Warm Tomato Basil Dip

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There have been quite a few board and card games played around these parts this week. I’ve rocked out at Clue and Cranium Turbo (I especially love the sensosketch cards, aka pictionary-with-your-eyes-closed), but my sister totally dominated at Boggle. New Year’s Eve will be filled with even more game time, most likely of the Pit, Fluxx and Wii varieties.

Game nights call for easy-to-eat-one-handed dips and snacks and appetizers. May I suggest this dip with some crusty baguettes or French bread? It pairs tomato, basil and Parmesan, which is always a winning combination, and it makes plenty for 6, 8 or even 10 people to snack on. Make it, then enjoy while mulling over your next Scrabble move.

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Warm Tomato Basil Dip

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Warm Tomato Basil Dip

This dip goes great with crusty French bread, carrot slices or pretzels.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces neufchatel or cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced basil
  • Minced or shredded basil, for topping

Instructions

  1. Set a colander over a large mixing bowl. If the holes are too large and the tomatoes will fall through, line the colander with paper towels. Pour the tomatoes into the colander and allow the juices to drain for at least an hour. If you choose to do this the night before, place the colander and bowl in the refrigerator. Discard the collected juices.
  2. With a fork, mix the cream cheese with the Parmesan, basil and drained tomatoes. Divide the dip between two greased 6-ounce gratin dishes or pour into a shallow 8 to 12 ounce oven-safe dish. Place under the broiler for 10-15 minutes, or until the tops begin to brown. Top with additional basil before serving.

Make Ahead and Storage

The tomatoes can be drained the evening before serving. Just cover the colander and bowl with a piece of cheesecloth and refrigerate overnight.

http://www.savvyeat.com/warm-tomato-basil-dip/

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Chai-Spiced Mixed Nuts

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My favorite stadium or fair special treat is candied nuts, especially the pecans or walnuts.* They are covered in a crunchy sugary coating, and are typically served in paper cones slicked with oil from the roasted nuts. As you bite in to one, the sweet outer layer cracks to give way to a perfectly roasted pecan or walnut half.

Ever since my great success with candied pecans, I’ve been craving more. This time, I went with a chai latte flavor. Would you expect anything less from me?

* Actually, that’s a lie. Funnel cakes are up there too.

Chai-Spiced Mixed Nuts

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3 1/2 cups

Chai-Spiced Mixed Nuts

These nuts are sweet and crunchy, just like the kinds you’d find at stadiums or fairs. Any mix of nuts will work, though I chose to use almonds and walnuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted walnut halves
  • 2 cups unsalted almonds
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup chai latte mix (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250F and grease a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg white until it is white and frothy with soft peaks. Fold in the nuts, stirring until they are all coated with the egg white.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, chai and salt. Add the sugar to the nuts and stir until all of the sugar is sticking to the nuts.
  4. Spread the nuts onto the baking sheet. Bake at 250F for one hour, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes, until the nuts are dry and the sugar doesn’t come off on your fingers when you touch them.

Make Ahead and Storage

These nuts will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks when stored in an airtight container (if they even last that long!)

http://www.savvyeat.com/chai-spiced-mixed-nuts/