Fourth of July is the perfect time of year to show off your best hosting skills. The weather is finally warm enough to gather your friends and family outside and the days are long enough to keep the party going well into the night!
The most important part of any Fourth of July celebration, of course, is the food.
Sure, you’re going to have one of those kooky cakes that looks like an American flag and you’ll obviously be grilling some delicious Brats and maybe even some burgers. But what really matters is your appetizers! They’re the first thing people eat when they come over and depending on how many libations you’ll be serving, probably the dishes they’ll remember most.
Here are Papa Cantella’s favorite Fourth of July appetizer recipes for you to try this year:
- 1/2 pound of fresh Italian sausage (removed from casings)
- 1/4 cup of onion (chopped)
- 11/2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 7 tablespoons of butter
- 3/4 pound of fresh mushrooms (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 teaspoon of crushed or chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup of Italian parsley (chopped)
- 14 slices of baguette style bread (cut into 1-inch thick slices)
In a medium-sized frying pan, cook the sausage, onion, and garlic in the olive oil and one tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat for ten to twelve minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage.
In another pan, melt three tablespoons of butter, and sauté the mushrooms for six to eight minutes. When the mushrooms are finished, add them back to the sausage and onions with the lemon juice, orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. (Save this pan; you’ll need it again in a few more minutes!)
Reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Stir in the parsley and keep warm. Melt the remaining butter in the pan you saved. Preheat the broiler. Place the rack six inches from heat source. Lightly dip the bread slices in the butter, one side only. Place the bread slices in the broiler, buttered side up, and broil until the tops begin to toast. Remove the bread slices from the broiler and spoon the hot sausage and mushrooms on the toasts. Let cool for a minute or two and serve warm. These can stay at room temp for up to an hour!
- 3 pounds of fresh Italian sausage links
- 1 10-ounce jar of grape jelly
- 2 10-ounce bottles of chili sauce
Broil the sausages for about eight to ten minutes over medium heat, turning once only, and remove them just before they are done. Cut the sausages into one-fourth to one-half inch bite-sized pieces.
Mix the jar of grape jelly and the two bottles of chili sauce in a two quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add the sausage to the grape jelly and chili sauce mixture and let simmer for about fifteen minutes. Serve this wonderful creation in a crock-pot or other warming container and have toothpicks available for convenience.
- ½ pound of fresh Italian sausage (removed from the casings)
- 1¼ cups of onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of green bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 1 pound of fresh mushrooms (medium-sized) (save the caps, remove the stems & chop them finely)
- 1 teaspoon of salt – freshly ground black pepper
- 1 3 ounce package of cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons of butter (melted)
- ¼ cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs – fresh parsley (for garnish)
In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion in the olive oil over medium heat for five to six minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add chopped onion, bell pepper, mushroom stems, salt, and pepper to taste. Continue to cook the mixture for six or seven more minutes or until the onion and bell pepper are tender. Turn off the heat and stir the cream cheese into the mixture.
Fill the mushroom caps with the sausage mixture, approximately one teaspoon each. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the butter and the breadcrumbs. (Use a teaspoon, if necessary, to help keep the mixture from falling out of the mushroom cap as you turn it over into the breadcrumbs.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press the stuffed mushroom caps firmly into the buttered breadcrumbs. Put two tablespoons of water into a nine inch by thirteen-inch glass baking dish. Place the mushroom caps in the dish, breaded sides up. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are browned. Sprinkle on fresh parsley and serve.