I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Ours was nice, although not quite as perfect as I'd planned. I came down with a terrible stomach virus on Christmas Eve, which thankfully passed quickly but left me feeling weak and exhausted and not nearly as motivated as I'd hoped to be. The boys still had a ton of fun, though, and that's what really counts. We got to spend lots of quality time with the people we love, and I feel so very blessed, if a little queasy. :)
I thought, for the rest of this week, I'd share a few appetizer recipes with you in preparation for New Year's Eve. Although Joe and I are just going to have a low-key evening at home, I know lots of people host or attend parties. I hosted a couple of Christmases this year (one in the wake of a stomach bug! I certainly deserve a medal for that!), and I want to share some of the dishes I made. Unfortunately, a couple of the especially delicious ones didn't get photographed, but that just means I get to make them again, which I am more than happy to do.
First up is this marinated cheese tray, which may sound a little strange, but is so very good. Our guests couldn't stop eating this, and neither could I! You mix together a marinade just like you would for meat, but you use it for slices of cheese instead, so the cheese soaks up all of those wonderful flavors. The recipe calls for cheddar, Monterey Jack, and cream cheese, and believe it or not, the cream cheese was my least favorite element. Next time I make this (and there will be a next time!), I'll use pepper jack instead of cream cheese. This is such a simple, tasty, and pretty appetizer.
1 0.7-ounce envelope Italian dressing mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 green onions, minced
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 8-ounce block Monterey Jack cheese, chilled
1 8-ounce block cheddar cheese, chilled
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, chilled
1 4-ounce jar chopped pimiento, drained
1. Whisk together first 6 ingredients. Set aside.
2. Cut Monterey Jack cheese in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Repeat with cheddar cheese and cream cheese.
3. Arrange cheese in 4 rows in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, alternating Monterey Jack cheese, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese. Pour marinade over cheese. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.
4. Drain marinade; arrange cheese on a platter in rows. Top with pimiento, and serve with assorted crackers.