Parmesan Dip & Butternut Squash Crostini

Arcand-ChristmasWell, it is done.  A fast and furious hour and a half long cocktail party that I have been pondering the menu for for the last year, came and went.  As Selma from Night Court once said, “I laughed.  I cried.  It became a part of me.”

OK.  So I didn’t cry.  But it did remind me again how blessed I am to live in a neighborhood full of such fantastic people.  Wonderfully kind and generous couples who not only make living two states away from our nearest relative so much easier, but who also adore my children.  We are the youngest couple in our group by about 20 years, but the Lord knew what He was doing when we moved to this neighborhood, unknowingly giving our kids a dozen ‘grandparents’ to and hug and praise them.  This makes it not just a duty to host them this year, but a joy as well.  And the best part?  When it was all done, I got to finish off the night with dinner and dessert at two more houses!  Win win!Prosciutto-Fontina-Apricot-Appetizers-Brittany's-Pantry Butternut Squash Crostini is super easy and perfect for a crowd! {Brittany's Pantry}Roasted-Shrimp-Two-Sauces-Brittany's-PantryI apologize for some of the pictures.  It was late and I didn’t have a chance to photograph everything.  The food I did catch was in the process of being devoured so it is a bit untidy!

So what did we eat?  Nothing all that fancy, but hopefully it was at least interesting!

Rosemary Orange Mixed Nuts
Crostini W/ Ricotta, Butternut Squash & Sage
Crudites W/ Creamy Parmesan Dip & Green Goddess Dip
Roasted Shrimp W/ Bloody Mary Cocktail Sauce & Mango Sauce
Lemon & Herb Deviled Eggs
Apricot, Fontina, & Proscuitto Bundles
Gougeres (French Cheese Puffs)
Pickles & Olives
White Cranberry Spritzers
Pop, Wine, Champagne

The Cranberry Spritzer recipe is from Cooking Light and you can find it here.  The flavored syrup is made a day or two before and all you have to do is add the rum and club soda just before you serve it.  Perfect when entertaining a crowd!  The Gougeres, or cheese puffs, are an Ina Garten recipe and you can get it here.  I actually made them several days before, froze them, and then reheated them in he oven for 8 minutes just before serving.  They were perfect!  The proscuitto bundles,pictured above, were exactly what they are called; just a dried apricot with a piece of fontina cheese on top and the whole thing wrapped in just a bit of proscuitto.  Super easy, and can be made the morning of the party then just covered and chilled.  They are sweet, salty, and wonderfully creamy.  The green goddess dressing for the veggies was really good, but not blow your mind spectacular.  That said, I will definitely serve it again and I got the recipe for it here.  The Parmesan dip however was the overwhelming favorite.

Parmasean-Dip-For-Vegetables-Brittany's-PantryParmesan Dip
From Gourmet

1 c sour cream
1/4 c mayo
1 c grated Parmesan cheese
2 T lemon juice
salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Can be made a day ahead of time.  Serve with assorted veggies.
We will cover roasted shrimp another day, but here is the recipe for the crostini.  And wowzer, was it good!  Beautiful to look at and perfect for any fall or holiday party!
Butternut Squash Crostini is super easy and perfect for a crowd! {Brittany's Pantry}Butternut Squash Crostini
Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 large french baguette, sliced on the bias 1/4 inch thick
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced small
2 T chopped fresh sage
salt and pepper
1 T brown sugar
olive oil
1 c fresh ricotta
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Toss the squash, sage, brown sugar, some salt and pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil in a medium bowl until coated.  Spread into a single layer on a sheet pan and roast at 425 degrees until soft.  Set aside.  Mix together ricotta and lemon zest and set aside.  Recipe can be made ahead of time up to this point.  Refrigerate everything for up to one day.  When ready, warm squash just a bit in the microwave.  Toast the bread on a sheet pan in a 400 degree oven just until golden brown.  When ready to serve, spread a generous amount of ricotta on each baguette slice and then top with 4 or 5 pieces of squash.