I admire those of you who are taking the “No Eating Out Challenge.” I don’t really eat out often enough to make it much of a challenge for me to give up. Don’t throw things at your screen, have plenty of other vices to work on.
When I do eat out, I always look at the appetizers. It’s the price that stops me from ordering them. I can’t justify ordering something that costs as much as a whole meal but isn’t. However, I have had some lovely meals where a number of us ordered appetizers AS the meal and shared. (I have very wonderful friends who humor me from time to time).
If you miss restaurant food and want to make you own appetizer, here are a couple of tried-and-true recipes that will be almost as good as if you had ordered them. Fear not, this is not going to become a recipe blog. These are just favorites that I have made over and over and know you will love.
Hot Artichoke Dip
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup mayo (real mayo only, olive oil mayo works but not “light” mayo)
- 1 (6 oz) jar marinated artichokes roughly chopped
- 3-4 cloves crushed garlic (you can sub in jarred garlic but NOT dried garlic)
- 2 and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese divided (the real stuff, not Kraft. you may have to grate it yourself.)
Mix and place in oven safe dish (minus 1 cup cheese). Top with 1 cup Parmesan. Bake at 350°F until brown and bubbly. Serve with some sort of cracker or bread.
Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- 1 package of regular bacon (not thick, not thin, not precooked, I use whatever is on sale)
- 2 cans whole water chestnuts (you will have a few left over)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- Round toothpicks
Unwrap the bacon and slick the whole mass in half so that each strip is now 1/2 as long as it was. Wrap each water chestnut in a short strip of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Use the round toothpicks for this, the flat ones splinter. Cook them until the bacon is crisp. I put them in a 9×13 at 375°F for about 30 min. If you want to cook them on the stovetop, you can. Drain off the grease and do whatever you do with bacon grease. Mix together the ketchup and sugar and pour/glop it over the bacon chestnuts. Stick it back in the oven at 375°F for about 20 minutes or until it’s bubble and thick. Cool a bit before serving.