Smoked Sausage, Fig and Manchego Skewers plus Win a $100 Visa Gift Card from Johnsonville Sausage

by on September 29, 2014

sausage-fig-manchego-bites-top-edited-490 To me, appetizers are the ultimate comfort food. They’re a treat – party food, or something to share when my husband and I are out at a restaurant. With just a few bites through which to deliver something delicious and memorable – the flavors and textures of appetizers can be bolder, more intense, maybe even more decadent. Just a few amazing bites are all I’m after.

When I began building these Smoked Sausage, Fig and Manchego Skewers in my mind, I could already taste the sweet and the salty, the smoky and the buttery. I could envision the grill marks on the sausage, the glistening honey-topped fresh fig rounds and the pretty little rosemary skewers anchoring each stack.

Johnsonville Sausage, which has been making sausage since 1945, challenged me to create a fall comfort food dish and they’d love to give one lucky Panini Happy reader a $100 Visa gift cardRead on for my recipe and for details on how to enter to win the giveaway.johnsonville-smoked-sausage-edited-490When Johnsonville asked me to create a comfort dish, I found myself gravitating toward an appetizer. Not only would it be comfort food, it would also be fun to make the sausage kind of pretty – which isn’t always the easiest thing to do!I chose  Johnsonville Smoked Split Rope Sausage to bring smoky flavor to this appetizer. I could have easily sautéed the sausage on the stove, but it was far quicker and easier to grill the slices on the panini press – it takes just two minutes to get them heated through with nice-looking grill marks.

Unlike most other fully cooked sausages, Johnsonville uses absolutely no fillers for a juicy and firm texture and bite. Johnsonville also only uses premium cuts of pork for even better overall flavor. And I appreciate that their portion control packaging comes with two individually-sealed sausages so it’s easy for me to use just one and save the other for another day.

Speaking of saving for another day, by all means, when you try this recipe please hold onto the rosemary leaves that you remove to make the skewers. There are a myriad of uses for it – here are 30 suggestions from BuzzFeed!

** WIN A $100 VISA GIFT CARD FROM JOHNSONVILLE! **

To enter: Please leave a comment on this post, telling us your go-to favorite appetizer to serve at a gathering.

sausage-fig-manchego-bites-horiz-edited-490


Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 9/29-11/2.

Be sure to visit the Johnsonville Sausage brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:





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{ 162 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dee Park September 29, 2014 at 9:40 am

It might be lowbrow, but in a pinch, it’s pigs in a blanket for us!

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2 Madeline September 29, 2014 at 10:31 am

I love toasting baguette slices and topping them with ricotta, cherry tomatoes, balsalmic vinegar and pine nuts!

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3 Elsie September 29, 2014 at 10:46 am

In keeping with the figs from your recipe….if it’s fig season, I love fresh figs (from my tree), goat cheese and prosciutto!

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4 Kathy Strahs September 29, 2014 at 10:49 am

You’re so lucky to have a fig tree, Elsie! 🙂

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5 Kelly D September 29, 2014 at 10:51 am

I like to serve cheese and crackers at a gathering.

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6 Kelly+D September 29, 2014 at 10:53 am
7 Angela September 29, 2014 at 11:57 am

My go to? Simple cheese and meat plate 🙂

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8 Mami2jcn September 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm

I love scallops wrapped in bacon.

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9 Mami2jcn September 29, 2014 at 1:10 pm

tweet–https://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/516681398502318081

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10 Elena September 29, 2014 at 1:42 pm

I like caviar on a cracker

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11 Elena September 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm
12 Col September 29, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Wow, these look lovely. Such a gorgeous presentation without much prep! I like serving olives and lightly pickled veggies as an appetizer. (No contest entry.)

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13 Erin+R. September 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

Ooh, good one! I made pickled pearl onions for a little Christmas party a few years ago and they went fast. I’d forgotten.

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14 heather September 29, 2014 at 2:58 pm

My go to favorite thing to serve at a gathering is baby quiche.

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15 Nicole September 29, 2014 at 3:17 pm

My go to appetizer to serve is always shrimp. Everyone always eats it right up.

