skewers. These are easy to make and you can even get the kids involved in making these since all you have to do is set up a station with ingredients lined up and kids (and adults) can stick one of each ingredient on a skewer and put on a plate to serve. While you can use plain mozzarella cheese in this recipe, I really like using the Marinated Mozzarella from the recipe above. It adds a little something extra to this appetizer.
While you can use a variety of ingredients for the Antipasto Skewers I'm going to share the recipe that I like to use. Keep in mind you can use green or black olives, salami, pepperoni, or Italian ham, and you can add in tortellini or leave it out. It's really up to your taste and what you think your guests will enjoy at the holidays.
- ½ lb. Real California Milk Mozzarella Cheese, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 24 pieces of pepperoni
- 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, cut into strips
- 24 basil leaves
- ½ lb. tortellini, cooked
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- 24 olives (green or black)
- ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T. balsamic vinegar
- 2 t. Italian seasoning
- Line up the cheese, pepperoni, artichoke hearts, red peppers, basil leaves, tortellini, cherry tomatoes and olives in piles on a cutting board.
- Take a skewer and place the ingredients on it starting with the cheese and ending with the olive.
- Set all 24 skewers on a platter. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- In a small mason jar combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and Italian seasonings. Cover and shake well.
- When ready to serve remove the platter from the refrigerator and shake the olive oil mixture in the mason jar.
- Drizzle the olive oil mixture over top of the skewers and serve.
The last recipe I'm sharing is a hot appetizer because while cold appetizers are easy to make and eat, sometimes it's nice to have a hot appetizer during the holidays whenever it's cold outside. That's where this Pan Fried Panela Cheese with Salsa recipe comes in.
Panela Cheese is a fresh, curd style cheese that is tasty served crumbled over top of salads or served hot along with salsa or a compote. I like pan frying this cheese in slices and then topping it with salsa. While I prefer to use homemade salsa, when I'm making it for a party I use my favorite jarred salsa on top. Then I serve it on little plates along with tortilla chips.
- 10 oz. Real California Milk Panela cheese, cut into ½ inch slices
- 2 T. olive oil
- black pepper and salt
- ½ c. medium heat salsa
- 2 c. tortilla chips
- Heat a saute pan to medium high heat.
- Rub each of the slices of cheese with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the slices in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until it is just heated through.
- Remove each slice and put 2 on each plate and top each cheese slice with a tablespoon of salsa.
- Serve with a handful of tortilla chips.
So after seeing all of these yummy and easy holiday appetizer recipes who is ready to have a party? Don't forget to look for the Real California Milk seal whenever you are shopping at your local market so you can buy the very best cheese. California dairy means real food from real people and that's real important to me.
Want to find Real California Milk products so you can make these delicious holiday appetizer recipes? Check out this store locator for a store near you!