thanksgiving appetizers - 1

Here's the short story. My mom is an amazing cook. An inspirational woman in the kitchen. She's a lover of all food, just like me. She's the first person I call when I eat something amazing because she understands. For all of the above reasons and more, she does the majority of the cooking on Thanksgiving. With that being said, I have started to help in the kitchen a little more each year (last year I even carved the turkey!). An easy way to aid the chef, is with some appetizers. They are a key component to the Thanksgiving meal because they are the first thing anyone will taste! Here are a few of my favorites. I taste tested each this week - just to make sure they were Thanksgiving material.
This is my first time making homemade gnocchi and it could not have been easier! Fifteen minutes to pull together the dough and another ten for the cooking and sauce. You can't beat that for a hectic Thanksgiving morning. I'm thinking of serving in small bowls - just 3-4 gnocchi's for each guest!

Here's what you'll need...
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 cups flour - plus more for your work surface
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 tablespoons of shredded sage leaves 
2-3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt

Here's what to do...
Set a large pot of water to boil. Combine pumpkin, egg, nutmeg and salt. Add in the flour, a bit at a time, stirring to combine. Continue adding flour until the dough is firm enough to handle (it will still be slightly sticky). 
Take about a quarter of the dough and roll into one long rope, about one inch thick. Cut rope into one inch pieces. Repeat with remaining dough. Drop pieces of dough into boiling water. Cook until they rise to the surface (about five minutes). 
Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add sage and stir frequently until butter browns. Drain gnocchi on paper towel and add to brown butter. Toss to combine. Serve with parmesan cheese. 
Baked brie? Yes please! This one has candied pecans and brown sugar - 
in case melty cheese and flakey pastry isn't enough! 

Here's what you'll need...
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1/4 cup candied pecans, chopped
1 (8 oz) wheel of brie
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
crackers for serving

Here's what to do...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Defrost puff pastry and lay out on baking sheet. Place the brie in the center of the puff pastry. Place chopped pecans on top of brie and sprinkle on brown sugar. Fold two opposite ends of puff pastry together, then fold in other two ends of puff pastry (like wrapping a present). Apply gentle pressure to secure dough. Brush egg wash over pastry and bake for twenty minutes, until pastry is golden brown. 
This spinach dip doesn't need to be scooped, spread or dipped in - because it's conveniently baked into it's own bread bowl. Quick preparation and quick cooking makes it the perfect Thanksgiving app. Plus, it uses fresh spinach in place of the frozen stuff, which makes it more appealing in my book!

Here's what you'll need...
1 roll of refrigerated french bread dough (Pillsbury)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 clove fresh garlic
3 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese 
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of salt - to taste
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Here's what to do...
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin cups with non stick spray. Cut french bread loaf into 12 slices, about one inch thick. Flatten dough and press into muffin tins, forming small cups. 
Heat olive oil in skillet and cook spinach until wilted (3-5 minutes), add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Turn off heat. 
Mix cream cheese, spinach, sour cream, garlic, parmesan cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Scoop dip into each prepared bread bowl (1-2 tablespoons of mixture into each cup). Top with mozzarella cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese and bread have browned. 

Three more THANKSGIVING APPETIZER recipes... 
coming tomorrow!


  1. These sound reeeally good, almost too good ~ only on Thanksgiving could I have appetizers this rich and then a full meal! yum!

  2. Oh my gooooodness. You are amazing. I am officially hungry for Thanksgiving a week early, and at 7:00am

  3. WOW. These posts make my mouth water and it's only 930am. You're unreal!

  4. OMG. I'm drooling at the office. Pumpkin gnocchi?! who knew that existed!? MUST try all of these!

  5. Great recipes! They all look SO good! xo

  6. omg i want all three! that baked brie looks ahhmazing! thanks for the recipies :) xo

  7. yum that pumpking gnocchi!

    and almost that same baked brie app is one of my go tos!

  8. My mouth is seriously watering. I must make the pumpkin gnocchi!

  9. These look incredible, craving that pumpkin gnocchi like no other now!

  10. Everything looks and sounds SO good! I always make spinach and artichoke dip as an app on Thanksgiving morning...these cups might be a unique twist this year!

  11. Pumpkin gnocchi is one of my favorite fall dishes!

  12. These all look delicious! I just love spinach dip, though, so I must try this recipe!

  13. That BRIE!!!! and Gnocchi are on my mind - YUMM!

  14. The spinach dip bowls look to die for!

  15. Lara...amazing. I have to say that they all sound fantastic. Can we talk about baked brie...I die for it...so yummy!

  16. I absolutely love baked brie and I agree it's so so easy to make! YUM and that pumpkin gnocchi? I totally want some!

  17. oh my gosh i need to make that pumpkin gnocchi. well, not me, my mom.

  18. This looks so yummy but I don't think I have the skills to make gnocchi...

    - Sara @ Gameday Stylist

  19. Gnocci and brie in one post?! You are evil! :) This post is just divine!