Thanksgiving appetizers

I think that one key to pulling off a successful Thanksgiving dinner is to make sure that people are fed prior to sitting down for the big meal. Of course, there’s a bit of a science to it–you don’t want to serve too many snacks so that nobody is hungry by the time the turkey comes out of the oven. But you also don’t want anybody to be starving, making you feel rushed to get food on the table. Plus I’m pretty sure you can cram more food down your gullet if you have eaten regularly leading up to the big event. Because that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right?

Anyway, this year I’ll be putting out a few snacks to keep my guests happy while I’m cooking. I’m planning to do some basics, like nuts and cheese, but I also made a couple of my favorite dips: Sun-dried tomato dip and Warm crab dip. These go well with any sort of crackers, pretzels, whatever you have on hand, and they’re so simple to make. For accompaniment, I decided to make Everything flatbread crackers from How Sweet It Is. One note about that recipe–it didn’t work out perfectly for me, probably because I decided to use all whole wheat flour instead of half. The dough was very difficult to roll out, so I ended up doing it in small pieces (rather than baking one large rectangle and breaking it up). Either way, I highly recommend checking that recipe out!

First up, Sun-dried tomato dip

  • 1 8 oz jar sun dried tomatoes (preferably chopped in some fashion–otherwise you’ll need to chop them)
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 c green onions, chopped
  • freshly-ground pepper

Drain a little of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes, keeping most of it in the jar. If you’re using dry tomatoes (such as the kind that come in a bag), add about 1 tsp of olive oil to the mix. Add all ingredients to a large bowl (including a generous sprinkling of the pepper) and combine well with your hands. Allow dip to marinate for at least a few hours in the refrigerator before serving to make sure all flavors are combined. Serve cold–either free-form in a bowl, or shaped into some form on a plate (like a cheese ball). You could substitute roasted red peppers for the tomatoes (given my dislike of peppers, I never would, but to each their own).

Next up, Warm crab dip

  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 1 can lump crab meat
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 of a small onion, minced

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and use your hands to combine well (making sure any clumps of cream cheese are broken up). Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Serve warm (microwave, covered, for about 1-2 minutes) with crackers.

You can also use this dip to make stuffed mushrooms, which is one of my family’s very favorite holiday treats. Enjoy!

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