"Spread" the Wealth!

The weekend will be here before you know it, and if you're like me, going to a friends house for dinner is quite often on the agenda. Here are two recipes for appetizer spreads that are always welcome where ever I go. Tuscan White Bean Spread and Goat Cheese Napoleon. Easy to make, and great ingredients to have on hand for that last minute invitation! Enjoy!

Tuscan White Bean Spread
2 cans Cannelini or Great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. olive oil
2 T Balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 T sun dried tomatoes, minced
1 tsp fresh minced rosemary, sage or thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend together until smooth, adding more olive oil or a touch of water to make it spreadable. Serve with toasted ciabatta bread, bagel chips, vegetables. This can be made several days in advance. Just allow it to warm up a bit to room temperature before serving.

Goat Cheese Napoleon

1 11oz. log goat cheese
1/4 c. julienned roasted red peppers (canned or jarred is fine!)
1 small head garlic, roasted
2 tbsp prepared basil pesto or 1/4 c. basil leaves, cut into ribbons
2 tbsp pignola (pine nuts), toasted
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic syrup, or good quality balsamic vinegar

Cut goat cheese into rounds about 1/3" thick. Put 5 rounds on a serving plate, top with 1/3 of all ingredients, continue layering until everything is used up. Serve with toasted ciabatta, pita or your favorite chips. This can be made in a round container and then unmolded before service. If doing this, start with the toppings and work your way down. Unmold and allow to sit at room temp for about an hour to soften.

Note: Here are the recipes for roasted garlic and balsamic syrup. These are great condiments to keep on hand!

Roasted Garlic - 4-5 heads of garlic, peeled, or you can buy peeled whole garlic cloves in your produce section. Place garlic in a small sauce pan. Cover with olive oil and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and cook until garlic is golden. Allow to cool. This will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for longer storage.

Balsamic Syrup

11/2 Cups Balsamic Vinegar (Roland Brand is fine)
2 T Brown Sugar

Stir ingredients together in a saucepan, allow to cook on a slow boil until reduced by half. This will keep indefinitely in your refrigerator. Great on grilled or roasted vegetables, meat, fish. and of course, Goat Cheese!


  1. I'm so glad you put the Tuscan Bean Spread recipe on here...I was going to request it:)...love this.

  2. Andrea,
    Can you post some recipes for "side dishes" that you like to make along with some of your wonderful meals? I get bored with the same old potato's (i will try potato love), noodles, rice. I am always looking for good ways to make rice dishes without having to overpay for the packaged products...when I make dinner, I need to make 3 boxes. Love all the great recipes...keep them coming!

  3. Me again...always unsure of when something "goes bad" that isn't clear by the date...for example, after you open chicken stock, how long is it good in the frig? How long is salad dressing good after opening? Spaghetti sauce in the frig? I realize there is a lot of different answers based on ingredients but a general idea would be helpful.

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