Start with something from the pantry

Published 10:33 am Wednesday, December 22, 2004

By By Lisa Tindell Cooks Corner
The holiday is upon us. You've got a party to go to and not one idea of how to make something quick using ingredients you have on hand. Join the club.
Salty snacks as well as sweet treats are always welcome at any festive gathering. So whether it's a family party, an office shin-dig or just a group of friends gathering to celebrate the season, these recipes are sure to be pleasing.
You may not have all of the ingredients needed for these quick-fix treats on hand, but they are readily available at practically any grocery store.
Tortilla Roll-Ups
1 pkg. 10 in. tortillas
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tbs. dry taco seasoning mix
1 tbs. sour cream
Chopped green onion (optional)
Mix cream cheese, taco seasoning and sour cream until thoroughly blended. Spread one tablespoon of the mixture evenly on tortilla. Sprinkle with chopped green onion if desired. Roll up jelly-roll style. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator and slice into bite-size wheels (about an inch thick) and place on serving tray. Serve with salsa.
I have found that these bite-size treats are gobbled up in minutes, especially if there are children around. I usually display this savory tid-bit in a chip and dip tray placing the salsa in the bowl portion of the try.
Most of my family believes that the more cream cheese in a recipe, the better. That's usually true. In this case, however, more is not really better. The filling in the tortillas should be a thin coating so that the rolls are light. Over filling will cause difficulty in slicing and won't be the prettiest presentation. Another hint is to use a serrated knife when slicing the rolls.
Bacon Roll Ups
Another good "roll up" is Bacon Roll Up recipe that I came across recently. This recipe is made with ingredients most kitchens have on hand at any time. It's simple, easy and a little out of the ordinary.
Bacon Roll Ups
1 lb. bacon
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 loaf sandwich bread, crusts removed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each slice of bacon in half and cut each slice of bread in half horizontally. Spread cream cheese on each slice of bread and roll tightly (cheese on the inside) wrapping one piece of bacon on the outside of the bread roll. Secure with toothpicks and place in a single layer of a medium baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until bacon is no longer pink and bread is lightly browned. Best served warm.
If your crew is more into dips with assorted chips, crackers or veggies, this dip may be a good alternative to the onion variety dips.
1 lb. bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
Mix bacon, mayo and sour cream thoroughly. Add tomato just before serving. Serve with toasted bread points, crackers or vegetables.
I thought this might be a change from some of the ordinary dips usually found at parties. I particularly like the idea of serving the dip with toasted bread points. Melba toast or bagel chips might be a good idea for this recipe accompaniment. One other tip on this one – you may want to try a can of well drained diced tomatoes instead of a fresh one. With tomatoes being sold at premium prices, I don't think the canned variety would make a bad choice for a substitute.
Other quick tips:
Place an 8 ounce block of cream cheese on a serving plate and it becomes a palate for many different ideas. The topping will determine the fame of the dish. Some suggested toppings for the cream cheese base are pepper jelly, flaked crab meat or tuna and cocktail sauce, salsa, chopped pepperoni and marinara sauce. You get the idea.
Hope you have the best party ever and that your dish is empty when you head for home. That is the best compliment a cook will ever receive.
Check here next week for some New Year's Eve ideas and traditions as well as some ideas on how to use up the leftover ham and turkey from your holiday meal.
Happy holidays and happy eating!

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