Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Simple {Gluten Free} Party Appetizers #HolidayHelper

This post is sponsored by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. I was selected to participate, as part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network.
During the holidays, we love entertaining. It seems we are always have friends or family members visiting and catching up for a few hours at a time.
Gatherings always need good food. Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen though when you have guests arriving soon or even while they're in your living room? No one.
The freezer aisle comprises 3,700+ different, delicious foods ranging from nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to decadent ice creams and novelties. Of the 3,700+ foods, many are naturally allergy free, and the gluten free specialty foods are growing every time I visit the store!
Utilizing freezer friendly foods ensures you have your ingredients on hand for unexpected guests and can help you save time preparing. Here are a few simple {gluten free & allergy friendly} party food ideas & recipes thanks to NFRA & EasyHomeMeals.com:
I think when we have food allergies or are on special diets, we know that in order to ensure food is safe we automatically think everything has to be homemade.
While I'm a big proponent of homemade goods, for various reasons, sometimes it's nice to just be able to purchase items off the shelf or out of the freeze case and keep it simple. Especially around the holidays.
I feel like I'm always stuck in the kitchen. While I love to cook and bake, I don't want to miss out on all the fun the rest of my family and guests are having in the other room.
One of the first simple and go-to items for many gatherings are shrimp cocktails.  During the holidays, I always have a bag of shrimp in my freezer. It's one of our favorite items to serve and eat. And it doesn't just have to be shrimp on a plate with a bowl of sauce.
I actually purchased these glasses from a thrift shop a few years ago. I love using them for serving appetizers or desserts. You can even use a small shot glass - fill the bottom with the cocktail sauce and hang the shrimp off the edges. Guests will love this simple touch that adds a lot of impact. It's also great for portion control.
There are so many delicious gluten free breads available now from the freezer section at your grocer, like Cole's Gluten Free Garlic Baguettes.
Out of all the frozen vegetables sold, my favorite is probably frozen chopped spinach. It's so versatile and great in recipes.
You can turn these four items, pictured above, into a delicious holiday wreath for festive fun!

One of the reasons why I love the Chive & Garlic variety of the non-dairy cream cheese spread is all the flavor already packed inside.
By simply cooking the chopped spinach in the microwave, per the package instructions, I was able to whip it together with the non-dairy cream cheese for a delicious topping on our baguettes. And it took only minutes to complete this gluten & dairy free appetizer! Recipe instructions are located at the bottom of this post.
There are so many great fruits available in the freezer section, as well. I love finding locally grown items like these frozen Michigan cranberries pictured above.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce is so simple to make. The canned kind gives me the jeevies... lol. It also makes your kitchen smells delicious!
Put it on the stove top with some sugar, stir occasionally, and let it do its thing! You can prep your other items while it's cooking down. The smell alone is worth it. Recipe instructions are located at the bottom of this post.
Why are we making Homemade Cranberry Sauce? Well, it's the perfect compliment to our Qrunch Quinoa Burgers.
Qrunch Burgers are available in the freezer section in an original & spicy Italian variety. I chose the spicy Italian for this appetizer because I love mixing my sweets with spice! It's the perfect balance.
The burger cooks with a quick toast in the toaster oven. Cut them up and add one of the whole cooked cranberries from the sauce on a pick for a gluten free & allergy friendly crowd pleaser.
Speaking of cranberries, they also made a great colorful addition to a glass of sparkling grape juice or champagne, as well as, acting like a chilling agent. You could also use frozen raspberries blueberries, or strawberries as well.  
Don't forget the great Pillsbury gluten free dough now available in your grocery's refrigerated dairy sections! That's how we made our yummy chocolate chip cookies pictured. They offer chocolate cookie dough, pie pastry dough, and pizza crusts for simple and quick recipe making.
Keep things simple. Utilize the amazing foods available in your refrigerated dairy and freezer sections at the grocery store. Don't miss out on the time with your guests with these gluten free appetizers!

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