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Archive for the ‘Snacks’ Category

There’s a lot of times where I find recipes on food blogs and I think “That would be great for a party!” But I don’t host as much as I would like and though I would love to think so, appetizers cannot count as a meal.  If they did I would survive solely on Trader Joe’s frozen appetizers.  Seriously.

The most recent OMG I have to make this! incident came when I was directed to this site by my cube-mate.  My cube-mate who started cooking classes at night- for realsies.  I am so J. We have a daily discussion of “Oh, hey, did you read Pioneer Woman today?” Or “You need to check out Smitten’s new post.”  This is what we do to try and distract ourselves from the excel spreadsheets that define our 9-5 existence.

Annnnywho, getting back to the food- this site is amazeballs.  I love these girls- I love their food, their photos, these are the things I wish I could do all day.  I knew this recipe needed to be a part of my life asap.  I was also trying to plan a lil’ girls night with my ladies from grad school- the cutest girls to ever grace a finance program.  I suggested a night in- that way we could relax, save some $$, and actually have a conversation rather than yell over Top 40 hits and drunk Fund Accountants.

Happy Hour on Friday got pushed to Saturday and then it turned into an impromptu football party. (Yay Patriots in the Superbowl!!!)  I also decided that it was a good chance to explain American football to Irish Kate.  (I know a lot of Kates, and she really is Irish. Like from Ireland, not Southie Irish.) The menu-planning wheels got to turning, and I decided on the tart, sausage stuffed mushrooms, and spinach & artichoke dip.  All things I’ve never made before.  I was a tad nervous not using a solid tried & true recipe, but, really, how much can you mess up apps? I was also excited to spend the day cooking, but, I didn’t need to.  These were super simple, and after a quick prep session in the morning, things were ready to pop in the oven once my friends arrived.

I followed the recipe for the tart, and this recipe for the dip, for proportions and cooking time, as for the mushrooms- I used Ina’s guidance, but sort of winged it.

I started with button mushrooms, took off the stems and made sure there was room to stuff in each one.  I reserved the stems and chopped them to put in the stuffing.

Rather than sweet italian sausage I wanted to try the amazing apple-gouda sausage I recently discovered at whole foods.  Two birds, one stone.  Sausage & cheese, no need to buy more cheese.  However, as these are already fully cooked they are really hard to get out of the casing, so I needed a bit of help.

Thank you Cuisinart mini-prep.

To a skillet I added olive oil, garlic, the sausage, and the chopped mushrooms.  I think that’s it- I of course didn’t write anything down and it’s been a few days so I’ve forgotten the step-by-step.

Once that was heated through I transferred the mix to a bowl and added breadcrumbs, and a wee bit of parmesan cheese.

I then stuffed the mushroom caps- which had been mixed with a bit of olive oil and Marsala wine, since the recipe called for it, and I have a bottle on hand that’s not going anywhere fast.  I assembled these and put them in the fridge, and got to work on the spinach dip.

This is really too easy- spinach, artichokes, cheese, BAM!

Both are ready to go!

Once the girls arrived I got started on the tart- easy as pie.

Hello friend.  I like you.

Hot dip ready to go!!

Now, again, my skills as a food blogger are still novice, the tart was tasty and the mushrooms went fast I nearly forgot to take more pictures of it once it was served!

The night was a success all around- Pats won and we explained to Kate what a safety was.

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I totes cheated on this one.  I had a nearly full container of Whole Foods Nut N’Honey Granola, but I was tired of it on its own, and granola bars were the next best idea…

Granola, cinnamon chips, canola spray and the pan ready to go!

However, the honey I had to use to hold it all together was a bit, err, crystallized.  I boiled a pot of water and poured it into a bowl with the honey container and left it to melt.

When everything was mixed, I turned it out onto the pan and formed a sort of square, using a well oiled spatula.

Into the oven (350 for 20 minutes) and occasionally took it out and smooshed it with a spatula to make sure everything was sticking together.

And here we have granola “bars.”  Hmmm… we’ll see how they taste!

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