Layered Sun-dried-Tomato-and-Basil Spread
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened and divided
- 1/3 cup tomato paste
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Vegetable cooking spray
- Garnishes: fresh rosemary sprigs, sun-dried tomatoes
- Crackers or baguette slices
- Beat 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Set aside.
- Process dried tomatoes in a food processor until chopped. Add 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Spoon into a bowl, and set aside. Wipe container of food processor clean.
- Process garlic and next 4 ingredients in food processor until chopped. Add Parmesan cheese, remaining 3-ounce package cream cheese, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse just until blended, stopping to scrape down sides.
- Spray a 6-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup butter mixture evenly on bottom of springform pan. Layer with half of tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and half of basil mixture; top with 1/2 cup butter mixture. Repeat layers with remaining tomato mixture, 1/2 cup butter mixture, and remaining basil mixture. Top with remaining butter mixture. Cover with plastic wrap; chill at least 8 hours.
- Run a knife gently around edge of pan to loosen sides. Remove sides of pan; carefully remove bottom of pan, and place layered spread on a serving tray. Garnish, if desired. Serve with crackers or baguette slices.
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- 1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor; pulse in 5-second intervals until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half-and-half, and process 10 seconds or until dough forms a ball.
- 2. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface, and roll into an 8- x 10-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). Cut dough with a sharp knife into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-wide strips, dipping knife in flour after each cut to ensure clean cuts. Place on ungreased baking sheets.
- 3. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until ends are slightly browned. Cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 30 minutes. Break into desired lengths.
- Note: To make cheese rounds, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness, and cut with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake and cool as directed. Freeze baked cheese straws or rounds in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic freezer bag up to 3 months. Let thaw at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.
Baking time is 12 minutes per batch. Each batch - 24 straws
Matt Lee and Ted Lee, Matt & Ted Leefrom their cookbook,The Lee Bros. Southern CookbookNorton,
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 (16-ounce) can cranberry sauce
- 1 (12-ounce) jar chili sauce
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Shape mixture into about 54 (1-inch) balls.
- Cook meatballs, in batches, in a large skillet over medium-high heat until browned (about 5 minutes); remove meatballs from pan, and drain well on paper towels.
- Stir together cranberry and chili sauces and next 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, and cook, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes or until smooth. Add meatballs; reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until centers are no longer pink.
- Note: To make ahead, place cooked meatballs in a zip-top plastic freezer bag, and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated.
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites
- 1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
- 11/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
- 6 ounces cream cheese
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid. Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in rest of ingredients and serve hot.
Stuffed Baby Bellas
- 16 baby portabella mushrooms (creminis)
- 1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed, 1/3 palmful
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 cup shredded asiago cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, a couple handfuls
- 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and wrung dry in a clean kitchen towel
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds
Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Remove the stems and finely chop them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, fennel seed, onion, garlic, lemon zest, half of the cheese, the chopped mushroom stems, breadcrumbs and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with EVOO and stuff the mixture into the caps.
Arrange the caps on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish. Leave some room around each mushroom to prevent the caps from getting steamy. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and the nuts on the caps and transfer to the oven. Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Serve warm.
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
- 1 box store-bought cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated, for dipping
Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely. Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.
When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.
- 20 paper-thin slices prosciutto or speck
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
- 10 stalks broccolini, blanched
- 1/4 head cauliflower, separated into small florets with stems intact, blanched
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon olive oil
- 1 (2-ounce) piece Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt, for blanching water
Working with 1 slice of prosciutto at a time, cut the prosciutto lengthwise in half. Wrap a small bundle of the fennel slices (about 3 slices) with prosciutto, allowing the fennel to extend over each side of the prosciutto. Bundle 1 strip each of the orange, red, and yellow bell peppers, then wrap each bundle with prosciutto, allowing the bell peppers to extend over each side of the prosciutto. Wrap the prosciutto around the stalks of broccolini. Wrap the prosciutto around the stem end of the cauliflower florets. Arrange the vegetables on a platter.
Drizzle with the oil. Using a grater or vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the vegetables. Sprinkle with pepper, and serve.
Ricotta-Stuffed Bacon-Wrapped Dates
- 1 pound (about 12 to 13 slices) bacon, preferably thick-cut
- 25 Medjool dates (about 3/4 pound)
- 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
- Special Equipment: toothpicks, a bamboo skewer for removing pits
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut the bacon in half lengthwise to make twice as many slices. Set aside. To remove the pits from the dates, cut the tips off each end of the dates and insert the flat end of the skewer until it pushes the pit out of the date. Repeat with remaining dates.
Place the ricotta in the bottom corner of a strong plastic bag and seal tightly. Use scissors to cut a small hole in the tip of 1 of the corners. Now use the bag like a piping bag to fill the dates with the cheese.
Wrap the ricotta stuffed dates with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick through the belly of the date. Arrange all the prepared dates on a parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing at least a little space between each one for good browning. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until bacon is browned and crispy. Remove from the baking sheet and gently remove toothpicks. Serve immediately.