Caroline Cooks, Susie Drinks! Part 1

I partnered with one of my blogger friends, Susie Drinks Dallas, for a little “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.” Okay, that sounded better in my head. What I mean is, I showed her how to make my favorite party appetizers and she showed me how to make some crowd-pleasing cocktails.

Growing up, my mom was not much of a cook, but she was ALWAYS ready to entertain. We always had a fridge full of gourmet cheeses and some go-to party foods just in case I had friends over or she entertained her girlfriends. I absolutely loved that about my mom and they say we turn into our parents, so I always giggle when my friends come over and say I have the best party foods in my fridge (mostly cheese … I’m a cheese freak).

So, in honor of my love of cheese, I decided to make my delish crock-pot artichoke dip and my haute pocket for Susie. The crock-pot spinach artichoke dip is a little more involved than the haute pocket, so it requires a little more preparation. But it’s great for when you have invited guests coming over!

Spinach Artichoke Dip

-1 10 oz bag of frozen spinach (thawed)

-1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

-1 8 oz brick of cream cheese (low-fat if you’d like) cut into 1-inch cubes

-1 cup light sour cream or Greek Yogurt, if you prefer

-1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

-1/3 cup finely-chopped white onion

-4 cloves garlic, minced

-salt and pepper

-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, sour cream/yogurt, mozzarella cheese, onion, and salt and pepper together. You can use a separate bowl or just do it right in your crock-pot. When combined, layer Parmesan cheese on top. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 2 hours.

What’s fun about this dip is you can use anything to scoop up the yumminess. Tortilla chips, pita chips, or crackers are go-tos but if you’re trying to go low carb (like I am), I use celery, carrots and cucumbers. I stole this idea from Hillstone/Houston’s (my fave), but you can also serve it with a side of sour cream and your favorite salsa! And, if by some slim chance you have leftovers, add it on top of your grilled chicken for a delish low-carb dinner!

The “Haute Pocket”

I call this beauty a haute pocket because I whipped it up for some girlfriends who came over for drinks at the last minute. One of the girls said it was like a really fancy hot pocket. And I said, “Yeah, it’s a ‘haute pocket’!”

Here’s what you’ll need

-1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry (defrosted). This can be a little hard to find at the grocery store if you don’t know where to find it. It’s in the frozen section by the pies.

-2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon because I’m fancy like that!)

-1 package salami (I use the Boar’s Head precut) but you could use pepperoni if you prefer

-1 cup mozzarella (You could substitute with your favorite white, mild cheese … gouda and gruyere are both yummy in this recipe)

-1 beaten egg with 1 Tablespoon of water for egg wash

Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees. Grab one of your puff pastry sheets and spread it out on a greased cookie sheet. Spread your Dijon mustard to cover the whole sheet. Next, lay out the salami/pepperoni in layers until it fills the sheet, then add your mozzarella cheese on top. Put the other sheet of puff pastry on top pressing on the sides to make it one big beautiful haute pocket and place it in the fridge for 15 minutes. When you take it out, cut the edges off. If you are pressed for time, you can skip this step, but it makes it easier to cut when it’s done if you cut the edges off. Add your egg wash on the top using your hands or a kitchen brush (it makes it so pretty and fluffy!). Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes and voila! Let it rest for about five minutes before cutting it so it has time to set.

Wasn’t that easy? Also, instead of a quick appetizer, you can pair this with a Caesar salad and make it dinner! Whichever you decide, you’ll look like a gourmet! Enjoy!

xo,

Caroline Cradick

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