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Caribbean Cooking: You Do NOT Have to be a Great Cook

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A GREAT COOK TO CREATE DECADENT APPETIZERS & DESSERTS!

Dates:  It’s amazing what you can do with them!

BACON DATE ROLLUPS

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

9 slices of bacon
27 pitted dates

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Wrap each piece of bacon around a date, secure with a toothpick. Put on baking tray and cook until bacon is crispy, about 15 minutes. Serve.

PARMESAN STUFFED DATES

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4

Chunk of Parmesan, cut in slivers
18 pitted dates (fresh if possible)
Minced parsley

Cut a slit in the date. Add a generous protruding sliver of cheese and present on a decorative platter. Sprinkle with minced parsley for color.

CARNIVAL DATE BARS

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Microwave: 3 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
Serves: Many

8 dates, pitted, and chopped
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut
1/2 cup butter
1-1/2 tsp sugar
2-1/2 cups uncooked instant oats
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place dates and flour in bowl and toss to coat. Bring water to a boil and pour over dates. Add coconut, butter, sugar; stir well. Microwave on high for 2 0r 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring at 1 minute intervals. Add oats and vanilla to mixture. Spray 9”x9” baking dish with nonstick spray. Press entire mixture into the dish. Cover and refrigerate until set. Cut in pieces.

Soup de Jour:

Serve your favorite soup in shot glasses. Or, if no time to cook, buy a readymade creamy-style soup; heat and pour in the shot glasses or small martini glasses, top with a dollop of sour cream, finely chopped green onions, minced parsley, or whatever else you may think of. Be creative!

Hot dogs:  imagine that – woof!

TANGY DOGS

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 – 6

1 (16 oz) pkg. chicken frankfurters
8 oz. grape jelly
6 oz spicy hot mustard

Cut each frankfurter into bite size pieces. Combine frankfurters, jelly and mustard in a medium size saucepan. Cook over low heat until “dogs” are heated through. Stir frequently. Pour into an attractive bowl. Serve with toothpicks.

ENDIVE DIPPERS

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

2 –3 heads endive
1 pkg soft herb cheese or Boursin
Alfalfa sprouts, chopped chives or parsley

Remove ends of endive and discard outer leaves. Rinse and dry leaves. Place a teaspoon of cheese on the square end of each leaf and top with a few sprouts, chives or parsley. On a serving platter arrange leaves like spikes in a bicycle wheel, with extra cheese in center of plate.

Alternative: Fill the base of each leaf with a tablespoon of crumbled blue cheese, toasted walnut pieces, and a drizzle of honey.

SEXY SHRIMP

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

1 lb shrimp (about 24) shelled with tails on
Butter
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 avocados, peeled and chopped in bite size chunks
1 lemon, cut in half

Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add garlic and shrimp. Sauté a couple of minutes on each side; remove as soon as they turn pink. Put shrimp and piece of avocado on toothpick; squeeze lemon juice over each. Serve.

CREAM CHEESE AND CRAB

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup horseradish
1 (6-1/2 oz) can white crab meat
Lemon wedges
1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

Spread cheese on platter. Cream cheese can be spread in shapes – anchor, fish, sailboat, etc. Mix ketchup and horseradish together then spread mixture on cream cheese. Cover with crabmeat and sprinkle with a little lemon juice. Sprinkle outside of plate with parsley. Surround with your favorite crackers.

GIANT CROISSANTS

Warm, split and fill with prosciutto and brie. Slice and serve with a smile!!

NO BAKE CHEESECAKE

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 2 to 3 hours
Serves: 8 or more

16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 ready-made Graham cracker crust

Put cream cheese, lemon juice, and sweetened condensed milk in a mixing bowl. Beat with mixer or wooden spoon until there are no lumps. Spoon mixture into Graham cracker crust and chill at least 2 hours. Cut into bite-size pieces and serve.

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