Sunday, July 5, 2009

Party Snacks, Part II

As promised, here are two more appetizers that fall into the Savory (and Simple) Category. I really meant to get them posted early yesterday morning in case anyone was looking for a simple party appetizer for the 4th of July. But, there are opportunities aplenty for cool, light, and refreshing snacks for the summer ahead!

Marinated Cheese Squares

1 (.7 oz.) envelope Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp. minced green onion
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, thoroughly chilled for easy slicing
1 (8 oz.) block Monterey Jack cheese, chilled
1 (8 oz.) block Cheddar cheese, chilled
1/2 cup chopped pimiento or jarred red bell peppers, chopped
Assorted crackers

Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Then cut the blocks of Jack, Cheddar, and cream cheese in half lengthwise. Follow by cutting each half crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Arrange cheese slices in rows in a shallow baking dish, alternating the Jack, Cheddar, and cream cheese. Pour the marinade over the cheese. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours (I love preparing things way ahead of party time!).

Pour off marinade and arrange cheese rows on a serving platter. Top with pimiento or jarred red bell peppers. Serve with butter knife and assorted nibbles.

Greek Tomato Chillers

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
4 oz. feta cheese
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp dried oregano
salt and pepper

Cut off tops of washed, cherry tomatoes. Scoop out pulp (if using grape tomatoes, which are quite a bit narrower and smaller than cherry tomatoes, I find it easier to use a grapefruit spoon or the handle end of a teaspoon to get in there and scoop out the pulp). Turn upside down on paper towel and let drain. Mix cheese and onion and spoon into tomato cups (your fingers make a better spoon here -- freshly washed fingers, of course!) Combine oil, vinegar, oregano, and add salt and pepper to your liking. Spoon marinade over tomatoes. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes before serving.

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