#HEBJoyville Virtual Progressive Dinner Party: Appetizers

in Appetizers, Parties & Entertaining

Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry Sliders

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time to talk appetizers for the #HEBJoyville Virtual Progressive Dinner Party! This week, I’ve joined 4 other Texas bloggers to talk you through some of our favorite entertaining tips, food, and drinks this holiday season:

Monday – Table Decor by Handmade Mood
Tuesday – Drinks & Wine by Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine
Wednesday – Bacon & Cheese!
Thursday – Main Course by A Zesty Bite
Friday – Desserts by The Baking Fairy

You, too, can join in the delicious fun and be entered to win a $100 gift card and a $50 Prize Pack! Here’s how it works:
1. Instagram photos of your favorite holiday dish, drink, and/or decor.
2. Tag it with #HEBJoyvilleSweeps
3. Tag @HEB.

Easy enough, right? And one winner will be chosen each day! Now let’s talk appetizers.

Cranberry and Red Wine Meatballs

My formula for putting together a party spread generally goes something like:
Cheese plate
Hot Dip
Baked sliders
Something Meaty
Something Wrapped in Puff Pastry
Vegetables w/Cold Dip (this is Texas so that means Ranch Dressing)
16 Kinds of crackers (because you can never have too many crunchy, crispy dipper thing)

This isn’t the time I opt to make my own puff pastry – there are baseboards to be cleaned and crayon marks to be magic-erased. I use a mix of pre-made and homemade to keep things efficient and convenient.

Cheese Plate

My love for cheese cannot be understated. And the cheese plate is where I have 57% of the non-margarita fun:
Goat cheese – room temp, with honey drizzled over top just before guests arrive
Brie – sometimes baked, sometimes not
Cranberry Gouda – tis the season!
Berries – whatever is in season and on sale
Nuts – the Spiced Texas Pecans you see up there are fabulous
Crackers – pick up a box of those Rosemary & Date crackers, you won’t be sorry
Something Smokey/Spicy – Smoked Gouda and Chipotle Cheddar are two of my favorites

Now let’s talk about the other 43% of non-margarita joy.

Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry Sliders

Two words: Baked Sliders. You can heat 3 dozen or more in the oven at once. No matter how many of those 3-bites-of-heaven you make, you will never, ever have enough. This year’s sliders are filled with crispy bacon, creamy brie, and tangy cranberry sauce and topped with a bacon vinaigrette. Yeah. I know. And you can get the recipe below.

Crab & Artichoke Wontons Crab & Artichoke Dip

Don’t be afraid to reinvent the wheel. Crab & Artichoke dip is a huge crowd pleaser around here, by why stop at “just” dip? Spread it over a halved loaf of crusty bread or drop a spoonful into a wonton wrapper and bake in a mini-muffin tin for a two-bite treat.

Crab & Artichoke Bread

Use that slow-cooker! It will keep meatballs hot, crab & artichoke dip creamy, and queso the perfect consistency so that you get the maximum drippage when you drop it on the front your shirt. Pro-tip: those slow-cooker liners are magical when making queso. Too bad they don’t make shirt liners.

Cranberry and Red Wine Meatballs

Put a bow on it! Okay, so not an actual bow. Add a festive touch to an old favorite. You know those sweet and sour meatballs that use grape jelly? I know you do – they were everywhere in 1995. You couldn’t out run them if you tried but you didn’t try because then someone else would get to eat your meatballs. Try an updated, more sophisticated version that uses cranberry sauce and red wine.

Pesto Palmiers

Less can be more, and just as delicious. A sheet of puff pastry + a small jar of pesto = Pesto Palmiers.

Now that we’ve talked appetizers, let’s get ready for the big show. And don’t forget to Instagram your favorite #HEBJoyvilleSweeps holiday shots!

Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry Sliders

Sliders filled with crispy bacon, creamy brie, and tangy cranberry sauce and topped with bacon vinaigrette.


  • 2 dozen dinner rolls, split horizontally
  • 2 lbs bacon, cooked to a crisp*
  • ~2 cups whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 24 ~1.5 inch strips of brie from an 8oz wheel
  • Bacon Vinaigrette (I used Better Than Good brand, purchased)
  • *I make the bacon in the oven on a rack in a large baking pan. Two batches, 425 until crispy.


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil.
  3. Spread cranberry sauce over the split halves of the rolls.
  4. Break the slices of bacon into 1/3rds and spread evenly over the rolls.
  5. Top with a slice of brie and the roll top.
  6. Brush bacon vinaigrette over the top and bake for ~15 minutes.
  7. Serve hot, warm, or cold. You'll have no leftovers but they allegedly reheat very well.


Yields: 24 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from H-E-B for my time and participation in the H-E-B Virtual Progressive Dinner. Although we have material connection to H-E-B, any publicly stated opinions of H-E-B and their brands remain my own.

5 comments… add one
  • Jules

    Um, those sliders look amazing! And so do the meatballs – how have I missed those all this time?!

  • Kerri

    You had me at 2lbs of bacon.

  • Jenny

    That crab bread is legit!

  • All the food in this post just looks SO delicious. Totally wish I had one of those sliders to devour right now too!

  • ashlee z

    I made your sliders for a party last night and they were a hit! Great combination and so yummy!

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