* Raw veggies (celery, carrots, and grape tomatoes) with a variety of dips: hummus (store bought), parmesan pepper dip (made the night before), ranch dressing (store bought)
* Corn dip (Bestest's recipe! Made the night before) with Fritos (yes, even Fritos can be chic)
* Spinach artichoke dip (made the night before and baked before guests arrived) with tortilla chips, plus sour cream and salsa (store bought)
* Roll-up turkey and swiss sandwiches (store bought)
* Chocolate cream cheese cupcakes (baked early on the day of)
* Chocolate covered strawberries (made the day of)
Not bad for $119, huh?
OK so two more recipes from here that you must have are the spin-arti dip and the chocolate-covered strawberries. OK the strawberries aren't really so much of a recipe, but I have some little tips that make them a no-brainer. I tried to dig back through my recipe posts but didn't see my spinach dip. So either I didn't tag it well, or I've robbed you of this yummalicious, stupid easy recipe! I doubled this one for the party and I could've made more. It was a major hit - especially to the bride's mom who was apparently having a bad case of the munchies. She seriously asked me mid-party if I could "whip up another batch." Um, no.
Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayo
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¾ cup)
-Preheat oven to 375 F. Drain and coarsely chop artichoke hearts. Combine artichoke hearts, spinach, garlic, sour cream, may, and Parmesan.
-Spoon dip into a pie baker. Bake 20-25 minutes or until hearted through.
Yield: 10-15 appetizer
I also add shredded parmesan cheese to the top before I throw it in the oven. The dip is great on a shoe, but I usually serve it with Stacy's pita chips or tortilla chips.
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that anything made with a base of sour cream and mayo is freaking awesome. And the good thing is, you can do low-cal versions of dips with that base.
Now for the chocolate-covered strawberries, it's pretty simple. It involves strawberries and... chocolate. Like I said, there's no real recipe here, but perhaps these little pointers will be helpful to some...
-First, get good chocolate. Anyone can make these, but many times they aren't as good as they could be because they were made with crap-ass chocolate. Don't get that tub of fruit chocolate dip in the produce aisle. No, just don't. You want to get some good, dark chocolate. Strawberries are sweet enough on their own, so you don't need sickly sweet milk chocolate on top of that. The perfect compliment to a beautifully sweet strawberry is a coating of luscious dark, semi-sweet chocolate. Great, now I'm drooling. Plus the darker color is much richer looking against that strawberry red. I personally prefer Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. So that's what I always get. Get whatever brand you prefer, but even if you're not generally a dark chocolate fan - trust me here and go dark.
- To heat the chocolate, use a double boiler. Chocolate burns very easily and it smells like total ass - so you want to avoid that. I actually don't have a true double boiler, so I do the make-shift version with a saucepan and a metal bowl (see this ghetto double boiler below). Once the chocolate gets good and melty, cut back the heat.
- It's time to go dippin'! There's probably some fancy pants tool out there for dipping strawberries, but I just use my fingers. The most important thing to do first is to make sure your strawberry is good and dry before dipping it. I basically keep a heavy paper towel in hand the whole time to dry off my berries as I'm dipping them. The chocolate won't stick if the berries are wet. It'll just slide right off. So yeah, dry them off and then hang on to the green leafy part and dip away.
- After dipping, sit the strawberries on a cookie sheet or plate covered in wax paper. Don't forget that wax paper or your strawberries will lose their chocolate coats when you go to pick them up (I learned that one the hard way). When done, stick the sheet or plate in the fridge to cool and let the chocolate harden. They don't take long to harden at all, but once they do, they'll come right off that wax paper ready to devour. Mmmmm!!!
So there you go... and now I'm pooped. I'm off to grab a tres chic bowl of Cheerios and then I'm hittin' the sack. Have a good night, ladies!