I like cranberries. I’ll even eat the sauce with the can prints in it. Cranberry salsa doesn’t have any can prints in it and I found it to be delicious and versatile.

It goes very well with thanksgiving dinner and good as a side for turkey or chicken sandwiches or main dishes.

Most holiday dinners don’t need appetizers. However, ham-wrapped pickles, blue cheese bruschetta and bacon-wrapped mushrooms in barbecue sauce all lend themselves to celebrating. You have my barbecue sauce recipe, but it you run out of time before you run out of chores, buy your favorite at the grocery store. My favorite is KC Masterpiece, original.

I really like Italian salad dressing and have made several different versions. I think I found my favorite this time.

It is best made ahead and keeps well, properly refrigerated.

The recipe for blue cheese bruschetta suggested “chewy” bread. It seems French bread qualifies. Buy your favorite if you put your bread machine in your yard sale, but the recipe here is so easy, very tasty and it’s chewy.

Ham ‘n Dill Pinwheels

Medium size kosher dill pickles

Thinly sliced deli ham

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1 tablespoon ranch dressing mix powder, optional

Pat pickles dry. Mix cream cheese and dressing mix, if using. Spread evenly, as generously as you desire, on the ham slices. Wrap pickle in ham. Continue with the remaining ingredients. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Arrange on a serving plate. Cover and chill until serving time.

Blue Cheese and Honey Bruschetta

1 loaf French bread

Crumbled blue cheese

Honey, warmed slightly

Slice bread diagonally, if desired, about one-half inch thick. Toast until just golden. Sprinkle with blue cheese; drizzle with the warm honey. Serve immediately.

Optional, toast bread after adding cheese crumbles. Watch carefully!

Bacon-Wrapped Mushrooms in Barbecue Sauce

2 large mushrooms for each serving

Bacon slices

Barbecue sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with Pam. Wipe each mushroom clean with a damp towel. Remove stem. Wrap each one in a slice of bacon. Trim excess bacon. Place, Seam side down, in the prepared pan. Bake until mushrooms begin to brown and bacon is sizzling. Increase oven temp to 450 degrees. Bake until bacon is crisp. Watch carefully! It’s a short distance from crisp to burnt! Brush with barbecue sauce.

Italian Dressing

2 cups oil, of your choice

1 large clove of garlic, crushed

5 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon pepper

1 cup white wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well! Refrigerate. Shake well before serving. Best made several hours ahead.

Cranberry Salsa

2 cups chopped fresh cranberries

I pulsed in the food processor until medium chopped

I hand chopped the remaining ingredients

1 small apple, peeled and chopped

1 small pear, peeled and chopped

1 orange, peeled and sectioned

1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion

1-2 scallions, thinly sliced

1-2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large non-metal container. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

French Bread for the Bread Machine

3/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1 1/2 teaspoons yeast for the bread machine

Corn meal


Egg white and and tablespoon of water

Add ingredients to the bread machine according to the manufacturer ‘s direction. Set for dough. When the cycle is complete, spray a baking sheet with Pam. Sprinkle with meal.

On a floured surface, shape dough into a 12-15 inch long roll with tapered ends. Place, seam side down, on the prepared baking pan. Brush lightly with oil. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free place about 15-20 minutes or until almost double in size. Brush lightly with egg and water mixture; with a sharp knife, slash 3-4 shallow lines diagonally down the loaf. Bake until lightly golden, brush again with water. Bake until darker. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Miss Olivia Sipe, oliviasipe@msn.com, is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville.

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