Thanksgiving Recipe Series #1- Appetizers

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and since this holiday is all about the food, I’m going to provide you with a complete recipe series from appetizers to desserts that is sure to please everyone in your family.  Whether you’re hosting dinner at your house or you’ve been asked to bring a dish over to someone else’s home, you’re sure to find something in this blog series that will work for you.  Be sure to check out up until Thanksgiving to collect all of the recipes.  And who knows, you might even cook up a new family favorite.

Personally, I like to keep my Thanksgiving appetizers simple and light since we’re about to gorge ourselves on a huge meal.  I’ll set out a veggie tray with dip, mixed nuts, and a cheese plate with crackers.  I’ll maybe make once appetizer that is more substantial. My family also enjoys some wine or hot cider with their appetizers.  But if you’re out to impress your guests or you want to bring something special as a guest at someone else’s house, try one of the recipes below.

One of my family’s favorite appetizers is Pillsbury’s Brie and Cranberry Pizza.  Its super easy to make, very inexpensive, and bakes up in just a few minutes so you can easily serve it warm to your guests.  It’s equally as delicious served at room temperature if you’re taking it to someone else’s house.  You can also bake it up once you arrive at your destination.  Just make sure you discuss that with your host in advance so they’re prepared to leave you room in the oven.

Pillsbury’s Brie & Cranberry Pizza

Prep time: 10 min. Total time: 35 min. Servings: 16


1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls

1 (8-oz.) package Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

¾ cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce (or the jelly kind if you prefer)

½ cup chopped pecans (walnuts will work too, or mix them if you like)


1. Heat oven to 425°F.  Lightly oil 12-inch pizza pan or 13×9-inch pan with olive or vegetable oil. Unroll dough; separate into triangles. Place triangles in oiled pan with tips toward center. Press out dough with hands (great step to let the kids help with).  Bake at 425°F. for 5 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown.

2. Remove crust from oven.  Sprinkle cheese over partially baked crust.  Place cranberry sauce in small bowl; stir to break up pieces. Spoon cranberry sauce by teaspoonfuls evenly over cheese. Sprinkle with pecans.

3. Return to oven; bake an additional 6 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares.

If you’re looking to make something a little more elegant, try Pear Mushroom Strudel.  Guests may raise their eyebrows when you tell them the ingredients in this special appetizer, but after one taste, they’ll be raising their hands for the recipe!

Pear Mushroom Strudel

Prep time: 45 min. Baking time: 20 min. Yield: 2 strudels (12 slices each). Servings: 24


1 cup finely chopped mushrooms

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup butter, divided

2 small pears, peeled and thinly sliced

3/4 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

1/3 cup Diamond of California Sliced Almonds

1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

10 sheets phyllo dough (14 inches x 9 inches)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. In a large skillet, cook mushrooms and onion in 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Stir in pears; cook 3 minutes longer. Remove from the heat; stir in the Gruyere, almonds, mustard, salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.

2. Melt remaining butter. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface; brush evenly with butter. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese. Layer with four more sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter and sprinkling with cheese. (Keep remaining phyllo dough covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.)

3. Spread half of the pear mixture in a 2-in.-wide strip along a short side of dough. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the pear side; pinch seams to seal. Brush with butter. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan.

4. Repeat with remaining phyllo, butter, Parmesan cheese and pear mixture.

5. Bake at 375° for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut each strudel into 12 slices.

I hope you enjoy trying out these new recipes.  Next up on the Bensalem Comfort Thanksgiving Recipe Series are soups and salads.  Stay tuned!

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