Two Easy Appetizers for the Holidays–Spinach & Cheese Balls and Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

Planning ahead for the social engagements over the holidays is crucial to staying gluten-free and enjoying yourself.  Having a couple of tasty appetizer recipes that everyone will like can be a social lifesaver!  Here are a couple of my recipes that you can make quickly if you have unexpected guests or take to a party.  Taking your own makes it so much easier for your hostess and for you–no chance of cross contamination.  After all we all want to enjoy these parties, not get sick from them!

Spinach Cheese Balls makes use of the homemade, gluten-free baking mix in your pantry.  The spinach is another staple you should have in your freezer.  I also keep a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese in the freezer.  You never know when you will have to whip up something so having lots of ingredients in stock just makes sense.  This recipe makes 30-35 appetizers so they go a long way.  And you dip them in spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce–another item on the pantry shelf.  What could be easier?

Spinach & Cheese Balls
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 1 box (9 0z,) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain
  • 1 cup homemade, gluten-free baking mix (recipe posted June 29, 2015)
  • 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (1bag; 8 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1cup pasta sauce or pizza sauce for dipping
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except dipping sauce. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve with dipping sauce. Makes 30-35 1-inch balls.


Everyone knows how to make stuffed mushrooms.  These are yummy, spicy stuffed mushrooms, and gluten-free.   A great addition to party fare!  This recipe uses gf breadcrumbs (you should always grind bread that is going stale into breadcrumbs and freeze), and cream cheese for a smooth, cheesy stuffing.  Most of the ingredients you should have except, perhaps, the 30 fresh mushrooms!  That would be a lot to expect!  A couple of tips to make this recipe easier:  set the cream cheese out so it is at room temperature before you start, it will cream much easier if it is at room temperature before you try to mix it; cook the bacon before you want to put these together, cooled bacon will crumble more easily.  I do both of these things early in the morning that I will be preparing the stuffed mushrooms.  Then preparation is a breeze!

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms
Recipe type: Appetizers
  • About 30 whole, fresh mushrooms
  • 8-10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 8 0z. packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs or homemade gf panko, divided (recipe posted June 18, 2015)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Clean mushrooms, break off stems and discard
  2. Combine cream cheese spices, Parmesan cheese with a hand mixer on low. Once smooth, stir in the crumbles of bacon and ⅓ cup of breadcrumbs to combine well.
  3. Brush mushroom caps with oil and fill with a generous amount of cream cheese filling. Dip the tops in additional breadcrumbs and place on lightly greased baking sheet.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until mushrooms are hot, tops brown lightly and liquid forms under the caps. Serve immediately. Makes 30 stuffed mushrooms.

Put these recipes in your arsenal so you are ready to party!  Gluten-free and tasty, your contributions will be enjoyed by everyone!  Enjoy!