Finger Food Friday!!

I love finger foods.  Wings, chips and veggies with different dips - so good!  Last night we had finger foods for dinner, so I experimented with some new dip recipes and they were a hit.  Tonight we'll be having leftovers of everything; I honestly would eat the left over dips for days!!

The recipes for today include crescent wrapped brie, baked artichoke dip, havarti & green onion dip, and chicken wings with a homemade hot sauce.  Mmmmm....

The first thing I made was the Pillsbury Crescent Wrapped Brie.  Baked warm cheese wrapped in crescent roll dough - is there any possible way at all that you could go wrong with this??  Not likely.

Pillsbury Crescent Wrapped Brie
1 package of pillsbury crescent rolls
1 round 8oz brie (I used one small brie and one small camembert...they were on sale at No Frills)
1 egg beaten (I totally forgot about this and left it out)

Heat oven to 350.  Unroll dough and separate into 2 sections.  Firmly press perforations, forming 2 solid squares.  Place 1 on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Set cheese in centre of dough.  Place 2nd dough square on top of cheese and press around to seal completely.  Brush with egg and bake 25-30 minutes or until a deep golden brown.  Cool 15 minutes before serving.  BUT, here's what I did; separated into 2 squares and wrapped each mini-round in the dough, put them on a parchment lined sheet and baked 27 minutes.  I served this with the president's choice bacon marmalade (which really just tastes like marmalade) but any fruit jam would be great with it.  Delicious.

Next up, my mom's artichoke dip recipe.  So good.

Mom's Artichoke Dip
1 can of artichokes, drained
1c grated parmesan
1/2c mayo (I used plain greek style yogurt to cut the fat)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I grated a garlic clove in with the cheese)

Heat oven to 350 (works will with the brie, same temp and same  time to bake).  Blend up the artichokes in a food processor (I used the magic bullet).  Add mayo (or yogurt), cheese, garlic, and mix well.  Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes (I did 27, with the brie).  So yummy.  I served this with 3 different chips (blue corn, sweet potato, and veggie - all presidents choice), as well as cut up celery and different colored peppers, triscuit crackers, and ritz crackers. 

And yet another fabulous dip...

Kraft Hot Havarti & Green Onion Dip
1 pkg brick cream cheese, softened (I used the light cream cheese)
1 1/2c shredded havarti (I used the jalapeno havarti for some added spice)
1/3c miracle whip (again, I used yogurt here)
2 tsp hot pepper sauce (I used the home made sauce that I gave you the recipe for in an earlier entry)
3 green onions sliced (I did about 6)
Various items to serve dip with (I used the same as above; crackers, chips & veggies)

Heat oven to 350 (again, you can throw everything in together.  It's always great to choose 'like' recipes that can all be cooked at the same time as well).  Mix the first 4 ingredients until well  blended.  Stir in 1/3 of the onions.  Bake 14-16 minutes (I always choose a middle number, so this was 15 mins) or until heated through.  Sprinkle with remaining green onions and serve with crackers, veggies, etc.

And lastly, my absolute favorite...home made wings with hot sauce.  I also made a blue cheese sauce.  We used a combination of a few recipes for this (and for the blue cheese, there was no recipe), so I'll be as detailed as possible and try not to forget anything.  The cooking method is very important for perfect wings everytime.  Trust me.

Our Take on Perfect Hot Wings
about 20 chicken wings
vinegar & water
1c flour
1tsp seasoning salt
1tsp cayenne
Hot Sauce
1c hot sauce (I recommend Frank's Red Hot for this)
1c melted butter at room temperature
1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp of zest
2 tsp basil
Blue Cheese Sauce
1c yogurt
1/4 log of goat cheese
2 big T of crumbled blue cheese
1 T vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 chopped garlic

To prep the wings, throw them in a pot and cover with water, then about 1c of vinegar.  This is a brine.  It softens the meat, plumps up the wings, and ensures you will have moist meat at at the end of the cooking process.  Leave your raw wings in the brine for about 3 hours.  In the meantime you can make the 2 sauces and refrigerate (mix all ingredients together, that's it).

When the wings are finished in the brine, drain them, then pat them dry very well.  They need to be super dry.  I put them on a few paper towels and cover them with paper towel, and push down to pull out any moisture.

When the wings are dry, throw the flour and seasonings into a large ziploc bag.  Put the wings in, shake, shake, shake, and then remove the wings one by one and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Here's the third important tip for crispy wings - you now have to chill them for at least an hour, but the longer, the better.  So pop them in your fridge and munch on your dips and veggies.  You can turn on your oven to 400 now though.

When it has been at least an hour, put your wings in your 400 degree oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.  At 25 minutes, turn them all, and set the timer for another 20 minutes.  When the 20 minutes are up, you are ready to enjoy some fantastic crispy wings.  Serve them with your hot sauce and blue cheese sauce on the side.

So remember, 3 very important pieces to crispy baked wings - the brine, the drying process, and the chilling process.  You get these straight and you'll have perfect wings every single time.  The process is a bit dragged out, but it's so worth it.  Take my word for it.