Bensonhurst Kitchen: New Year’s Eve Finger Foods

Throwing a party at home can be a lot of work.

Trying to accomplish anything in the confines of a small kitchen while your house or apartment is wall to wall with company can add a whole other layer of stress to the usual pressures of cooking for a large group.

In order to help make things a little easier on you this New Year’s Eve, Colleen has devised three simple, quick and tasty finger food dishes – two of which can be prepared hours, or even the day before family and friends begin climbing your stoop.

In this week’s edition of BK, Colleen shows you how to prepare a simply addicting spinach and roasted red pepper dip; a batch of delicious, filling, alcohol-absorbing sausage-cheese balls; and tops it all off by showing you how to put a sweet spin on luxurious champagne shrimp scampi with some Moscato d’Asti.


Colleen’s Champagne Shrimp Scampi


1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 cup of your favorite champagne
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped (you can substitute dried parsley)


Melt butter in a saute pan, add olive oil.

Dredge shrimp in flour and saute in pan over medium heat, until shrimp are pink. Approximately 3-4 minutes.

Stir in minced garlic and chopped rosemary and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove shrimp from pan.

Increase heat to high. Add champagne (we used a sweet Italian sparkling white wine), lemon juice and parsley to saute pan.
Cook until sauce reduces and thickens.

Return shrimp to pan and heat through, approximately 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Serve immediately.

TIP: Want to make this a dinner entree? Increase the champagne by 1/2 cup and serve over linguine or angel hair pasta!

Colleen’s Sausage-Cheese Balls


1 pound uncooked hot/spicy pork sausage
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups bisquick


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine uncooked sausage and bisquick.

Add shredded cheese, mix thoroughly.

Shape mixture in 1-inch balls. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake 20-25 minutes, turning each ball over after 10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Mine is Crosse & Blackwell’s Caramelized Onion Chutney with Peppers (which we found in the Food Town on McDonald Avenue and Albermarle Road in Kensington).

TIP: Like your food extra spicy? Add 2 finely chopped jalapenos or 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes to the sausage mixture.

Colleen’s Hot Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Dip


3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cup fresh spinach, washed and stems removed
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
1 8 ounce package cream cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste


In a saute pan, cook spinach and garlic in melted butter until spinach is wilted.

Add diced roasted red peppers. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan combine cream cheese and milk, cook over medium heat until hot and softened.

Stir spinach and roasted red pepper mixture into cream cheese.

Add Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Continue to stir mixture until well combined and heated through.

Serve dip warm with lightly toasted slices of Italian bread or crackers.

TIP: To keep your dip warm during your holiday party, put it in a small crock pot on the lowest setting. Stir periodically.

Recipes and tips by Colleen


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