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16 Nicole September 29, 2014 at 3:18 pm
17 Lisa September 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I love to serve fruit skewers

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18 Claudia September 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm

I like Cilantro Mousse dip with crackers. Thank you!

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19 Claudia September 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm
20 Natalie September 29, 2014 at 6:11 pm

I love to serve mini spring rolls as an appetizer! It is healthy and delicious.

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21 Natalie September 29, 2014 at 6:13 pm
22 Carole Resnick September 30, 2014 at 3:48 am

Lovely giveaway and recipe.

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23 Carole+Resnick September 30, 2014 at 3:49 am

I posted on my blog cybercookscookingcorner.blogspot.com

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24 Tara September 30, 2014 at 5:00 am

I always have salsa and chips at every gathering! Love how you used fig here!

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25 Veronica September 30, 2014 at 5:10 am

I always have items on hand to make a quick antipasta platter.

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26 Lisa Brown September 30, 2014 at 5:16 am

i like to serve cream cheese wrapped in salami

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27 Lisa+Brown September 30, 2014 at 5:18 am
28 cathy moore September 30, 2014 at 5:21 am

I always end up making skyline dip – cream cheese, skyline cincinnati style chili and cheaddar cheese -all baked in the oven.

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29 Lsouth September 30, 2014 at 5:59 am

Another great addition to an appetizer party – these look so pretty, yet so easy to put together. Everyone loves a salty and sweet snack.

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30 Heather September 30, 2014 at 6:00 am

I love taking cooked sausage and mixing it with cream cheese. Then I fill a mini muffin tin with biscuit dough or crescent rolls and put about a teaspoon or so of the sausage cream cheese mixture on top of it and bake until brown and bubbly! I don’t know the name of these, I call them the sausage cream cheese things, but they are always a hit!

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31 Heather September 30, 2014 at 6:02 am
32 tracy September 30, 2014 at 6:09 am

a cheese and/or veggie platter!

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33 kristin September 30, 2014 at 6:56 am

boursin cheese with fig jam and triscuits is my easy, yet delicious go-to!

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34 Mary H September 30, 2014 at 6:59 am

Brie cheese, wrapped in puff pastry, baked, fig jam on top, after taken out of oven!

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35 Kathy Strahs September 30, 2014 at 7:05 am

That one is always a crowd pleaser! 🙂

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36 Ursula September 30, 2014 at 7:52 am

I love brie & fig jam or fresh slices with crackers, this recipe looks wonderful and I am going to try it. Thanks

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37 barbara n September 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

My go to favorite appetizer is spinach dip!

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38 Kim Monroe September 30, 2014 at 8:12 am

Can’t wait to try these! I never considered using the panini press to grill the sausage!

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39 Jacqui September 30, 2014 at 8:27 am

My go to appetizer are caprese skewers! So quick, easy and delicious!

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40 Rachel @ Bakerita September 30, 2014 at 8:46 am

My go-to is baked brie, but these little skewers are adorable and sound so delicious!!
Rachel @ Bakerita´s last blog post ..Banana Nut Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

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41 Kelly G. September 30, 2014 at 9:21 am

jalapeno popper dip or my mom always made ham and cheese crescent rollups and I love those.

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42 Erin R. September 30, 2014 at 10:59 am

Ooh, those do look nice. I’m sorry to report I nave never eaten a fresh fig! I need to find some!

I love serving sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Maybe it’s a childhood nostalgia thing, but people go wild over them.

Also, incidentally, I like that the Johnsonville package is slightly smaller than a pound. I always buy the smallest packages of meat in the bin because, really, you’ll never miss it in the finished dish and it’s good for us to moderate our meat consumption a bit, isn’t it? (Random. Sorry.)

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43 Karen September 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

My go-to appetizer is a white bean dip with pita chips. Quick, healthy, and I always have the ingredients around!

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44 Mary L. September 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

I love to pour Pic-a-peppa sauce over a block of cream cheese and serve it with crackers to cut off a dollop.

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45 Sharon September 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and italian sausage, wrapped in bacon.

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46 Sharon September 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm
47 K. Finn September 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

I love these for the delicious ingredients and for how it looks up-scale but is really simple!

