It's Party Time: Easy Party Dishes

This time of year is always a time of fun, laughter, and general partying for a lot of people. I have a number of upcoming parties to attend, some of which require food. As a pescatarian, I hate having to bring something like a veggie plate because it's so boring, and it really doesn't highlight the wonderful tastes that can come from a variety of meat-free options. I brought the dishes below to a cabaret my sorority held last week. Both dishes were a hit! I got the recipes from College Vegetarian Cooking by Megan and Jill Carle. I hope you enjoy these easy vegetarian party dishes to get you through the holidays...

Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella
Makes about 40 pieces



1 lb French Baguette *Ask to get it sliced at the  counter and save yourself some time
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tomatoes *I used roma
4 cloves garlic
8 oz. mozzarella cheese
2/3 oz. fresh basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 red onion *I added this in because I LOVE onion

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the baguette into 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet. Brush the bread with olive oil and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light brown. Peel one of cloves of garlic and rub it over warm bread slices.

Cut the mozzarella into 1/4-inch cubes. Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds by scraping them out of the tomato with a small tool or your finger, and dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Coarsely chop the basil. Peel and finely chop the remaining 3 cloves garlic or pass through a garlic press.

Combine the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and chopped garlic in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spoon some of the tomato mixture onto each piece of toasted bread and serve immediately.

I loved this appetizer, I'm so happy I now know how to make my own homemade bruschetta! This  is a definite winner!

Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Makes about 4 cups
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts
1 cup frozen chopped spinach
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 clove garlic
Crackers or pita chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Drain the artichoke hearts and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Peel and finely chop the garlic, or pass it through a garlic press.

Place the artichokes, garlic, spinach, mayo, mozzarella and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and the onion in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon into an ungreased 8-inch square baking pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it just begins to bubble on the edges. Serve warm with crackers or pita chips on the side.

I served this with pita chips, and I forgot to add the Parmesan cheese. However, it was still ok, I think there was a little too much mayo for my taste buds, but bf liked it. I definitely think the Parmesan may balance out the extra mayo flavor. This one deserves another try!

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