The 12 Days of Christmas represent the period from Christmas to Epiphany, on Jan. 6. Epiphany is also called Three Kings Day or Twelfth Night (the major gift-giving holiday in many countries). Here are appetizers and hors d’oeuvres recipes based on the legendary 12 Days of Christmas song to countdown from Christmas to Epiphany or Twelfth Night. Best of all these recipes use up holiday leftovers and are also diet-friendly!
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres. First day: Partridge in a Pear Tree appetizers. Partridge is pretty expensive, so substitute with leftover turkey. Chop turkey, scallions, orange and yellow peppers, leftover walnuts and cranberries. Lightly toss with vinegar and olive oil, light olive oil mayo or mashed avocado. Season with dill and black pepper. Core small pears and fill cavity with “partridge” filling.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes. Second day; Two Turtle Doves appetizers. Draw a basic dove pattern or use a dove-shaped cookie cutter. Cut two slices of white bread in dove shapes. Make ham salad spread from leftover ham. Blend diced ham, celery, leftover pickles and olives from relish tray and light mayonnaise. Spread on one dove, add a lettuce leaf and the other dove for little finger sandwiches. Use spray cheese or Spanish olive slice for eye and red pimento for mouth.
12 Days of Christmas hor d’oeuvres recipes. Third Day: Three French Hens appetizers. If you were lucky enough to freeze Peeps at Easter, use those! Or blend shredded cheddar cheese, cream cheese, chopped onion and dill. Mold into small hen shapes. Use red pimento for wattle and comb and black sprinkles for eyes. Stick three pretzel sticks on bottom to look like nest under the hen.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes: Fourth Day: Four Calling Bird appetizers. Spread cream cheese on two Ritz crackers. Poke pretzels in for legs. Cut slices for beaks and olives for eyes and stick to front. Cut “wings” from apple slices.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes. Fifth Day: Five Golden Rings. Serve mild banana pepper rings or cut petite yellow peppers or summer squash in rings. These could be Three Kings Day recipes to represent the gold that the Magi brought, too.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes. Sixth Day: Six Geese Laying. Serve assorted olives for geese eggs laid. Or make “nests” using chow mien noodles stuck to crackers with cream cheese. Place olives in center. Or spread peanut butter on crackers and add pretzels or noodles for nests. Use nuts, berries or jelly beans for eggs.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes. Seventh Day: Seven Swans Swimming. Blend cream cheese and mozzerella cheese to and shape into small swan shapes. Color mashed avocado blue-green and spread on cracker. Place swimming swam upright. Or spread with cream cheese and shredded purple cabbage.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes: Eight Day: Eight Maids a milking. Make milk pails from hot dog or cucumber chunks. Hollow out and fill with cream cheese for milk. Cut handles from cucumber peels.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes. Ninth Day: Nine Ladies Dancing appetizers. Cut high heel shoes or dance slipper patterns from bread. Spread with pink cream cheese. Decorate with holiday sprinkles or bows made from licorice whips.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres recipes. Tenth Day: Ten Lords a Leaping appetizers. Make top hats from sausage, beef jerky or hot dogs. Cut cyclinders and add to round crackers. Use spray cheese to attach. These could be made into crowns for Three Kings Day.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres. Eleventh Day: Eleven Pipers Piping appetizers. Roll pretzel rods or sticks in peanut butter and then coat with silver sprinkles. This will be the night before Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, So you could also make religious appetizers or start your King cake.
12 Days of Christmas hors d’oeuvres. Twelfth Day: Twelve Drummers Drumming. Cut cucumbers into snare drum shape. “Frost” with cream cheese and roll in thin ham slice. Attach round crackers or tortilla chips to top and bottom. Decorate with spray cheese or black olive strips to look like drum. Put olives or mini marshmallows on the ends of pretzels for drumsticks. This is Jan. 6, Epiphany or Three Kings Day so serve with your King cake!