Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Heros: Bacon Cups & Italian Cheese Spread

As the holidays are going into full swing, I have been thinking "what do I bring to so-and-so's" and having friends talking about what they're making for the holidays as well. I always get asked for the same 2 recipes every year so I thought I'd do the preemptive strike and share them on my blog. Enjoy!

Bacon Cups a.k.a. Bacon Bundles
These are so amazing - there are no words. You will be the rock star of the party guaranteed. I make a big batch - this makes 48 - 60. Trust me, you'll run out. You can make the filling ahead & refrigerate it (my favorite way to do it) or make them all the day before & reheat.
  • 1 package of lower sodium bacon, browned & crumbled (can sub peppered bacon)
  • 1 or 2 yellow onions (depending on size), chopped & sauteed until caramelized
  • 6-8 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 bag finely shredded yellow mixed cheese
  • 1/2 bag finely shredded mozzarella cheese
  • dried basil
  • mayonnaise
  • 3-4 cans refrigerated flaky layer biscuits (it never hurts to have extra biscuits - but I usu. only need the 3 cans)
Combine cooked bacon and onions (cooled) with tomatoes & cheese. Shake a bunch of basil onto the pile. Add enough mayo to bind the mixture together into a gigantic gooey mess (you won't "taste" the mayo - the eggs in it will turn it into an eggless-tasting mini quiche).

You have to have the flaky layered ones so you can split them apart. Separate each biscuit into 3 layers. Press them into a mini muffin pan to create a "crust". Use two teaspoons to add the sticky filling (one to scoop & one to scrape). Bake them according to the package directions for the biscuits.

Honestly, I add more cheese - (like the whole bags) but I am a cheesy girl. You can sub just about anything in this recipe, or leave out tomatoes or onions if you don't like them.

Italian Cheese Spread
We can thank my stepsister for this bit of deliciousness...It's not "cheap", but it is so good and you can make 2 spreads for 2 different parties, so I think that makes it totally worth it! It freezes and thaws flawlessly and is perfect to have on hand for people who drop by. If you have advance notice, put it in the fridge the night before. If you need it in a hurry - heat it in the microwave - it gets all melty, yum. It is at its best at room temperature.
  • 1 package of cream cheese
  • 1 container of feta cheese
  • 8+ slices of round mozzarella or provolone cheese from the deli
  • 1 small jar of basil pesto
  • 1 small jar of sun dried tomato pesto
  • LOTS of Ritz chips!
Bring the cream cheese & feta to room temperature. Thoroughly combine with a fork. Find a bowl roughly the circumference of your round sliced cheese. pour a TINY bit of oil from either pesto in the bottom of the bowl so it doesn't stick. Add a thin layer of the feta mixture to the bottom of the bowl and spread it thin & even. Add a thin layer of basil pesto (no more than a small spoonful - it's powerful) and a thin layer of tomato pesto on top of it. They will swirl into each other - that's OK. Add a slice of your round cheese on top of it. Repeat the layers like that as if you were building a little lasagna out of cheese.

You should build two at once so one's not gigantic and the other minuscule. Be sure you have a bowl with a tight fitting lid for the one you freeze for best results. There are disposable containers that are a perfect fit.

It's best if you leave it in the bowl for serving. Not only does the oil in the pesto make the layers want to fall into slippery collapse, it will run all over the place & not be very pretty.

Trust me, get 2 bags of Ritz chips for each dip you make. They put a lot of air in there...and you should have a small knife or spreader available (or 2 spreaders - people don't like taking turns with this one). If it's the first time you serve it at your house - you might want to wait to freeze your back up. You might need it!

So - happy partying. Let me know if you try either of these or have had them before. If any of you have tasted either of these from me, let the world know your honest opinion. If you have put your own spin on either of these post that too. What's your "holiday hero" food?


Anonymous kandice said...

ooohhh...bacon bundles... my mouth is watering just thinking about them...yum!

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Meg said...

I can attest to the fact that both of these are STUNNING

12:20 PM  

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