Connestee Cooks: Thanksgiving Appetizers to Wow Your Guests

Connestee Falls Cookbook Cover ArtCONNESTEE COOKS! is a cookbook compiled of classic recipes from the myriad of chefs in residence at Connestee Falls. The book covers a wide range of meals, styles and ingredients. The culinary diversity is shared in recipes from the book posted regularly here on the Blog.

CrabDip-Connestee-Falls-North-Carolina_WesternThanksgiving is without a doubt the preeminent cooking holiday of the year. There is no end to the ways we can celebrate and give thanks. It’s also a holiday that showcases the culinary diversity of our nation. Thanksgiving celebrations are like this country: a melting pot.

They also tend to be one of the biggest dining gatherings of the year for friends and family with guests showing up for Thanksgiving ready to eat.

This month’s Connestee Cooks post focuses on favorite appetizer recipes to help round out that traditional turkey dinner menu.

The first recipe is a lighter twists on a classic appetizer:
Sara Robinson’s Hot Artichoke Yogurt Dip
1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
1 tsp. Lemon juice
4 drops hot sauce
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese .
3/4c. plain low-fat yogurt
2 Tbsp. low-fat sour cream (can use mayo, but adds fat)
1 small clove garlic paprika

Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add first 6 ingredients and process until artichokes are finely chopped. Combine artichoke mixture and yogurt (at room temperature). Stir well. Spoon mixture into 1-quart baking dish; sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Serve with French bread or bread sticks. Yields 2 cups.

Next up a traditional dish found in many New England homes on game-day or bird-day:
Crab Dip by chef Ann Keleher
(Ingredients for three servings.)
½ c. low-fat sour cream
1 (8 oz.) tub nonfat processed cream cheese product
2 Tbsp. reduced-calorie mayonnaise
1 c. shredded reduced fat sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Tbsp. skim milk
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish
½ lb. Fresh lump crabmeat, drained
½ tsp. dry mustard
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
⅛ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. hot sauce

Position knife blade in food processor bowl. Add first eight ingredients. Process until smooth, scraping sides of processor bowl once. Spoon mixture into a bowl. Stir in Cheddar cheese and crab. Cover and chill. Sprinkle with paprika. Serve with crackers or breadsticks. Yields 3 ½ cups.

Our last dish is a very traditional recipe for homemade Hummus from chef Ann McKinney.
There is just no comparison between store bought and homemade for this one!
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), drained
3 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp.)
1 lemon, juiced
¼ c. tahini (sesame), stirred
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. warm water
Pepper to taste

Blend until pureed.
Dip with pita or other breads and crackers.


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