home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes

Appetizing Season

By Angie Sutton


I received my first holiday greeting card the day after Thanksgiving! Tucked inside was a little invite to a gathering of folks at our friend's home to celebrate the kick-off of the season. Attendees are invited to bring a dish to share.

The party is on a Friday evening at 6pm so I begin to consider what type of dish I can make the evening before that will transport well, be easy for attendees to eat sans silverware and taste delicious! Three recipes came to mind so of course, all three got dressed up and went to the party!

Mini Meatball Subcakes


1 can refrigerated crescent dough sheet
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
12 frozen meatballs, 1/2 oz. or 1 oz. type
1 1/4 c. spaghetti sauce


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 muffin pan cups with cooking spray.

2. Remove dough from can and spread into a rectangle. Use a pizza cutter to cut dough into 12 equal-sized squares. Press squares into the bottom of the muffin pan cups.

3. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, seasoning and 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese. Divide the mixture evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Spread on the bottom with a spoon.

4. Place a meatball on top of the cheese mixture. Spoon 2 tablespoons of spaghetti sauce onto the top of each meatball. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.

5. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Apron Strings Tips: If you have the regular crescent rolls, press the edges together to form a large rectangle roughly 8"x18" before you cut it. The taste can vary based on the type of frozen meatballs you purchase and you can play around a bit with the flavor of spaghetti sauce you select. These are best eaten after you bake them.

Party Veggie Pizza


1 can refrigerated crescent dough sheet
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp. dill weed
2/3 c. real mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 packet dry ranch seasoning (1 1/2 Tbsp.)
1/2 c. each broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green or red peppers, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray.

2. Remove dough from can and spread into a rectangle on the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove crust from oven to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

3. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, dry ranch dressing, garlic salt and dill weed. Evenly spread the mixture on the cooled crust.

4. Chop veggies in smaller pieces and lightly press them into the cream cheese. Chill for at least one hour.

Apron Strings Tip: Apron Strings Notes: I like to cut my crust prior to adding the veggies. Simply lift out of the pan by the parchment paper edges, move to a cutting board and use a pizza cutter to cut bite-sized pieces. For a party platter, I chop my veggies smaller and poke a toothpick in each piece. This recipe is easy to double on a larger baking sheet.

Stuffed Baguette


Baguette, about 14 inches long
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 Tbsp. dry ranch seasoning
2 oz. chopped black olives, drained
2 Tbsp. diced jalapeno peppers
1 small green or red pepper, diced
1/3 c. cheddar cheese, shredded

1. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except baguette. Mix well.

2. Slice of both ends of the baguette. Using a long, thin bread knife , work from both ends to hollow the baguette out. Leave 1/4" of the crust in place.

3. Working from both ends of the hollowed out baguette, stuff the baguette with the cheese mixture. Make sure that the cavity is completed filled by tapping it firmly against a cutting board or using a spatula handle to tap it in.

4. Wrap the stuffed baguette in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours. Before serving, cut into 1" diameter wheels.

Apron Strings Tips: Short cut this recipe by purchasing pre-made cheese fillings that come in a variety of flavors. I love how portable this is for guests to eat!

Apron Strings Tips--Stocking Stuffer Ideas

You've done your Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday shopping for the big items on your list. Now it's time to concentrate on the stocking stuffers! As a child I looked forward to Christmas morning and opening stockings to discover what little treasures were hidden and nestled in there! I could always count on the cardboard storybook that contained rolls of flavorful candy! You don't need to spend a lot on stocking stuffers, just be creative!


Themed toothbrush
Mini play dough cans
Stuffed animals
Bathtub toys
Bathtub crayons
Glow stick bracelets
Hair accessories
Hair brush
Character band-aids
Sidewalk chalk
Silly straws
Finger puppets
Small books
Fruit snack packs


Nail polish
Fun socks
Bubble Gum
Head bands
Doodle book
Word find book
Bracelet bands
Model Magic
Decorative duct tape
Racing cars
Super bounce balls
Book mark
Fling-shot flying monkey
Stamp pad and stamps
Play figurines

Teenagers and College-Age

Portable USB charger
Lip gloss or lip balm
Tech-friendly Gloves
Mini flashlight
Key chain
Fast food gift card
Pez dispenser
Ear buds
Flash drive
Colorful post-it notes
Hothands Hand Warmers
App store gift card
Gas gift card
Phone case
Phone screen protector
Gel pens
Movie tickets
Car front license plate
Car window decals
Car air fresheners
Insulated water bottle
Gourmet hot cocoa
Beef jerky
Sports team t-shirt
Hair products


Hand cream
Hand sanitizers
Luggage tags
Deck of playing cards
Gardening gloves
Snack bag clips
Body wash
Refrigerator clip magnets
$5 coffee shop gift card
Pretty pot holder
Bungee cords
Anything Royals
Salt and pepper grill set
Ear plugs
Measuring spoons
Tide To-Go Pen
Anti-stress face mask
Manicure set
Barbecue sauce
Meat thermometer
Mini cookbooks
Gourmet mixes
Herbs, spices or seasonings
Mini screw driver
Travel mug
Tire pressure gauge

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