It’s no easy task being the perfect party host, but doing things ahead of time can be a lifesaver. This week, Rania Harris stops by the Pittsburgh Today Live kitchen to share some recipes for appetizers that you can prepare before your big party!

Goat Cheese Dates and Bacon in Phyllo

  • 10 ounces goat cheese – softened
  • 26 pitted dates – chopped coarsely
  • 10 slices crisp cooked bacon – crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion
  • 1/2-pound phyllo dough
  • 1 pound unsalted butter – melted
  • Toasted sesame seeds

Combine softened goat cheese with dates, bacon and scallion. Set aside cut phyllo into thirds (width wise) and cover with a plastic bag. Brush a strip of phyllo with melted butter. Place filling on lower end of phyllo about 2 inches up from edge. Fold the phyllo up over the filling. Fold in the sides to overlap in the center of the strip. Starting at the lower right hand corner, begin to fold up the strip as you would a flag. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops with melted butter. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on to the tops. You may freeze these wraps after finishing up your filling and dough. When ready to bake – bake from a frozen state in a preheated 375-degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Yield: 30

Chicken and Veal Pate

  • ¾ pound ground fresh veal
  • ¾ pound ground chicken
  • ½ pound ground pork fat
  • ½ pound ground bacon
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 4 garlic cloves-minced
  • ½ cup Cognac
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 onion – minced
  • Slab bacon – sliced thin for lining the pate pan
  • Onion Grenadine Jam (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Combine the veal, chicken, pork fat, bacon, and breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, combine the pepper, salt, allspice, garlic, cognac, eggs, and onion. Stir in the meat mixture and blend well. Set aside.

Brush an 8-cup pate mold with butter and line it with the bacon slices, overlapping each slice to drape over the edges of the pan for covering the pate before baking. Pack the meat mixture into the mold. Fold over the bacon slices to cover the top of the meat mixture and tuck them into the sides of the mold.

Cover with foil and place in a baking pan half-filled with boiling water. Bake for 2 hours or until internal temperature is 135-140 degrees. Refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

I like to place a brick on top of my pan to compress the pate and recommend doing this for an easier slicing pate.

Un-mold and serve at room temperature and serve with Onion Grenadine Jam

Onion and Grenadine Jam

  • 1 pounds onions, sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine

Sweat onions, sugar, black pepper and salt in covered pans for 20 minutes. Remove lid and add remaining ingredients. Let simmer for 20 more minutes or until glazed. Chill and serve as a meat pate garnish.

Watch & Listen LIVE