Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Appetite for Appetizers

Lauren Marie’s Gluten Free
I must start off this post with an apology.  I am so sorry it took me so long to post this recipe.  It is one of my go-to appetizers that I make all the time.  I must admit, I am a big fan of appetizers.  I think it makes the meal a little more special and it's one of my favorite parts of a home-cooked meal.  To me, there's just something about serving an appetizer that instantly transforms a normal meal into a party, even on a weeknight.

And life's suppose to be fun right?

Every once in a while, I'll make something very elegant like scallops in a lemon butter sauce and a glass of white wine.  But most of the time, I want something fast, easy, and light so you still have room for dinner.  And I always try to sneak in a few vegetables somehow, whether they are raw, baked, or pureed.  For me and my husband, Patrick, the appetizer serves as a time when we can talk about our day while we munch and sip our small glasses of wine.

It's funny how talking about the stresses and details of our day over something homemade and tasty puts everything in the right perspective.

Another reason I love quick and easy appetizers is because of the "pop-in." You know what I am talking weren't really expecting company, but your friends are going to stop by, right now.  And you want them to, of course, but now you wish you had dusted the TV or vacuumed the living room.  Or is that just me? And most of all, you wish you could have something ready for them to eat while you chatted.

Well, I'll tell you my little secret...I always keep my fridge and pantry stocked with a few simple items to pull together an antipasto platter and a quick dip in a snap.  An antipasto platter can be anything you want, but it usually has meats (deli), cheeses, nuts, dried fruit, olives, and other pickled vegetables.  The Italians definitely know what they're doing! It's so simple! And my guests are always so touched and so impressed when its served.  It's almost like they feel more at home, which makes me very happy.

Most of the items, like the nuts, cheese, dried fruit, olives, and cured meats like Genoa salami or jamón Serrano will keep in the fridge for weeks.  And all you have to do is assemble it all on a big platter or cutting board.  Whenever I run out, I just stock up again.

My go-to quick dip is my Creamy Ranch Dip.  You can make it in 5 minutes or less and my recipe calls for ingredients that I can always keep in my fridge and spice drawer.  You can serve it with vegetables, crackers, romaine hearts (so good!) or even potato chips!

And sometimes a few appetizers are all you need for a light and healthy meal. Last night, this was our dinner: An antipasto platter with my Creamy Ranch Dip with fresh-cut veggies.  It was a perfectly romantic weeknight meal...with hardly any dishes! Now, that's what I'm talking about!

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