Party-Perfect Appetizers

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is in full swing, and so is our social calendar! With a month full of parties ahead, we are excited to share some of our favorite holiday snacks that we'll be serving. 

First up, is a cream cheese and pesto torte that is as delicious as it is festive! Layers of softened cream cheese, basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes make a colorful and tasty addition to any cheese board.

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CREAM CHEESE & PESTO TORTE

Ingredients

  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
  • 5 Tbsp basil pesto
  • Fresh cranberries and rosemary to garnish (optional)
  • Assorted crackers

Directions

  1. Press a layer of saran wrap (we like using Press n' Seal) into a 6" cake pan.
  2. Spread 8 oz of cream cheese into the lined cake pan. 
  3. Spoon sun-dried tomato pesto on top of cream cheese, and spread evenly. 
  4. Spread 8 oz of cream cheese on top of sun-dried tomato pesto (it's ok if the pesto shows through). 
  5. Top with 2 Tbsp of basil pesto. 
  6. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, and up to 24. 
  7. Uncover torte and turn out onto a small plate. Peel the saran wrap off the bottom layer. 
  8. Cover the cream cheese (now the top layer) with 3 Tbsp basil pesto, and garnish with fresh cranberries and/or rosemary. 
  9. Serve with assorted crackers. 

Next, is a warm, cheesy dish that combines two old favorites, warm bacon & swiss and hot spinach dip,  into one killer (and slightly fancier) appetizer. This Asiago and Kale dip is easy to make, but takes a bit of time - prep the ingredients in stages to make assembly a cinch (OR, make it up to 24 hours ahead of time, then heat through before your party!). 

WARM ASIAGO & KALE DIP  (adapted slightly from Southern Living)

Ingredients:

  • 6 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, stemmed and chopped 
  • 1/2 medium-size red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (4 1/2 oz.) shredded Asiago cheese
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (4 1/2 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Assorted crackers 

Directions 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring often, 6 to 7 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in Dutch oven. Sauté kale, onion, and garlic in hot drippings 7 to 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add wine, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until particles loosen from bottom of Dutch oven.
  2. Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in Asiago cheese, next 4 ingredients, and kale mixture. Spoon into a lightly greased 1- to 1 1/2-qt. baking dish.
  3. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is hot and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes; top with bacon. Serve with your favorite crackers, crudites or sliced baguette. 

Make Ahead: Prep recipe through Step 2. Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temp 30 minutes, and then bake.

Finally, we must share our latest #snackhack - Black Truffle Kettle Chips from Aldi! You may think that a bowl of chips screams TAILGATE, as opposed to an elegant holiday soiree, but these chips are both addicting AND the perfect pairing with a glass of bubbly. We like adding a little freshly cracked pepper, and a shower of grated parmesan would also be a delicious touch. 

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We hope you enjoy these fun hors d'oeuvres. Keep in touch as you cook your way through the holiday season by using the hashtag SGPSavors!