How often do you find yourself vegging out in front of the TV with a big bag of chips and some store-bought dip? Your vegging all the way – shoes off, feet up, flipping around the channels and wondering if there is anything worth watching on the Boob-Tube (Kiddo always snickers when I call the TV a Boob-Tube).
Let’s face it, most of us actually plan our vegging out time. For us it goes something like this: Get up; have coffee; make shopping list; gas up the car for the week; go grocery shopping; put away the groceries, do a little yard work, putter in the garden and then veg. Veg time is that dead time after the errands and chores or whatever else is planned for the day is done. It’s that wonderful; blissful time with NOTHING to do – nothing pressing; nothing urgent. While we might not realize it, vegging time is worked into our weekend schedule somewhere, be it an entire afternoon or only a few hours at the end of the day. It’s that time we allow ourselves to recharge. We all do it because we all need it.
Wouldn’t it be great if, rather than grab that bag of Ruffles and Onion Dip, we planned something for our vegging time? After all, we’re special people and we work hard. Why not reward ourselves? Here are a few make ahead; munch on later ideas to make vegging out in front of the TV special. Best of all, it’s all served up cold. Make ahead and have these great snacks ready when it’s time to kick off your shoes and call it a day.
Awesome Make-Ahead Snacks for Vegging Out
Cheese Ball Bites with Ritz Crackers
Cold Cut Roll-Ups
Crudites with Roasted Buttermilk Dip
Cheese Ball Bites
16 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese(grated)
1 finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped red peppers
1 tablespoon finely chopped green peppers
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Blend in grated cheddar. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or until firm.
Shape cheese mixture into teaspoon size balls.
1/4 cup Smoked Paprika
1/2 cup Finely Crushed Potato Chips
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Nuts
Ritz Crackers for serving
On small plates, spread out one plate of Paprika, one of chips, and one of nuts. Roll a few balls in paprika, a few in chips, and a few in nuts.
Place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Surround cheese bites with crackers and enjoy.
Roast Beef, Ham and Turkey Cold Cut Roll-Up Platter
Roast Beef Roll-Ups:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 to 3 tablespoons minced banana peppers
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked roast beef
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, cilantro, peppers and garlic. Spread about 2 tablespoons on each slice of beef. Roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight.
Ham and Turkey Roll-Ups
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
4 teaspoons dill weed
1/2 pound thinly sliced fully cooked ham
1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked turkey
For ham and turkey rolls, in another bowl, combine the cream cheese, carrot, zucchini and dill. Spread about 2 tablespoons on each slice of ham and turkey. Roll up tightly; wrap in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight.
To Serve: Slice the roll-ups into 1-1/2-in. pieces. Arrange on a platter and serve.
Crudités with Roasted Red Pepper Buttermilk Dip
Roasted Red Pepper Buttermilk Dip
½ cup buttermilk, shaken well
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, minced
½ cup roasted red peppers
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Add all ingredients Buttermilk Dip into a blender and blend until well-combined and creamy, about 40 seconds. Pour dip into a refrigerator safe container with a spout. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.
Crudités for dipping
16 Asparagus Spears (thin)
2 Carrots cut into 8 Sticks
1 Cucumber, cut into Sticks (peeled)
16 Sugar Peas
8 Shot Glasses
Trim asparagus spears to about 3″. Quickly blanch in boiling salted water, then plunge into an ice bath. Pat dry with paper towels and wrap in plastic wrap. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Peel carrots and cut into match-sticks about 2″ long. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Peel cucumber and cut into match-sticks about 2″ long. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Rinse and trim sugar peas. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
To assemble and serve: Pour about ¼ cup of roasted red pepper buttermilk dip into the bottom of each shot glass. Arrange prepared vegetables in each glass. Arrange shot glasses on a serving tray for easy serving.
Nacho Cheese Pinwheels
4 Plain or flavored Flour Tortillas (8″ round)
1/2 cup bean dip
1/2 cup nacho cheese dip
4 tablespoons chopped green onions
Spread each tortilla with about 2 tablespoons bean dip and 2 tablespoons cheese dip.
Sprinkle each with onions. Tightly roll up tortillas; wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour but no longer than 24 hours.
To serve, cut off ends from each roll and discard. Cut rolls into 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices. Secure with toothpicks if desired.
Baguette about 14-inch long
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz fresh goat cheese
1 large garlic clove, minced
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
½ cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped Kalamata olives
2 oz finely chopped spicy salami
About 2 tbsp minced Italian parsley
About 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste (very unlikely since there’re plenty of salty ingredients)
Slice off both ends of the baguette. Using a long thin knife and working from the both ends, hollow the baguette out leaving about ½-inch thick crust all around.
Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump-free. Beat in the goat cheese and garlic. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Working again from the both ends, fill the baguette with the cheese mixture. Pack the filling tight. (A a slender tequila shot glass for pressing the filling or long, slender ice tea-spoon works well).
Wrap the stuffed baguette very well in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours and up to two days.
Just before serving, slice the baguette into ½-inch thick slices and serve. For the most neat looking slices, treat it as a cheesecake – each time slice it with a hot dry knife.
Arrange on a platter and serve.
This is your special time – your down time. Enjoy!