It's the holiday season, which in my neck of the woods means that we're partying up a storm. And the parties inevitably involve food. Lots and lots of food. I love cooking things that are a little bit different from the standard fare, just to be interesting. At the same time, I need the foods I make not to be super fussy because there are a lot of people eating and never enough time to do all the cooking and cleaning.
This holiday, the focus is on creating appetizers that don't require a ton of ingredients and are tasty and simple. Pillsbury has lots of recipes like this available, and they invited me to host a potluck with my friends that included appetizers made with their products. Now that's something up my alley (although I will admit that I don't generally purchase prepared dough, other than phyllo, because of so many of the ingredients and because it's not too hard to make myself - that said Pillsbury has introduced the Simply line that has more natural ingredients), and I jumped at the chance.
Preparing for the potluck was relatively easy. I just had to put drinks and other sides and desserts together, all of which can be done ahead of time and keeping me more relaxed. Of course, that extra time just means my house is a little closer to the cleanliness standards my mom tried to impress upon me when I was a child.
We had a ton of fun at our potluck, with each of my friends bringing a very different dish using the Pillsbury coupons and all sorts of tasty accompaniments making for quick prep for our varied and tasty potluck. We all ate until we were stuffed silly, and then we tried to decide what our favorite was. I think we all could happily have had any of the items again.
I made the Tomato Basil Cups that I posted on my regular blog earlier today. I used a recipe I found on the Pillsbury website - and wow are there a ton of recipes - as the inspiration for my dish, but ... I had to change it up, of course. It turned out really well, and I actually made it again when I hosted bunco this weekend. Let's just say I had more than one request for the recipe.
My friends brought other dishes from the traditional baked brie - with strawberry preserves inside:
And an awesome twist on bruschetta:
And a really good ham sandwich with dill and all sorts of original yumminess made by a friend who used no recipe but instead just made up her own awesomeness:
We had the pesto pinwheels, too, which are always so yummy and look so much fancier and harder than what they actually are. I know I had a photo of that one, but it's hiding somewhere on my computer, and I can't find it at the moment.
We loved how there are so many possible flavors for the appetizers, although interestingly we so often focused on Italian flavors. Apparently that's just my friends! In the end, I think the most popular recipe is the one I made. The flavors were great - not too rich but oh so satisfying. I liked the changes I ended up making, putting the basil into the filling instead of baking fresh basil atop it (ick - basil burns) and using cut up cherry tomatoes instead of a single tomato sliced across the top. And of course I amped up the cheese in it. How can you not?
There are tons more ideas for appetizers for all seasons on the Pillsbury site. If you're hosting or attending a holiday gathering, there are plenty of recipes including many with few ingredients and quick prep times. What will you make?
And yes, the widget has a coupon for $1.10 off any 3 Pillsbury products, just to make things a little easier for you. What would you make?
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In the interest of full disclosure, I received coupons for myself and my friends to purchase Pillsbury products for the potluck courtesy of Pillsbury via MyBlogSpark. I also received a gift card to help offset the expenses of the potluck party. That said, all opinions expressed are my own. Those can't be bought. Period.