Our traditional dinner for Christmas Eve is a Mexican fiesta, complete with homemade tamales, tacos and enchiladas. It’s a family favorite, but truth be told: it’s a LOT of work.
Because of all the work I put into the main meal, the last thing I want to do is put a huge focus on appetizers or snacks. Ok, I know there is some domestic goddesses who would give just as much attention to the appetizers as the tamales, but that’s not me. I do like to have a few things available to keep everyone satisfied until the food is finished, but I’m just not going to spend hours…or even 1 hour…towards an appetizer. I keep them simple. Super simple.
Salsa Baked Cheese is that recipe.
One of the common snacks we’ll have at parties is salsa poured over cream cheese. This is kind of like that, but slightly elevated. A wee bit fancy, but not so fancy that you’ll forget who are.
Salsa Baked Cheese comes from my favorite celebrity chef, Rick Bayless, who can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. It’s a combination of cream cheese and goat cheese, with toasted pecans mixed in. The whole thing is topped with salsa and served with tortilla chips or sturdy crackers. While I’m a cheese-aholic, goat cheese typically isn’t my favorite, but I really love the flavor it gives to this spread.
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 6-ounce log goat cheese
- ½ package cream cheese, softened (4 ounces)
- 1½ cups salsa
- Optional: cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Crackers or tortilla chips
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread nuts on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
- While nuts are toasting, place both cheese in a small bowl and combine. After nuts are toasted, remove from oven, allow to cool for about 3 minutes and add to the cheese, combining thoroughly. Scoop into a pile in the center of an 9" inch pie plate. Smooth down and form into a round 5-6" diameter circle, approximately 1½" high, in the center of the pie plate. Spoon salsa over and around the cheese. Bake in oven until heated through, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, garnish with cilantro leaves in center, if you wish.
- Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.
Adapted slightly from Rick Bayless Salsas That Cook
Salsa Baked Cheese is my contribution for this week’s #SundaySupper, which has a theme of Holiday Drinks & Appetizers, hosted by Conni of The Foodie Army Wife. Below you will find a big list of festive holiday drinks, appetizers, snacks, and treats that will be perfect for your holiday parties:
- Glühwein from Magnolia Days
- Cranberry Fizz from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts
- Rosemary Orange Punsch from Galactopdx
- Candy Cane Martini from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Raspberry Hot Chocolate from Momma’s Meals
- Chocolate Peppermint Eggnog from The Daily Dish Recipes
- Jamaican Sorrel from The Lovely Pantry
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate Spoons from Chocolate Moosey
- Homemade Eggnog from Flour on my Face
- Moroccan Mint Tea from MarocMama
- Cherry Bomb from Noshing with the Nolands
- Wassail from There And Back Again
- Cranberry Sparkler Mocktail from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Pomegranate Cosmo from Supper For A Steal
- Poinsettia Mimosas from Big Bear’s Wife
- Mulled Wine: Spiked and Steamy from Daddy Knows Less
- Poinsettia Cocktails from The Catholic Foodie
- The Red Carpet Diva from Cooking Underwriter
Holiday Appetizers or Hors d’oeuvres
- Cheese Ball Wreath from The Meltaways
- Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tarts from My Catholic Kitchen
- Prosciutto Goat Cheese Rolls with Fig Preserves and Arugula from Shockingly Delicious
- Muenster and Spinach Pinwheels from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Smoked Salmon Blinis with Cranberry-Spiced Feta from Chattering Kitchen
- Sticky Wholegrain Mustard & Ginger Cocktail Sausages from girlichef
- Potato Leek Soup from What Smells So Good
- Cheesy Mushroom Pull Apart Bread from Small Wallet Big Appetite
- 5 Quick & Easy Appetizers for Your Holiday Party from Webicurean
- Bacon Peanut Caramel Corn from Gotta Get Baked
- Crostini topped with Voodoo Chicken Cream Dip from Country Girl in the Village
- Mushroom Strudel from Vintage Kitchen
- Roxanne’s Shrimp & Andouille Sausage Queso Dip from The ROXX Box
- Herbed Holiday Party Mix from Curious Cuisiniere
- Old fashioned Swedish Meatballs from I Run For Wine
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Bites from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Fried Green Beans with Wasabi Ranch from Juanita’s Cocina
- Salsa Baked Cheese from Home Cooking Memories
- Cookie Dough Dip from The Cookie-A-Day Challenge
- Parmesan Onion Rounds from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Lip-smacking Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs from In The Kitchen with KP
- Hot Spinach Parmesan Dip from Comfy Cuisine
- Indian Spiced Tuna Balls from Soni’s Food
- Onion marmalade with Bacon from Ruffles and Truffles
- Sweet Potato Dip from Mama’s Blissful Bites
- Festive Cucumber & Ginger Sushi Rolls from The Ninja Baker
- Baked Jalapeno Popper Ranch Dip from Weekend Gourmet
- Baked Brie from Family Foodie
- Hoisin Asisan Meatballs from Damn Delicious