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48 K.+Finn September 30, 2014 at 5:08 pm

My go-to might be chips and salsa or hummus and crackers for a casual gathering. Mini Quiche for a party atmosphere.

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49 One Frugal Girl October 1, 2014 at 6:12 am
50 One+Frugal+Girl October 1, 2014 at 6:13 am

buffalo chicken dip. It isn’t fancy but it sure is tasty!
One+Frugal+Girl´s last blog post ..Inundated by Unexpected Expenses

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51 Sue R. October 1, 2014 at 7:36 am

I like to serve a platter with fresh Veggies and a platter with Wisconsin cheese, such as aged cheddar, Asiago… and fresh out of the oven artisan bread.

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52 Elle October 1, 2014 at 10:04 am

I love to make stuffed roasted peppers.

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53 Elle October 1, 2014 at 10:08 am
54 Jessica w October 1, 2014 at 11:50 am

i love making those sausage balls with bisquick and cheese they are so yummy
Jessica w´s last blog post ..Amazing Peanut Butter Nutella Shake!

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55 Jessica+w October 1, 2014 at 11:52 am
56 Vincent October 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Goat cheese and fig jam on crackers is always good.

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57 Vincent October 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm
58 Amy S October 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Baked Brie with pepper jelly!

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59 Phyllis October 1, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Spinach dip

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60 wendy rozema October 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

Chicken wings is my go to appetizer!

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61 Tonya Atkinson October 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Deviled Eggs

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62 Donna Durham October 3, 2014 at 5:20 am

Hosting a shower on Sunday and having Smoked Sausage in BBQ sauce appetizers.

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63 Catherine October 3, 2014 at 6:48 am

I always make deviled eggs and never have any left, no matter how many I bring.

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64 courtney b October 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

that’s easy! i love a good caprese salad !:) so yummy, my absolute favorite!!

Thank you! xoxox
courtney b´s last blog post ..It’s National Coffee Day!!!

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65 courtney+b October 3, 2014 at 3:35 pm
66 Margot C October 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I too like to make Deviled Eggs (then my brother eats them ALL, always), a cheese plate with some hummus and olives is my usual speed. I must say that your food always looks so beautifully presented and until this day I did not know what manchego even was!

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67 Kathy Strahs October 3, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Thank you, Margot! Manchego is my favorite cheese. 🙂 ~Kathy

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68 Margot+C October 3, 2014 at 10:08 pm
69 amy pugmire October 4, 2014 at 3:57 am

I love to serve stuffed mushrooms. (sausage, cream cheese and green onions)

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70 amy+pugmire October 4, 2014 at 3:57 am
71 Stephanie Hanson October 4, 2014 at 5:21 am

I assemble organic grape tomatoes, a mozzarella cheese pearl and an arugula leaf on a festive, decorative toothpick for the occasion. I keep them in the refrigerator, and then lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar right before the gathering.

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72 rusty October 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

My go to is asparagus quiche.

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73 Stephanie Phelps October 4, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I love to serve cocktail wieners for my appitizer.

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74 Stephanie+Phelps October 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm
75 Jessie C. October 4, 2014 at 8:58 pm

My go-to favorite appetizer to serve at a gathering is ham and Swiss sliders.
tcarolinep at gmail dot com

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76 Jessie+C. October 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm

-https://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/518610678085849088

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77 mary October 5, 2014 at 3:22 am

I like to serve spinach and artichoke dip

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78 Jessica+To October 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I like cheese and crackers or chicken dip and chips.

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79 Susan Smith October 5, 2014 at 6:15 pm

My go to appetizer is shrimp cocktail

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80 Susan+Smith October 5, 2014 at 6:17 pm
81 Sandra October 6, 2014 at 5:37 am

As a few others have mentioned, my go-to appetizers are caprese skewers. As a child of the 70’s, however, I never pass on a deviled egg when a tray comes my way!:)

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82 Jennifer Hibdon October 6, 2014 at 6:21 am

My husband loves cheese and vegetable trays. Quite often, I will make a special cheeseball rolled in herbs or spices for the center of the cheese tray and a flavorful dip for the center of the vegetable tray.

