The Crab and the Artichoke

This is one of my go-to appetizer dips because it’s easy to make and is a crowd favorite! Sometimes I sub chopped spinach for either the artichokes or the crab depending on who I’m feeding. You can make this dip your own by adding whatever you like once you’ve made the “base” in Step 1. No matter which direction you choose to take, try the original version first because I think you’ll agree, it belongs in everyone’s recipe book! Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1, 8oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 1, 14oz can of artichokes in water, drained and quartered
  • 8oz lump crab meat, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup Panko style bread crumbs
  • 1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, blend together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheeses, garlic and pepper using a rubber spatula.
  2. Fold in the quartered artichokes and the crab meat and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt butter and add bread crumbs. Toast until slightly golden over low-medium heat. Remove from heat, add the Old Bay and mix.
  4. Transfer crab and artichoke mixture to an oven safe dish. Top with seasoned breadcrumbs and cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 – 10 more minutes until crumbs brown and dip bubbles.
  5. Let cool for a few minutes; dip with be red hot! Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with your favorite crackers!

Sweet Potato Pie Bites

It may be too late to make these for Thanksgiving today, but Christmas is coming, lol!!!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen

  • 4 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 roll of Crescents baking dough
  • 72 mini marshmallows
  • 24 whole pecans

Directions:

  1. Wash, pierce and microwave the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes on high.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Scoop the insides of each sweet potato into the bowl (take care, they may be hot!) and mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Unroll Crescents baking dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to gently flatten. Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 24 small squares.
  5. Lightly grease a 24 mini cupcake pan. Gently press a dough square into each well.
  6. Fill each with approximately 1 tbsp of the sweet potato mixture.
  7. Top each with 3 marshmallows and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, top each with a pecan and bake an additional 3 minutes. Serve warm!

*Original recipe by delish.com 

Mini Shepherds Pies

These tiny treasures were a big hit at our St. Patty’s Day party yesterday!  I took some time saving short cuts because I was busy making several other dishes from scratch, but none of my guests were the wiser!  Do your self a favor and don’t wait until next St. Patty’s Day to make them!

Ingredients: Makes 24 appetizer size pies

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 85% lean)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1, 14 oz jar beef gravy
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas and carrots mixed
  • 1, 8 oz family size package instant mashed potatoes (I used roasted garlic flavored)
  • 3 thawed pre-made pie crusts at room temperature
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Brown your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat, adding the garlic and onion powder as well as the thyme as it cooks.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Once browned, add the frozen peas and carrots and stir to incorporate.  Add the jar of gravy and mix well.  Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes then cover and set aside off the heat.
  3. Prepare the instant mashed potatoes as directed on the package.  Set aside, covered.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. On a floured surface, unwrap, unroll and roll out pie crust dough using a rolling pin.  Take care not to press too firmly or to roll the dough out to thin.
  6. Generously spray two standard sized 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray. Using a jar or glass with a diameter that is larger than that of your muffin cups, cut out circles or “rounds” from the dough.  I can get about 8 from each pie crust, if I re-roll the “scraps” into a new sheet of dough.
  7. Gently press each pie round into a grease muffin cup.  They will not come up the sides completely and that is ok.  Bake for 6-8 minutes until they begin to brown.
  8. Remove mini pie crusts from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.  Uncover the meat mixture and the potatoes.  Everything will still be warm so take care while building each mini pie.
  9. Carefully remove each mini pie crust using your fingers and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Fill each with approximately 1 – 2 tbsp of the meat mixture.  Follow by topping each with 1 – 2 tbsp of mashed potatoes.  Pop the cookie sheet into the oven for 6 – 8 minutes allowing the crust to finish baking and the potatoes to develop a slight crust.
  10. Let cool only a few minutes before serving, as these are best served warm!

Suggestions:

  • Use left over gravy or make your own using beef stock.
  • Same goes with the potatoes… I’d say you need approximately 2 lbs worth.
  • I had left over meat and potatoes after this recipe and probably could have made another 8 – 12 mimi pies (if I had defrosted another pie crust), but I wasn’t prepared!  So instead, I assembled a small shepherds pie sans crust in a casserole dish which I froze for another time!
  • Lastly, I made these ahead of time, stored them at room temp and then popped them in a warm over for 5 minutes when my guests arrived to heat them back up.  worked like a charm!