'Tis the Season for Great Taste
Easy economical appetizers for holiday entertaining
'Tis the season of thankfulness and giving. Most want to give the best they can, despite challenging economic times. It’s the perfect time to give from the heart and cook up something special to share with family and friends. This year, tie on an apron, fire up the stove and cook with purpose and a little festive flair.
"This is the season when we focus on what matters most to us—our family and friends," says Chef Michael Ollier, Certified Angus Beef ® brand. " There is no better way to celebrate than to gather for an evening of fine food and fun. And that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. Make this year meaningful and memorable with great recipes, quality ingredients and a little smart shopping."
Consumers are becoming more efficient in their home economics. They can be frugal at the check-out line but don’t like to sacrifice quality. Start with premium products, like the Certified Angus Beef ® brand to guarantee a mouthwatering meal, Ollier shares. Choose cuts on special, pick less popular cuts, and know how to cook them to stretch your dollar without compromising your efforts for the family dinner table.
Whether you’re going to Grandma’s to join a clan of dozens or hosting friends for an elegant evening, try these three hearty appetizers to spice up the holiday spread.
Spicy Steak Satays with Pumpkin Aioli
Skewered meat is popular and simple. Try this surprisingly easy recipe using pumpkin puree and cayenne for a stick with a kick. To get a grill-like experience, try a stovetop grill pan.
- 1 pound Certified Angus Beef ® top sirloin, cut across the grain into 12 thin strips
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider
- Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
- Thread each steak strip onto skewers. Season steak with salt and cayenne pepper; grill to desired doneness.
- Make pumpkin aioli by whisking together mayonnaise, pumpkin purée, pumpkin spice and apple cider until smooth.
- Serve skewers with aioli.
*Chef’s Note: If using wooden skewers, soak in water overnight.
To bring international flair to your fête, here’s an easy way to create empanadas that taste like those from street vendors in Argentina. An authentic flavor combination of beef, cumin and spices meets convenience with store-bought pizza dough.
- 1 pound Certified Angus Beef ® top sirloin or tri-tip steak, diced in 1/8” pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 large onion, diced (2 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (4-ounce) can green chilies
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro or flat leaf Italian parsley
- 2 (11-ounce) tubes raw pizza dough, thin crust
- 1/4 cup flour, for work surface
- 4-inch cookie cutter (large drinking cup works well too)
- In a large sauté pan sear beef in a single layer with olive oil on medium high heat. Sear in batches to avoid steaming, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
- Add butter and onion to pan; simmer for 3 minutes until onions become transparent. Add garlic, cumin, cumin seeds, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Simmer an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
- Combine beef with onion mixture. Stir in green chilies and cilantro. Refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into 2 large rectangles; dust with flour as needed. Cut eight 4-inch circles from each half.
- Put 1/3 cup of empanada mixture in each half-circle. Use water on the edge as needs to seal. Place on a sheet tray. Bake approximately 25 minutes until golden brown.
Burgers are always a hit. Make them mini, and they’re called sliders. Put together a classic holiday flavor combination like these and call them gone.
- 1 1/2 pounds Certified Angus Beef ® ground chuck
- 1 head bibb lettuce, washed and separated
- 1 small red onion, sliced in rings
- 1/4 cup whole cranberry jelly
- 12 mini knot rolls or mini burger buns, sliced in half
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Form ground chuck into twelve 2-ounce patties. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Grill or pan-sear on each side, cooking thoroughly (160°F internal temperature).
- Build burgers by layering lettuce, red onion, patty and jelly on a bun. Skewer with a toothpick frill for easy handling.
Chef’s note: Mini burgers, or "sliders," are all the rage and for good reason. If you prefer a larger burger, simply make four 6-ounce patties and use regular-sized buns. Either way, they pack big satisfaction in every bite!
This holiday season, gather more often. Give more, too, with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand. But be forewarned; you’ll need to keep these recipes handy. Your friends and family will be asking for them year after year.