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83 Sarah Hall October 6, 2014 at 10:51 am

My favorite snack is potato chips and onion dip.

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84 Kimmy Ripley October 6, 2014 at 8:08 pm

My favorite appetizer is my homemade spinach dip! Always a hit!!

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85 Beth F October 7, 2014 at 7:20 am

As a low carber, it is snap peas and hummus, and meat and cheese for us.

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86 Barbara October 7, 2014 at 8:01 am

Johnsonville mild Italian sausage with onions and peppers in rolled filo dough cut into bite size pieces placed on a platter. Dipping sauces of spicy brown mustard and marinara sauce-yum.

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87 ELIZABETH October 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I like to whip up some bruschetta with some fresh bread

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88 ELIZABETH October 7, 2014 at 1:52 pm
89 ANGEL JACKLYN October 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I PREFER VEGGIE DIPS FOR THEM!

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90 ANGEL+JACKLYN October 7, 2014 at 10:16 pm
91 Tina M October 8, 2014 at 5:19 am

i like Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

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92 Tina+M October 8, 2014 at 5:19 am
93 sandra October 8, 2014 at 8:16 am

pigs in a blanket

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94 Robin October 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Sausage balls!

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95 Erika October 9, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Beer cheese dip!

chambanachik(at)gmail(dot)com
Erika´s last blog post ..The Beginning: My Own Birth Story (Written By My Mama)

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96 anna pry October 9, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I always make chicken nut puffs pryfamily5@gmail.com

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97 anna+pry October 9, 2014 at 6:31 pm
98 Matt T October 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I love serving Crabbies! English muffins baked with crabmeat, cheese, butter and spice mixture.

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99 Teressa Morris October 10, 2014 at 4:08 pm

My favorite appetizer to serve is a veggie tray.

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100 shelly peterson October 11, 2014 at 6:53 am

I like to have lil smokies with bbq sauce
cshell090869 at aol dot com

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101 shelly+peterson October 11, 2014 at 7:22 am
102 Stephanie October 11, 2014 at 10:35 am

“Home Rolled” Sweet ‘n Sour Meatballs are always a crowd pleaser, often made with a jar of my own Hot Pepper Jelly recipe!

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103 Aurelie Red October 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

My favourite appetizer is little tomatoes with some caramel and sesame on the top 😉 Simple and delicious !

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104 Aurelie+Red October 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm
105 Anne October 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm

My go-to favorite appetizer is nothing fancy, just an assortment of nibbles, like spiced nuts, homemade crackers with a cheese spread, and pita chips with hummus.

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106 Anne October 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I tweeted about your lovely appetizer recipe as well as the Johnsonville promotion:
https://twitter.com/NotherAnneOther/status/521064025606852608

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107 Janice Cooper October 12, 2014 at 3:38 pm

Mine would be spinach dip, chips, crackers and cheese.

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108 Janice+Cooper October 12, 2014 at 3:39 pm
109 rachel October 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm

I like to serve mini quiches.

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110 Cheryl W October 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm

My favorite go to appetizers to serve are Buffalo Chicken Wonton Wraps. Thank you so much for the opportunity to enter.

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111 Cheryl W October 12, 2014 at 4:20 pm
112 MelissaO October 13, 2014 at 7:42 am

Guacamole, black bean dip, and homemade chips

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113 Denise L October 15, 2014 at 8:11 pm

I make a rosemary focaccia bread that is so yummy, I don’t usually even top it.

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114 Denise+L October 15, 2014 at 8:12 pm
115 Kevin E October 16, 2014 at 3:36 am

My go to appetizer is baked brie

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116 Kevin+E October 16, 2014 at 3:40 am
117 Samantha Daleo October 16, 2014 at 6:09 am

My go-to appetizer is my BBQ Meatballs. I throw a few small bags of frozen meatballs in the crockpot, add equal parts BBQ sauce and grape jelly (12 0z or 16 oz work best), stir it all together and set it on low if the party is much later or high if its in a few hours and they are always devoured.

