Many people forget about appetizers for their holiday parties so here are some of my favorites. The crowd pleasers are: Holiday Puffs which can be made many ways, elegant Stuffed Shrimp (an old standby), Artichoke Dip (my favorite), Supreme Asparagus Rolls, and last but not least Smoked Oyster Roll. These are so easy and delicious. Enjoy!


Holiday Puffs


1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (1/2 of 17 1/4 oz. package)


2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil


Toppings:


Grated Parmesan cheese, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried dill weed, dried basil, paprika, drained capers, green olive slices, all sorts of cheeses of your choice, top with salmon, shrimp or any thinly sliced meat.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll pastry on lightly floured surface to 13 by 13 inch square. Cut into small biscuit size, using biscuit cutters. Place on ungreased baking sheets. (I use a tiny bit of cooking spray.)


Brush cutouts lightly with oil. Place your choice of toppings on cutouts. Bake 6 to 7 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 dozen appetizers. They look fussy and time consuming but take only minutes to prepare. So many toppings, let your imagination be the guide! Can cut into squares (saves pastry).


Stuffed Shrimp


2 tablespoons Roquefort or bleu cheese, softened


1 oz. cream cheese, softened


1 tablespoon mayonnaise or salad dressing


1/2 teaspoon leaf thyme, crushed


1/2 teaspoon paprika


1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


1 pound cooked shrimp, about 15 to 16 large shrimp


1/4 cup snipped parsley


Blend softened cheeses with mayonnaise, thyme, paprika and lemon juice. Cut shrimp in half lengthwise and place 1/2 teaspoon filling between halves. Dip edge in parsley. Refrigerate about 30 minutes to set cheese.


Tip: For a petite appetizer, sandwich two small cooked shrimp together with 1/2 teaspoon filling between them. About 40 small shrimp. This elegant appetizer may be prepared ahead and refrigerated up to 12 hours before serving.


Artichoke Dip


1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, squeezed dry and chopped


1 cup mayonnaise


8 slices bacon, fried and crumbled


1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


1 tablespoon pimento, squeezed dry between paper towels


Mix all ingredients together and place in an oven proof 8 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. This whips up quickly and has a great flavor. Serve with Triscuits. Serve hot.


Supreme Asparagus Rolls


25 fresh asparagus spears


Salt to taste


25 thin slices white bread


8 oz. cream cheese, softened


3 oz. bleu cheese, softened


1 egg


3 sticks butter or margarine, melted


In a large skillet or kettle, bring enough water to boil to barely cover asparagus. Trim the spears to the same length as the bread slices and place in the skillet. Sprinkle with salt and cover tightly. Boil gently until lower parts of the stalks are barely fork tender, about 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the age of asparagus. Drain immediately and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Remove crusts from the bread and flatten the slices with a rolling pin. Combine cheeses and egg in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until blended. Spread mixture evenly over the bread slices. Place an asparagus spear on the edge of each one and roll up.


Dip in melted butter to coat all sides. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet and chill for 24 hours or freeze until ready to bake. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the rolls into thirds and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.


Bake the frozen rolls without thawing for 15 minutes or until brown. Makes 75 or just 25 uncut.


Remember they must be made in advance, both the appearance and the taste are superb.


Smoked Oyster Roll


2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese


2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing


2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


1/2 medium onion, grated (or chopped very fine)


1 clove garlic, minced


2 (3.6 oz. each) cans smoked oysters


Parsley


Toast rounds or Triscuits


Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, Worcestershire, onion and garlic. Spread out flat on a piece of foil. Spread chopped oysters over cream mixture. Roll up carefully using a spatula. Chill at least 24 hours. Do not freeze. Garnish with parsley. Slice and serve on toast rounds or other crackers. Enjoy.