By Allison Melton – Special to the Navarro County Gazette

Hello! My name is Allison Melton. I am a recent addition to the city of Corsicana. I teach advanced culinary arts at Corsicana High School. I am also the owner of Wooden Spoon Diaries, where I teach all ages to cook and share recipes on my blog. Teaching is a huge part of who I am and if I’m not teaching my students 8-4, you can find me teaching private cooking lessons or answering someone’s cooking questions online. 

Allison Melton of The Wooden Spoon Diaries. – Courtesy Photo

I wanted to share with you some simple yet stunning recipes for New Year’s Eve. This year will, of course, be a little different since it will just be my husband and me, but that’s not stopping me from making 4 different appetizers. We love having a snack dinner; so I hope these recipes inspire you to do the same. 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip. – Courtesy Photo


  • 1 bag of chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 block of cream cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

To taste:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes

Directions: In a large skillet add a small amount of olive oil. Add in spinach and artichokes, and sauté until spinach is defrosted. Add in cream and seasonings, then mix well. Add in cubes of cream cheese. Place lid on skillet, and let everything melt together. Add in parmesan cheese, and let melt. Taste and adjust seasonings along the way. Once done, serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or veggie sticks.  

Strawberry Phyllo Cups 

Strawberry phyllo cups. Courtesy Photo 


  • 1 pack of Phyllo Dough Cups 
  • 1 container of mascarpone cheese 
  • 1 small pack of strawberries, cut in half 
  • Honey 

Directions: The phyllo cups should already be cooked and cooled. Place phyllo cups on your serving platter. Add your mascarpone cheese to a piping bag, and snip the tip of the bag with scissors. Fill your phyllo cup with mascarpone, then top with a strawberry. Drizzle honey over each one.

Pesto Meatballs 

Pesto meatballs. – Courtesy photo


  • 1 bag of cooked Italian meatballs 
  • 1 jar of pesto sauce 
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Directions: Heat skillet, and brown meatballs until crispy. Take meatballs off heat, and drain any extra oil. Toss meatballs in pesto sauce. Top with parmesan cheese and a toothpick.

Strawberry Champagne Cake Popsicles 

Strawberry champagne cake popsicles. – Courtesy Photo

Note: This recipe can be done without a cake popsicle mold, you can use your hands and roll into balls like normal cake pops. 


  • 1 strawberry cake box mix 
  • 1 cup of your favorite champagne
  • 1 cup of your favorite buttercream frosting
  • White melting chocolate 
  • Festive sprinkles 

Directions: Follow your box cake instructions except instead of water, add in your champagne. Bake according to the box (my 9X13 was in the oven for 23 minutes at 350 and came out a beautiful pink). Let cake cool COMPLETELY. While your cake is cooling, make your buttercream, where you can add in a little champagne here as well. Once your cake is cooled, add your frosting.

I always start with half my cake and all of my frosting, I look at that texture and then add more cake if needed. Your cake/frosting mix should be able to hold its own shape. If you have the popsicle mold: melt your chocolate and coat your mold. When your first layer of chocolate is solid, add your cake mixture, add your popsicle stick, then cover the back with more chocolate and let set.

Once your popsicles come out of the mold, you can drizzle more chocolate on top, and then add your sprinkles. 

If you are making true cake pops: Use an ice cream scoop to make equal sized pops, then add your cake pop stick, let your cake pops chill in the freezer for 20 minutes. Once your pops have chilled, melt chocolate and dip each one until evenly coated. While your cake pops are still wet add your sprinkles. 

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