Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Dinner, Appetizer Style: Stuffed Mushrooms, Candy Bacon, Pineapple Bacon and Chicken Wings

So, when you have 4-5 foot snow drifts to dig out from (and, THANK YOU to the kind neighbor who helped us dig out when a private plow pushed a 6 foot snow bank into our driveway!!), and you're spending the day playing on the Wii Fit, you want something to munch on! Rather than making a big Christmas Dinner for two, I decided to make appetizers for dinner. In the interest of full disclosure, I accidentally bought chicken wings with the sauce already on them, so all I did was heat them up. But, I did make the sauce for them!

Stuffed Mushrooms
1 lb of stuffing mushrooms, washed and stems removed
8 oz fat free cream cheese
3 TBSP dry Hidden Valley Ranch powder
2 oz reduced fat cheese, colby-jack or mild cheddar
OPTIONAL: Sometimes I cut up the stems and add them, and sometimes I add crumbled bacon

Place mushrooms in a baking pan, removed stem side up. Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese and ranch powder (and optional items if you wish). With two spoons, stuff the cheese mixture (about 2 TSP or so--depending on the size of the mushroom) into the centers of the mushroom. When complete, shred the reduced fat cheese and sprinkle over the top of the stuffed mushrooms. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan immediately, and place on paper towels until ready to serve.

Candy Bacon
Center-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 width
brown sugar

Dredge the bacon in brown sugar, coating both sides well. Place on a baking sheet line with foil, preferably using a metal baking rack so the grease drains. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure they don't burn.

Pineapple Bacon
Center-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 width
brown sugar
pineapple chunks
toothpicks, optional

Dredge the bacon in brown sugar, coating both sides well. Take a pineapple chunk, and wrap the brown sugar bacon around the chunk. You may place a toothpick in the center to secure the bacon around the pineapple, but I don't usually do this. Place seam side down on metal grate, or foil lined baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, watching to make sure they do not burn.

Chicken Wings
1/2 package of chicken wings, additional hot sauce if desired
1/4 cup Hellman's light mayo
1/4 cup light sour cream
1-2 ounces, shredded Parmesan cheese
Dry Ranch powder, optional

Cook wings until done, and add additional hot sauce if desired. For the dip, mix the mayo, sour cream, cheese and Ranch powder. Let flavors blend for 20 minutes before serving.

VERDICT: We had a fun lunch, and enough for leftovers!! Even though it sucks to be snowed in, we're making the best of it.

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