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118 Samantha+Daleo October 16, 2014 at 6:10 am
119 Lee October 16, 2014 at 7:55 am

my fave fall appetizer is my own rustic bread with melted cheese.

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120 Lee October 16, 2014 at 7:56 am
121 gay s. October 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm

I usually have cheese & crackers, chips, dip, olives and summer sausage
as appetizers.

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122 Gina M October 18, 2014 at 12:37 pm

I love to make caprese kabobs!

Thanks for the chance to win!
wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

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123 Gina+M October 18, 2014 at 12:40 pm

tweet–https://twitter.com/WildOrchid985/status/523559304239259648

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124 steve weber October 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

My go to favorite app is bacon wrapped shrimp.. you cannot go wrong!

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125 D Schmidt October 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

My go to appetizer is British Sausage rolls, people love them.

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126 D+Schmidt October 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm
127 Jo Ann Zavala October 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Sausage and bead with a cheese fondue to dip in or a hot mustard sauce to dip the sausage in

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128 Jo+Ann+Zavala October 20, 2014 at 9:56 pm

sausage with hot mustard sauce to dip in

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129 Liz R October 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

We love Baked Brie and figs from our fig tree! Love using the rosemary skewers and can’t wait to try this!

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130 ben gilbert October 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Fresh tomatoes from my garden with melted goat cheese.

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131 Diloy October 24, 2014 at 7:28 am

Antipasto kabobs are always a hit

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132 Madeline October 25, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Lately we’ve been making these appetizers that consist of a date with a piece of good parmesan cheese stuffed inside, and then a pecan half on top. They’re really yummy!

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133 Madeline October 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm
134 kjasus October 26, 2014 at 5:38 am

i make bacon wrapped mini sausages drenched in a brown sugar glaze

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135 kjasus October 26, 2014 at 5:38 am
136 Rosie October 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

I make palm size pizzas! I make pizza all the time, including the dough and I also like making small baby size ones! You can put all kinds of toppings on appetizer size pizzas, and I do!

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137 Kerry October 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Buffalo chicken dip!

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138 Kerry October 27, 2014 at 5:19 pm
139 LAMusing October 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm

Yum – I love figs. My go to is french bread rounds with pesto, a pice of sun dried tomato and a bit of brie melted on top 🙂

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140 Norma October 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Mini rolls stuffed with tuna salad.

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141 Rebecca Graham October 30, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I like to make shrimp skewers as an appetizer.

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142 Betty C October 31, 2014 at 11:43 pm

I like cheese stuffed croissants.

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143 Betty+C October 31, 2014 at 11:46 pm
144 maria cantu November 1, 2014 at 11:07 am

Cheese and crackers.

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145 erica best November 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm

i love to make deviled eggs

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146 Debbie+B November 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm

i usually do a fruit and cheese tray with crackers

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147 Debbie+B November 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm
148 Lisa November 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm

I love to stack an appetizer of sliced smoked sausage, quartered artichoke heart, a bit of roasted red pepper, sundried tomato & a basil leaf. I skewer everything so that the sausage is at the bottom as the base. It’s a bit of a mouthful but the best way to eat is to pop the entire stack at once….a big mouthful….but the combination of flavors always gets rave reviews!

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149 erica+best November 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm
150 Amanda Sakovitz November 2, 2014 at 10:17 am

i love serving deviled eggs

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151 Amanda+Sakovitz November 2, 2014 at 10:18 am
152 Thomas Murphy November 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm

I like to serve cheese and crackers

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153 Thomas+Murphy November 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm
154 Amy P. November 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I love to make a spinach queso dip to serve with tortilla chips!

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155 Sarah L November 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I always get raves over my deviled eggs.
Thanks for the contest.

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156 Tabathia B November 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm

italian meatballs

tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

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157 Tabathia+B November 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm
158 Sarah+L November 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm
159 Birdiebee November 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm

My go-to favorite appetizer to serve at a gathering is sausage stuffed mushrooms.

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160 Birdiebee November 2, 2014 at 4:05 pm
161 steve+weber November 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm

bacon wrapped shrimp is my go-to.

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162 Ashley T January 10, 2015 at 9:36 am

Mini cheesy bacon quiches!

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