Easy Party Appetizers

For a fantastic party, appetizers are a must.

Becky Low with the Utah Dairy Council shares three easy appetizers.

Mini 7-Layer Bean Dip
1 pound lean ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 bottle salsa
1 can (15-oz) refried beans
2 avocados
1 package guacamole mix
1 carton sour cream
1-2 tomatoes chopped
1 cup shredded cheeses
1 small can chopped olives, drained
1 bunch green onions, sliced
tortilla chips or pretzel sticks

Brown ground beef until cooked through, drain excess fat. Add half the taco seasoning mix (or to taste) and approximately ¼-½ cup salsa; mix well. Add remaining taco seasoning (or to taste) to refried beans and enough salsa or water to make dipping consistency. Using avocados and guacamole mix, prepare guacamole.

To create layers in mini cups spoon refried beans in a pastry bag or ziploc bag, snip a small hole in bottom of bag; pipe a layer of beans in the bottom of the cup; tamp container on counter to settle. Repeat with layer of guacamole and a layer of sour cream. Spoon on a layer of ground beef; repeat process with a layer of salsa. Top with chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, chopped olives and green onions. Serve with a tortilla chip on top and extra chips to the side. (Depending on size of container, you may wish to serve dip with a spoon for scooping dip onto chips.

Caeser Salad Cocktail
6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan Cheese
6 cups packed chopped romaine lettuce
12 small cherry tomatoes
6 pickled pearl onions
6 tablespoons Classic Caesar salad dressing

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon cheese into 6 mounds on a non-stick baking sheet (spray with non-stick spray, or use parchment paper). Flatten slightly. Bake 4-5 minutes; carefuly turn over and bake 1-2 minutes longer. Cool

Place lettuce in 6 (8-oz) glasses. Thread tomato, onion, tomato onto a decorative toothpick and place on each glass. Stand Parmesan crisp up in glass; drizzle salad with a little salad dressing.

Spicy Bacon Chicken Bites
2-3 tablespoons hot chili sauce (more or less to taste)
⅓-½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 pound bacon
½-1 cup brown sugar

Whisk together chili sauce (Sriracha, Tabasco or Buffalo Wing Sauce); place marinade in ziploc bag. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces (approximately 1-inch); place pieces in marinade sauce and refrigerate 1-24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut bacon slices into thirds. Place ⅓-cup brown sugar in a small bowl. Remove chicken bites from marinade, wrap a piece of bacon around each bite and roll in brown sugar (if needed, secure bacon with a toothpick). Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Turn broiler on and broil 7-9 minutes, turning 2-3 times to brown all sides of bacon. Watch closely to prevent burning. NOTE: if toothpicks are used (I prefer not to use toothpicks) they will begin to char. Before serving, remove charred toothpicks and replace with a decorative toothpick.