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The prettiest appetizer you'll make all year!

Well, this is going to be the prettiest appetizer you'll make all year. It looks so complicated but it's actually so easy!  It's A Pull Apart Christmas Tree Appetizer with Puff Pastry filled Christmas Presents under the tree!!  
It's some spinach dip, cheese and two pieces of Puff Pastry or two rolls of pizza dough.  It'll be a fun way to kick off Christmas eating!!
Jan D'Atri

Christmas Tree Appetizer

Ingredients:2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil1 (10 oz. package) baby spinach (about 5-6 cups)½ large sweet yellow onion, diced2 cloves garlic, minced1 heaping tablespoon Knorr Vegetable Soup mix or Ranch Dressing mix1 (8oz) package cream cheese, room temperature1 cup shredded Parmesan1 cup shredded cheddar4-5 pieced bacon, cooked crisp and chopped2 sheets of puff pastry or 2 sheets of refrigerated pizza dough½ teaspoon salt, garlic salt or seasoning salt of your choice2 tablespoons butter, melted1 pint cherry tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained

Directions:In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent.Add baby spinach, stirring to combine. When spinach has wilted, about 3-4 minutes, add seasoning mix (Vegetable Soup or Ranch Dressing mix.) Mix and set aside to cool. When cooled, place spinach in a bowl and mix in cream cheese and parmesan cheese, stirring well to combine.

Place first puff pastry sheet on a cutting board. Using a ruler or by hand, cut pastry sheet in a long triangle, the shape of a Christmas tree. Remove the right and left side of the triangle that has been cut away and set aside. 

Spoon all but ½ cup of the spinach mixture over the puff pastry triangle, leaving ¼ inch border. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over spinach on the triangle.

Make another triangle with the second puff pastry, reserving the right and left side that has been cut away. Place the second triangle over the spinach tree and stretch to cover the spinach. Gently press down around the edges to seal. Using a sharp knife, make the Christmas tree branches by cutting approximately 1 inch horizontal slices down the right and left side of the tree leaving the middle of the tree (the trunk) intact. Carefully lift each branch and twist it once or twice. Make a tree base out of reserved dough and tuck it into the bottom of the tree.

Using some of the reserved puff pastry dough, cut 5-6 stars with a small star cookie cutter or by hand. Attach to tree in various spot, using a tiny bit of water to “glue” stars to the tree. Brush melted butter over the entire tree and stars and sprinkle with seasoning salt of your choice. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. With the remainder of the reserved puff pastry, cut into 2 inch squares and place in mini muffin or tart tins. Spoon a small amount of spinach mixture into the squares. Sprinkle a small amount of bacon on spinach and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Top with a half a cherry tomato or a few pieces of diced tomato. Place tree on a serving platter and arrange puff pastry squares around the bottom of the tree as “presents.”

Get more great recipe ideas on Jan's website!   And tune in for Beth & Friends and food with Beth & Jan every Monday morning at 8:05

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