Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fabulous Friday Food - Holiday Appetizers

When I first started giving you all a recipe once a week, I just thought of the title “Fabulous Friday Food” off the top of my head. I know you're shocked. Titles are NOT my forte, that’s for sure.

Today, though, I discovered where I got it, at least subliminally. This afternoon I was watching Ina Garten and, honestly, I think she used the word “fabulous” at least five times in one sentence.

So when I chose “Fabulous Friday Food” I think I was channeling Ina Garten in some strange way. She is, after all, my favorite person on the Food Network. She’s one classy lady who is crazy about her husband (just like me!), she cooks amazing food (just like me!), AND she’s got a gorgeous house that I would love to live in. In the Hamptons.

Oh well. Two out of three isn't bad.

Alright. Back to reality. And food.

I know that many of you, especially if your last name is Target or WalMart, would like to skip right over Thanksgiving and move right on to Christmas. But not me. I love Thanksgiving. I would love for the spirit of Thanksgiving to live on all year long. Because, you know what? Thanksgiving is about nothing but being thankful.

It’s not about ghouls and ghosts and graveyards. It’s not about plastic eggs and chocolate bunnys. It’s not about tinsel or trees or trinkets. (I know the other holidays aren't about those things either. Just play along, will you?)

It’s just about being thankful to God who has blessed us all abundantly. Even if we’re struggling right now, we can surely think of one or two ways that God has blessed us.

So for that reason alone I love Thanksgiving, but there’s also the food. Oh my goodness, the Thanksgiving food. I love it so much. And I miss it. Because . . . here’s a little secret . . . I haven’t cooked it in years.

This makes me sad. (But I’ll get over it.)

For the past few years it has only been my little, beloved family of five celebrating Thanksgiving together, so, rather than waste all that time and energy cooking a complete Thanksgiving meal just for us, we’ve been going out.

We’ve even stayed in Chicago a couple of times on Wednesday and Thursday, heading out before the throngs of shoppers descend on the city on Friday. Do you know how cheap hotel rooms are on Thanksgiving night?! It’s been fun, and we’ve created lots of wonderful memories this way.

But it’s not your normal Thanksgiving.

This year we’re not staying in the city, but we are going “OUT! to eat!”. (Quick! What movie is that from?) We’ve discovered that Maggianno’s has a fabulous (channeling Ina again) Thanksgiving meal, so we’re headed there. I know it sounds strange, but they do a great job.

So where am I going with all this talk about Ina and food and fabulous holidays? I’m not really sure. But I do have a couple of fabulous recipes for you.

Just in case you need to take an appetizer to your Thanksgiving celebration (hopefully yours is way less pathetic than ours, full of family—cousins and grandparents and your great-uncle Louie who smells), here are a couple of my fabulous favorites.

The first is Hot Crab Dip which I originally found on but, of course, tweaked just a bit.

Take two blocks of cream cheese. Make sure they're room temperature.

Add some other stuff to it: mayo, crab meat (duh!), lemon juice, hot sauce (which I didn't have, so I just substituted a couple of sprinkles of Cayenne pepper), and Worcestershire.

Take two cups of shredded cheddar cheese and mix that into the bunch.

Save a little cheese to sprinkle on top.

Bake it for a while and voila! Hot crab dip. Serve with crackers because if you just dug in with a big ol' spoon, while it might be awfully tasty, it would look weird.

And here's a bonus recipe that I think I've featured on my blog somewhere over the years, but thought, since it's one of my favorites, I'd just give it to you again.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Three ingredients, that's it. Bacon, of course, and dates, of course, and blue cheese. Of course.

Take the pit out of the date (get the good ones) by slitting it open on one side and pulling out the pit. Replace the pit with a nice chunk of delicious blue cheese. Mmmmm.

Wrap these in bacon and dip into a little brown sugar and hold the whole thing together with a toothpick that you've soaked in water for a few minutes. Line those babies up on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake.

These won't last long. Especially if I'm around. I think I could make myself sick on these little mounds of deliciousness.

So there you go--two recipes for the price of one. Take these to your fabulous Thanksgiving feast and think of me. Or not. Just take them and enjoy!

Hot Crab Dip

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
2 (6 ounce) cans crabmeat
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Cheddar cheese, crabmeat, lemon juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Top with a little more cheddar cheese.

3. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

12 slices bacon, cut in half
24 pitted Medjool dataes
Blue cheese
light-brown sugar (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Soak 24 toothpicks in water for 15 minutes. Stuff each date with blue cheese, then wrap with bacon. Secure bacon with toothpick. Roll in brown sugar, if desired.

3. Place dates seam-sides down on baking sheet. Bake until tops are well-browned, about 6 minutes. Turn and bake another 2 to 4 minutes more, or until evenly browned.

4. Drain on paper towels. Let cool slightly before serving.

Soak toothpicks in water for several minutes to prevent burning.



  1. Am I crazy? Did you say that you're not doing the linky anymore? (And really, the question should read, "Am I a lazy reader?" not "Am I crazy?" I know that!)

  2. Thanks for asking about the linky, Mary. I think I'm not going to do it for a bit and see if anyone misses it. I usually only got you and one other person to link up.

    So I ask, do the readers want the linky? Let me know and I'll reinstate it!