You likely don't think of snatching that beef jerky away from your kids to make affordable and yummy appetizers -- but you should. Beef jerky is one of the most popular forms of dried beef, but when it comes to making appetizers, chipped beef is best. This form of dried beef consists of thin, air-dried, round cuts of beef and is usually sold in jars. It is an economical choice that you can combine with other ingredients to make tasty, healthy appetizers.
Dried beef is a classic ingredient in many dips. It adds a smoky, salty flavor, as well as a healthy dose of protein. Finely chop the dried beef (for quick work of this, use a food processor) and then mix it with light sour cream and mayonnaise. Season with the spices of your choice, such as dry ranch dressing seasoning mix. Chill the dip overnight to let the flavors blend.
Use the dried beef as the shell for appetizers that even your littlest guests can carry and eat with minimum mess. Combine light cream cheese with garlic, green onion, chives or other spices of your choice, and then spread the mixture in a thin layer on the circle of dried beef. Roll them up and lay them on a platter.
Instead of messy, fatty meatballs, serve up some dried beef balls. Finely chop the dried beef and divide it in half. Then, combine light cream cheese, a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, green onions or chives. Season according to taste, but avoid adding salt, as the beef is already salty. You can also add other ingredients to make the balls healthier, such as finely chopped nuts or flax seeds. Kids who love cheese may appreciate the addition of shredded cheese. Form the mixture into balls and roll them in the rest of the dried beef.
Encourage your guests to eat healthy by serving nutritious accompaniments to the appetizers. Instead of white crackers, for example, lay out a spread of whole-wheat and whole-grain crackers next to the dried beef dip. Pumpernickel bread or rye bread is also a healthy choice for dried beef dip. Liven up dried beef rolls or balls with an olive attached with a toothpick.
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