Bacon and Tomato Cups
One thing I learned while researching appetizers is that if you have one of those mini tart pans, wontons and/or a reliable biscuit recipe and a wooden tart tamper, there are innumerable appetizers that you can make. I saw a hundred good ideas from mini tacos, lasagnas, pizza, salads, mousse, pates, you name it or if you can dream it, you can have an appetizer tray that will leave people talking and eating and wanting more.
I chose these for a couple of reasons. I wanted to have diversity in the color, shape, and ingredients in my appetizers. Also I thought they would work well served at room temperature (they were good but warm would have been better, I think) and because I wanted to avoid the sog factor (remember I had to travel three hours from my house to the wedding destination).
Bacon and Tomato Cups
8 slices bacon
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise **
1 teaspoon dried basil
Your favorite biscuit recipe or 1 (16-ounce) refrigerated biscuit dough**
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a mini muffin or mini tart pan. (I used baking spray).
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Crumble the bacon into a medium bowl and mix with remaining ingredients.
Separate the biscuits into halves horizontally and place each half into the cups of the prepared tins. Fill each half with the bacon mixture.
Baked for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Made 24 mini tarts.
**As luck would have it, I did not have an ounce of mayonnaise in the house so I used an equal amount of ricotta cheese.
**I'm not a big fan of refrigerated biscuit dough so I used a single recipe of my favorite homemade biscuits and used a walnut sized piece of dough in each mini tart opening. The wooden tart tamper is a wonder for this! If I remember correctly, the time was a little short, and I ended up cooking these an extra 3 or 4 minutes to get a desired level of golden brown on the biscuit.
Meatballs in Wonton Cups
No real recipe here, more of a how-to.
Have ready your favorite meatballs, rolled into mini size, all cooked and waiting.
Place wonton skins in each cup of a mini tart pan. (Or you could use biscuits again, yum!) You'll probably have to ruffle them in to make them fit into the cups, but that only adds to their appeal.
Place a meatball into each cup. Add a couple of teaspoons of your tomato sauce, a sprinkling of cheese, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes or until the wontons are nicely browned. I confess, these did not travel well; the bottom of the wontons were a little soggy by the time I served them, but guests were delighted to see something they recognized and there weren't any left.
I confess, I loved this! As a matter of fact, I love it so much that I made it again after I came home so I could have a bowl of it all to myself; Ole Sweetie-Pi doesn't like cranberries so I this is all for me, smiles. If ever you want something special to serve on bagels, this is it. I can't stay away from it.
However, regrettably this did not go over well at the reception. Perhaps it's because it's a spread and people didn't want to have to stop and fuss with it, perhaps it's just not good with crackers, perhaps because it's a little on the sweet side and doesn't go with alcohol, perhaps because it something that folks didn't recognized (like onion dip) and they were reluctant to try it. Whatever, the reason, I had almost half of it left over. Oh, well, live and learn.
Cranberry Delight Cream Cheese Spread1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons concentrated orange juice, thawed
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
1 orange, zest only **
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (can be omitted if you want it less sweet)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
Mix cream cheese, juice concentrate, cinnamon, and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in the orange zest, pecans and cranberries. Cover and refrigerate.
**I didn't have fresh orange zest, but what I do keep on hand is the dehydrated orange peel you can find in the spice section of your grocer's shelves. I added 1/2 teaspoon and it was delicious.