Guiltless Pimento Cheese Dip
This is the first recipe I dig out when it is time to pull out the holiday party recipes. I was watching Miss Trisha Yearwood on Food Network a while back and I remembered why I loved living in the south – those decadent holiday appetizers! I know that Miss Trish has lost a TON of weight lately – she looks amazing – however there is no way she did it eating that mayo laden, cheddar cheese concoction that she makes. The pimento cheese spread is a southern classic – the nickname “southern pate” is cute but it is really more like cheddar crack – dip a cracker in and you simply can’t stop! If by some miracle you have leftovers, then using the spread as the “cheese” in a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch the next day along with a cup of tomato soup is heaven on a plate.
I have lost a lot of weight this year too, and I am determined not to gain any back over the holidays. I think this recipe substituting plain Chobani greek yogurt for the full fat mayo is a great compromise – it tastes just as creamy and delicious but you cut the fat by half. Try it with my new favorite cracker – Trader Joe’s Pita Bites – also a great choice for dodging the holiday party calorie gauntlet!
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
4 ounce jar pimentos, drained and chopped
6 ounce container Chobani 0% greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
In the bowl of a food processor, process all ingredients until just combined – about 10 seconds. A large mixing bowl works fine as well. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour to thoroughly blend flavors. Serve with crackers or as a filling for grilled cheese sandwiches.
Avocado Deviled Eggs
This recipe combines two of my favorite comfort foods – deviled eggs and avocados. I have always liked avocados – but living on the east coast made getting a perfectly ripe one hit and miss at best. I have an awesome guacamole recipe but the uncertain nature of finding the right avocados made it an infrequent guest on my dinner table. When I started dating my husband, I noted that he always had avocados laying around and used them in his salads every day. He grew up in northern California and fresh and ripe avocados were abundant all year round. I dug out my old guacamole recipe when we moved to California and have been looking for other ways to use these tasty and delicious fruits. Try this recipe for your next holiday party and you will be hooked too!
6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 large ripe avocado
1 tablespoon real mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cilantro
5 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
Paprika for garnish
Mash avocados with egg yolks and mayo. Add fresh cilantro, lime juice, red onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Fill halved eggs with avocado mixture and garnish with a dusting of paprika. Chill until ready to serve.
I have a confession to make. I collect cookbooks…I have lots of them. While I do love the convenience and ease of on line recipes – just key in a word and you have a plethora of choices- I love the “backstory”of cookbooks and how the recipes were created. The very first cookbook I was given has a great backstory. I was a flight attendant with Eastern Airlines back in the 80’s (they hired me as a very polished 12 year old ) and I worked with a great guy named Bob Feezor whose mom was a cooking legend in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Betty Feezor was the Sue Ann Niven of her day (one of the funniest characters played by Betty White, ever. Please check out clips on YouTube.com if you have never seen her in action.) Betty Feezor had a long running cooking and homemaking television show (from 1953 – 1977) and was the author of four cookbooks. She was one of the most popular public figures in Charlotte for many years. Betty passed away from cancer in 1978 but her enduring collection of classic southern recipes lives on. I will include a few of Betty’s recipes in this holiday page.
This is the first “southern” recipe I ever made for a holiday party. I’m not sure it is actually from the south, but but one of my fight attendant room mates was also from Charlotte, and if Sheryl says it is southern, then it must be so. I know that Bisquick seems to be a staple in every southern kitchen I’ve ever visited. This is a great holiday appetizer – easy to make and so good!
Southern Sausage Biscuits
2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup water
1 pound sausage (medium or hot) cooked and drained thoroughly
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sausage and Bisquick together, add water, then cheddar cheese. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on un greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on paper towel covered wire rack. Serve immediately, or keep warm in oven at 200 degrees. They may be frozen and reheated for another party but I doubt if you will have any left!
Red Pepper Dip
This is perfect for last minute guest you want to impress – so easy to make and tastes like you cooked for hours! Keep holiday staples like cream cheese, crackers, some good cheeses, nuts and jellies on hand so you can whip up something fabulous in a flash!
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup red pepper jelly (store bought or try this incredible recipe below)
red pepper flakes
Mix cream cheese and jelly thoroughly (process in a food processor for a few seconds is the easiest way), then pour into small serving bowl. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serve on plate with crackers and fresh figs or grapes.
This is the way to go if you like making your own – great recipe for homemade red pepper jelly from CityFolk Farmers: www.cityfolkfarmers.blogspot.com
1 lb red jalapenos, seeds set aside, stems removed (or green, or some green and some red)
1 1/2 c. cider vinegar
1 pinch salt
6 c sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (powder pectin equivalent: 4 teaspoons=1oz)
1 Tablespoon butter
Dry red pepper flakes to taste