Appetizers Fit For Turkey Day.

Today is Wednesday.

Today is the day we make our annual pilgrimage to our Nation’s Capital for Thanksgiving.

Which means I have one job to do: make the GD buffalo wing dip.

That’s right. Every year I make not one, but two batches of this overly addictive app. To please everyone’s palates, I use a sweet BBQ sauce in place of the buffalo in one of the batches. (Super easy swap—you’ll find instructions below.)

And because we are a society who LOOOOOVES appetizers (I know I do), I’ve compiled some of my favorites.

Make them for your Turkey Day, or any other day, and enjoy.

Buffalo Wing Dip
Serves a crowd. Or one Baker/Tracy boy.

1 container Whipped Cream Cheese
1 bottle Frank’s Hot Sauce
1 Rotisserie Chicken, stripped of it’s delicious meat
2 cups Ranch Dressing
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
1 cup blue cheese, crumbled and divided
2 celery stalks, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

Serve with: Tortilla chips.

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, saving ½ cup of blue cheese. Scoop into casserole dish; top with remaining blue cheese, and bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
3. Enjoy said wonderful nibbly with chippies.

**For BBQ Wing Dip: swap out the Frank’s Hot Sauce and blue cheese for any sweet BBQ sauce of your liking and one more cup of grated Monterrey Jack cheese.

Don't stop 'til you get enough.
Don’t stop ’til you get enough.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms

1 lb. hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
kosher salt
1/3 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
20 oz. button mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned of any dirt

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F; place sausage in mixing bowl; reserve.
2. Heat 1-2 Tbsps. olive oil in small sauté pan set over medium-low heat; add bell pepper; season with salt; sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes; remove from flame; cool.
3. Add cooled peppers and Pecorino to sausage; gently mix to combine, being careful to not to overwork the meat; fill mushrooms with sausage mix and place in glass oven-proof casserole dish; bake for 45 minutes; remove from oven; serve immediately.

Pretty little maids all in a row.
Pretty little maids all in a row.

Smoked Salmon Crêpe Cake
Serves 4-6

1 lg. vine-ripened tomato, chopped
1 8-oz. container mascarpone cheese, at room temp.
1 med. shallot, minced
⅓ cup capers
black pepper, freshly ground
4 6-” buckwheat crêpes
8 oz. smoked salmon

1. Combine tomato, mascarpone, shallot, and capers to large bowl; season with salt and pepper; using a spatula, mix until well-incorporated; reserve.
2. Lay out crêpe on work surface or large plate; spread 2 large Tbsps. mascarpone mix to edge of crêpe; top with smoked salmon and another crêpe; repeat two more times, ending with crêpe; cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until mascarpone is firm, about 25 minutes; remove from fridge; slice into wedges; serve immediately.

Garlic/Rosemary Pizza
Makes 1 Pizza

2 Tbsps. cornstarch
1 ball of pizza dough
2 cups mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
3 lg. cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsps. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
extra-virgin olive oil
black pepper, freshly ground

1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
2. Spread cornstarch onto pizza stone; roll out pizza dough to large circle, leaving crust to be 1/2-” thick; place on pizza stone; cover evenly with cheeses, garlic and rosemary; drizzle 1 to 2 Tbsps. olive oil over; season with salt and pepper; bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly; remove from oven; let rest 2 to 3 minutes; cut into wedges (or don’t if you’re into eating whole pies at once); serve immediately.

Pimento Cheese & Bacon Jam Sliders
Makes 24 sandwiches

Bacon Jam:
1/2 lb. good quality bacon, cut into lardons
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
black pepper, freshly ground

Heat small saucepot over medium heat; add bacon; cook until crispy; remove with slotted spoon; drain all but 1 Tbsp. bacon drippings; reduce heat to low; add onion and garlic; sweat 6-7 minutes, until translucent; add remaining ingredients and bacon; bring to boil; reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or until thick (a jam-like consistency); season to taste; reserve.

Pimento Cheese & Assembly:
10 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup mayonnaise
2 oz. diced pimentos
1 Tbsp. (or as much as you like) hot sauce
salt & pepper
24 mini brioche rolls, sliced in half
extra-virgin olive oil

1. Place cheese, mayo, pimentos, and hot sauce in large bowl; mix together; season with salt and pepper.
2. Spread reserved bacon jam on bottom of brioche bun; top with pimento cheese; close sandwich.
3. Bring 2-3 Tbsps. olive oil to low heat in large sauté pan; working in batches, heat sandwiches in pan until bottom is crisp and cheese melts; serve immediately.

These are not for Claire.
These are not for Claire.

Cannellini Bean Dip

1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 handful of fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, thyme, or tarragon
extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
flaked sea salt, for finishing
crackers or pita bread, for serving

Combine beans, garlic, and herbs in food processor; begin to pulse; with motor running, stream in olive oil to blended, creamy consistency; season with salt and pepper; top with drizzle of olive oil and sea salt; serve with crackers or pita bread.

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