by Dick Benson
Whether it is a holiday party or getting together with family and friends to watch your favorite teams play food is an important part of the program. So many people look forward to these get-together’s every year, so don’t let worries about food options spoil your fun! And it all starts with a tasty appetizer you can share with family and friends.
For a warm-up there are many packaged snacks that are gluten free. Crackers, chips, pretzels and nuts are easy to find and have many gluten-free varieties available. In addition, most cheese products, sausage varieties and many dips are also gluten-free. Read labels for hidden ingredients or to see if the product is produced in a gluten-free facility.
There’s nothing that brings people together over the holidays quite like good food!
One bonus tip- if you’re heading to someone else’s house to for a party, we recommend bringing two dishes that are big enough for sharing so that you’re covered and not hungry during the game. It also provides a little variety if you are not certain if someone else’s recipe is truly gluten-free. Even well-intentioned cooks who make a gluten-free dish may not realize the issue of contaminating the recipe unintentionally.
Some added tips to remember when you get to the party is watch serving utensils to make sure they are not being used in other dishes. And in our days of immunity support watch out for people eating from serving dishes or packages and using their hands to fill their plate- or reach into a chip bag to get some chips.
Here are a few of our favorite appetizer ideas you can share with your friends (even your non-gluten-free friends will enjoy these.
Appetizer # 1 Gluten-Free Crab Cakes
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried
- ¾ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- 1 pound (16-ounces) lump crab meat
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, mayonnaise, gluten-free Dijon mustard, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay, lemon juice, and salt.
- Add the parsley, gluten-free bread crumbs, and then the crab meat on top. With a rubber spatula or large spoon, very gently fold together the ingredients, so you do not break up the crab meat.
- Cover the crab cake mixture with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Spray a baking sheet with gluten-free cooking spray. I used olive oil spray.
- Using a ½ cup measuring cup, portion the crab cake mixture into 6 mounds on the baking sheet. If you are baking the crab cakes, do not flatten them. Use your hands or a spoon to compact each crab cake. If you are frying the crab cakes you will need to flatten them into patties.
For Baked Gluten-Free Crab Cakes:
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- For extra flavor and browning, lightly brush each crabcake with melted butter. This is an optional step, but I highly recommended it!
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and on top, or an internal temperature of 165°F.
For Fried Gluten-Free Crab Cakes:
- Add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I like peanut oil for frying) to a large nonstick pan or cast iron pan. Heat the oil on medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully place the crab cakes in the pan and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side, or an internal temperature of 165°F. Place the crab cakes on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
- Store the leftover crab cakes in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Reheat in the microwave or in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 325°F.
Appetizer # 2
Coconut Chicken Bites
Serve these gluten-free crunchy coconut chicken bites at your next party or make dinner a tropical delight. Oh, and don’t forget to dip these beauties in the orange sauce.
- 2 cups Honey Nut Chex cereal It is a gluten-free cereal
- 1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1×1-inch pieces nugget size
- 1 /2 cup of mayonnaise
- Orange marmalade dipping sauce
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
- Crush Honey Nut Chex cereal in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you can easily crush the cereal by placing in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.
- Add the crushed cereal and coconut to a large plastic storage bag. (Think Shake and Bake)
- Cut your chicken into nugget sized pieces. I find it easiest to cut the breasts in half and then cut the halves in half again. Then cut the quarter chicken breast pieces into nugget sized pieces.
- Put chicken into a bowl of mayonnaise and stir to coat the chicken evenly with mayonnaise.
- Place the mayonnaise-covered chicken pieces in the plastic storage bag of cereal and coconut mixture. Turn the plastic storage bag over and over until the chicken pieces are coated evenly.
- Place chicken on a large greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 18-20 to minutes; until the coating is light golden brown. All ovens are different, so please watch the chicken towards the end so the coconut does not burn.
- Serve with melted orange marmalade.
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