I am not one of those beautiful hostess types. You know, the ones whom, when you walk in their house, you ooh and ahh over the splendor of everything? Yeah, I’m lucky if I get the house cleaned and food prepared before the guests arrive. I love to host gatherings in my home though. My friends know the house might not be picture perfect but they will get enough to eat and drink…isn’t that all that really matters?
I was having a wine tasting in my home this past Saturday. I’ve never been much of a wine drinker, but went to a wine tasting at a friend’s house a few years ago and fell in love with a couple of PRP International wines! I went from not drinking wine EVER to ordering a case of red wine. I still can’t go to a restaurant and order a glass, I won’t like it, but I do love some of theirs. I will have friends and family say they aren’t much of a wine drinker, I tell them my story, they try it, like it, and we laugh about it. I should probably start selling it as it is the only wine I buy.
As I was planning my menu, I decided I wanted cheese of course, but I wanted appetizer type food. I had considered meatballs, but decided I wanted cooler foods. It is June after all! Pasta Salad!
Simple, Fresh, Pasta Salad with Bacon, Cucumber, and Cheese
I really wanted pasta salad. Wait, pasta salad isn’t exactly “finger food”. My thoughts start spinning. I know! What if I made an edible cup to put them in? I had made Parmesan cups for Caesar Salad before but they were pretty time consuming. They were good. I was thinking about putting in the recipe I used, went to look for it, and came across this one! I HAVE NOT tried this, but it makes sense and is a LOT easier than the ones I made, so try it. Let me know if you like it or not. If I try it, I’ll update this post.
Back to my edible cup dilemma. I’m racking my brain and it comes to me, crouton cups! What a great idea. Except I have no idea how to even make regular croutons, let alone a cup. Would it be big enough? Would it even work? I’m patting myself on the back for such a great idea. Off to Google to look for crouton recipes. I put in “crouton cups” and site after site pops up. I realize I’m not so inventive after all. Cooks, real cooks, have already thought of them. I decided to not to reinvent the wheel, so I read through a few to find one I think I can manage. This is the one I chose to work make, never planning on making any changes. Now I had no expectation of mine turning out as pretty as hers did in the photo. She recommended to use a firm bread, nothing airy. Off to Google again to find out which bread is densest. The problem with that search is I kept finding out how to make bread less dense instead of which bread would be the densest. I wasn’t going to bake my bread, so I had to make do with what I picked up.
I settled on Sara Lee Honey Wheat Bread. I wish I could tell you why, but no clue. It just sounded the best for my pasta salad.
I get home and as I’m about to start making it, I’m trying to think of what seasonings to use to complement my pasta salad…and then it hits me. The olive oil or butter from the recipe are both liquids. The Italian dressing is a liquid. Why not change the recipe a little! It made sense to me until I put the pan in the oven. Then I panicked as I started smelling the Italian dressing. Can you cook dressing? Will it start on fire?!?! Am I ruining my oven?!?? All these thoughts! Now you see why I say I’m a messy cook, I normally follow recipes to avoid scares like this!
They were done!
Baked Italian Dressing Crouton Cups
And they looked croutonish! Success! Well, at least in appearance.
They didn’t look anything like the beautiful picture In the original recipe I used for a base. They looked edible, which is a start.
I let them cool while I finished preparing my other items.
I ended up serving gourmet cheese,
Gourmet Cheeses on Michigan Chalkboard Serving Tray
my pasta salad with crouton cups, deli spiral sandwiches, assorted melons, strawberries, and for my chocolate; brownie bites with cream cheese frosting available and peanut butter / Hershey kiss cookies. As you can see, I rely on Sam’s Club for many of my hostessing items! It’s easier and less time consuming.
Now, full disclosure, my guests opted for putting my Italian Crouton Cups on their plate and then putting the pasta salad over top, they didn’t really use them in the finger food style I had imagined….but they would have worked and they tasted great!
Great food, great wine, great friends….roll it up and you have success!
For the recipe for the Pasta Salad, click here
For the recipe for the Italian Crouton Cups, click here
If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz