Amazing & Amazingly Simple Fall Appetizer

Looking for an entertaining appetizer that will disappear and have your guests or host scraping the bowl for? Well, this one is to die for.

While roaming the aisle of my local grocery (yes, I roam when I have the time) I spied these new chips from the company Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin. We started buying this brand because the line delicious and gluten free. Recently they have really branched out and experimented with some fun new flavor combinations. The pumpkin one really peaked my interest to use as a signature fall appetizer.

I opened the bag and tasted a chip, wondering was it sweet? Savory? Or both?

Both. The chips have pumpkin and sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice, but they are not sweet. There is just a touch of sugar in them but are dusted with sea salt and that balances the flavor.

I then headed over to the cheese department and my favorite cheese expert was there. We have spent countless hours together creating dishes that pair well with cheeses. We contemplated what would pair best with these chips as a dip and together came up with this combination. I have served it twice since then and both times, with all ages, it was extremely well received.

If you cannot find a whipped goat cheese, simply find the creamiest brand you can find, add a bit of cream and either whisk or use a hand blender to mix. (Do not use Feta, use Chèvre) You will be adding the chutney to taste, just be sure to not add too much. There should be a balance of sweet/tangy and savory. For the container shown in the photo, I added about 2 heaping tablespoons of chutney. Mix the two together and serve with the chips on the side.

This appetizer will be out for Thanksgiving in my house. I hope you enjoy it too.
Please, let me know what you think!

1 container whipped Chèvre Cheese
2-3 heaping Tablespoons Apple-Cranberry Chutney
Food Should Taste Good Pumpkin Tortilla Chips


Stacy’s Dip

As we race in to the Christmas season, I begin to look ahead to my families annual Christmas Day Open House. Since my husband and I were first married, we’ve never really had family living near us, so we have been free to celebrate as we wish. Many, many years ago, (too many to disclose!) we started the tradition of having other ‘orphans’ over for Thanksgiving dinner. This has now extended to our christmas morning Open House. For a few hours in between the flurry of package opening and Christmas dinner, we open our home to those who would like to stop by for one of my husbands famous Bloody Marys, and a snack or two.

I put out various homemade cocktail nuts, a veggie tray, some sweet treats and an absolute must is Stacys Dip.

Stacy was a gal who lived across the street from us when we first moved here to the iceberg they call Minnesota. She and her family were from Georgia (and subsequently moved back there) and had brought with her that warm, generous and welcoming southern hospitality. (something i think the natives here could learn a thing or two from) I am reminded of the afternoon our children were playing together outside, I had stopped in for a chat and she presented me with a glass of wine and in mere moments pulled together this dip. It warmed my heart to have someone so willing to stop what they were doing to spend time just sipping, noshing and chatting. It is a reminder to me, and I hope for others, that sometimes we need to stop the clock for a moment and take the time to smell the roses before speeding off again.

I think that is why it is the perfect appetizer to put out on Christmas afternoon, right smack in between presents and prime rib roast. It’s reminiscent of that ‘bus stop’ in time that was given as a gift to me from a wonderful woman across the street.

Stacy Dip

1 package of Jimmy Dean sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained (**GF see note at end of post)

1 package of cream cheese

1 can of Rotels tomatoes

After draining the sausage, add the brick of cream cheese and melt over a low heat. Add the canned tomatoes and continue to stir until it is melted and combined.

*I serve this with tortilla chips (gluten free), but it can be served with sliced baguettes or crackers also.

*I use the ‘hot’ jimmy dean sausage (see updated note below). In a pinch, you could use any seasoned breakfast sausage, but for it to be ‘authentic’ jimmy deans is the brand to use.

*You can substitute any market brand of tomatoes that are like rotels. The sizes of the generic brands vary, some being a little bigger. It just makes the dip a little looser, but will be just as good. I prefer the spicier version of rotels, because we like it spicy.

*Keep the dip warm in a little mini warmer of some sort. Mini-fondue pots, mini-crock pots or those little dip warmers that are set above a tea light will do nicely.

****(2014 note! Jimmy Dean Sausage is NOT certified Gluten Free. Substitute your favorite gluten free breakfast sausage for a GF option)