As the More is More Mom®, I am highly in favor of…..more cocktails and appetizers! Why do they call it a cocktail hour? Do the powers that be really think 60 minutes is nearly enough time to imbibe and snack? I think not. Besides, if you’ve invited friends for dinner, they’re likely to be counting on an evening full of fun, and what better way to kick off your gathering than with a little something to wet the appetite?
Now, when we girls get together for Book Club, BUNCO or an in home demonstration with the likes of jewelry purveyors and the Pampered Chef, devising a menu is always pretty easy. The ladies tend to like snicky snacks that are crunchy, cheesy, garlic-y and salty. The men, on the other hand, prefer heartier fare. I find that most guests arrive hungry, which they should if they’ve been invited over for dinner. It can be tricky to strike that perfect balance; offering enough to nibble on, while not sooooo much that no one is hungry for dinner. Hmmm, what to do?
For Labor Day, my main menu consisted of a beautiful Stacked BLT Salad, Summers Bounty Vegetable Pasta Salad and an Herb Marinated Beef Tenderloin (which can be found in my archives dated 8/31/10). Let’s face it, simply put, men like meat. So, I decided to make an appetizer with sausage and another with crab meat. Not too much, not too little. Goldilocks was happy because…..it was just right.
- Sausage Lover’s Dip served with Frito’s Scoops (Who wouldn’t love that?)
- Crab pastries (on a buttery biscuit!)
- Fresh veggies (for the eternally boring and health conscious)
Sausage Lover’s Dip:
And who doesn’t like a maple breakfast sausage? This recipe is a total bonus; there is only one ingredient to chop, and it can be prepared a day ahead and warmed up in the microwave. I serve it with the perfect food, a Frito’s Scoop, but it is equally as good licked off of a spoon (make that a tablespoon).
In a large skillet, over medium high heat, cook;
1 package of breakfast sausage (I’m a fan of the maple flavor)
Break up and stir constantly until cooked completely
Add 2 Tbsp of water, cover skillet and cook for another minute or so.
Remove the lid, reduce heat to low, add;
1-8 oz package of softened cream cheese
¾ cup of sour cream
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of chopped green onions
1 -10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1 -10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tsp garlic powder
Stir until cheese is melted and well blended.
Either serve immediately (why would you want to do that? You’d have a messy pan to clean up) or make it in advance, put it in the fridge and warm it up in the micro when your guests arrive. You can serve it with anything, though I prefer the beauty of a Frito’s Scoop.
There is something so indulgent and elegant about serving crab meat. It’s really no big deal. I buy it at Costco, in a container, ready to go.
This recipe is so easy. It’s like making classy tuna or egg salad.
In a medium size bowl, combine;
1 -16 oz can of crab meat
1 ½ cups of grated Swiss cheese
1 cup of mayonnaise
5 Tbsp finely chopped, green onions
2 ½ tsp of lemon juice (from a container is fine too!)
1 tsp salt
I, myself, like to make the entertaining process as streamlined as possible. My preference is to use disposable, aluminum foil baking pans. Who wants to deal with messy pans when you’re entertaining? Efficient and tidy.
Pre-heat oven to 350°
2 Tubes of flaky crusty rolls (perhaps a Golden Layers Hungry Jack?)
Separate biscuit layers into 2-3 per disc
Place in a single layer on a baking sheet
1 Tbsp of crab mixture onto each disc
Bake for approximately 10 minutes until melted and bubbly
Cool, plate and serve to your guests delight!
Veggies to Dip:
Well, what more is there to say about rabbit food? Slice up your favorite vegetables. I am partial to carrots, cucumbers, red, yellow and orange peppers and snap peas (so sweet!). There is something wonderful about the pre-packaged gift of Ranch dressing. I like to top it with a few chopped scallions for a bit of homemade embellishment.
What else is there to say? Plate, serve and dip. Yum!
In addition to the few well chosen appetizers, I like to scatter bowls of party mix, roasted nuts and peanut butter filled pretzels to satisfy the crunch factor.
Light a few candles, turn up the tunes and enjoy your nearest and dearest.
Tomorrow, I can’t wait to share my recipe for the most fabulous, family friendly cookie ever!