Springtime Appetizers on the Deck!

I can hardly wait to get on the back deck and start enjoying food!  We have ample opportunities to invite family and friends to stop by and enjoy a glass of wine and something good to eat.  These appetizers are fresh and simple to make.  I've combined some fresh vegetables, chopped in small bits and dressed with a vinaigrette ... scooped into  crisp leaves of Belgian Endive.  I used carrots, radishes, onion and celery, with plenty of chopped oregano and mint.
 On this platter, you'll see grilled chicken wings, which are so easy to do.  I just marinate them for about an hour in any one of my favorite packaged marinade mixes and if you use one of those wing racks on the grill,  you don't have to even take a second peek at them.  Just close the grill and let them cook!   The other quick recipe is to core the center/seeds out of a cucumber and fill the cavity with deli ham salad.  Slice and serve!
There is nothing easier than making a ball of cream cheese and topping it with your favorite honey or jam.   Sometimes, I pulse the cheese in the food processor and add a little bleu cheese to it ... or an even more tart Stilton cheese.   This one is topped with Lemon Jelly from Darn Hot Chili Peppers.  You can buy that online by visiting Rancho Bella Vista!  Right here in Southern Illinois, we have a fantastic pepper grower and he and his wife know exactly what to do with them, so they have several packaged items.  

We love celebrating springtime by entertaining under our fruit trees, sitting on the back deck and enjoying the smell of freshly mowed lawns, Lilac and Mock Orange blooming in the side yard.  Don't take too much time preparing food ... choose these easy appetizers that you can make ahead and assemble quickly.  Put those wings on the grill to cook as your guests arrive, and the smoky aroma will lure them in through the garden gate! 

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