Who doesn't love a good appetizer? I have been known to eat nothing but a collection of appetizers for lunch and dinner. They tend to be the best part! My sister mentioned that I hadn't yet posted some of the ones that are staples around here. Sooo, in her honor, I am attempting to make a page of appetizers, starting with the ham dip in a bread bowl.

This is another recipe I had at my annual Christmas Get-Together with my besties from high school. We only get to do it about once a year, but when we do, we make the best of it. We cook food and eat and drink all weekend. It sometimes makes for a long Sunday drive home, but it's always worth it, and I usually walk away with a new recipe for an appetizer I love!

Bread Bowl Dip

8 oz sour cream
8 oz of diced ham OR ground sausage
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz cheddar cheese
4 oz can green chiles
Round Loaf of Hawaiian Bread (Hawaiian Bread Bowl!)

If using sausage, brown it and drain. Using a mixer, blend sour cream, cream cheese and meat. Then by hand, mix cheddar cheese and chilies. Dig out the bread in the Hawaiian loaf and scoop the mixture into the hollowed out portion. Wrap the whole thing in foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes...use the left over bread you dug out to dip - and fritos are good too.
I don't think I've ever had any of this left over any time I've ever served it.

This next appetizer is a cheese ring.  My sister-in-law makes it at almost every gathering, and since I've started to make it, I always get requests for the recipe.  It is really easy, requires no cooking and very little preparing.

Cheese Ring

2 c. sharp cheddar cheese grated
2 c. mild cheddar cheese grated
1 bunch of green onions
1 3/4 c mayonnaise (I don't use quite that much)
crushed red pepper
1 c. chopped pecans (I don't use pecans either)
1 small jar of strawberry preserves

Mix the cheeses, onions, mayo and pepper (if you don't want the pepper mixed in, then just sprinkle some on top when you're finished)
Pour into a dish or mold.  Top with pecans if you're using them.  Put the strawberry preserves either around the mold, or in the center of the cheese ring (you can scoop sort of a little cheese bowl in the middle to hold the jelly).
Use wheat thins to dip.

Very easy and very good.

Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

2 packs of fresh whole mushrooms (I used baby portabella and just regular ole mushrooms, the baby portabella ones were better)

10 oz chopped frozen spinach thawed and drained well

3 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chopped onions

Crumbled Feta

Grated swiss cheese or a pack of shredded Italian Cheese (that’s what I used for these)

Grated Parmesan

Pull the stems out of the mushrooms so that the cap makes a bowl. I did it with a tiny melon scoop but they aren’t hard to remove at all. Put them stems in a food processor and chop them really small.
In a pan, saute the onions in butter until they are soft and then add the spinach and chopped mushroom stems. When it’s good and heated, add the grated swiss or Italian cheese blend. You may need to salt this mixture to taste.

Lay the mushroom caps out upside down on a well greased cookie sheet and stuff them with the spinach mixture.

Top them with a little crumbled feta and then sprinkle parmesan over that. Bake it at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes and you have a delicious appetizer that looks gourmet!