The past few weeks have found me bustling around the house with a paint brush in one hand and a caulk gun in the other. We’re remodeling a bathroom whose shower has apparently been leaking since Nixon was in office. The whole room had to be demolished down to the studs. Good times.
(I'm thinking about starting another blog called, "Blood, Sweat, and Caulk: Exhausting Yourself One DIY Project At A Time".)
In the meantime, my energy meter has been pegged out at "zilch". I can't even remember the last time I actually made a true and decent meal around here. (In other news, my kids, who because of my busyness have been served fast-and-easy things like chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, sandwiches, and cereal, have recently commented that they think I'm starting to be a great cook again. I am not amused.)
All that to say that I'm glad it's Secret Recipe Club time again. It got me back into the kitchen, just in time to make these colorful, crunchy bars for a church picnic today.
I was assigned to Margaret's blog: "Tea and Scones". Margaret has a vast array of wonderful items (from all over the globe!) to choose from. I made my selection based on what I had on hand: Brenda's Veggie Bars.
I made a few modifications to the recipe including swapping out the crescent roll dough for puff pastry sheets, adding pesto to the cream cheese/mayonnaise mixture, and topping with feta cheese.
To begin, I thawed a sheet of puff pastry dough (overnight in the fridge), rolled it out slightly, and pricked it with a fork to prevent it from puffing while it baked.
Raw Veggie Tartlet Bites
Yields 16 two-inch squares
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm's brand)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons pesto (use more to taste, if desired)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves
1 and 1/2 cups (total) chopped fresh vegetables (I used broccoli florets, and red, yellow, and orange bell peppers)
1/3 cup feta cheese (substitute Parmesan or your favorite cheese)
To prepare: preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slightly roll out the thawed puff pastry dough. Prick pastry thoroughly with a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove pastry from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, pesto and salt together until smooth (I used my electric mixer, but a sturdy wooden spoon would do the trick as long as the cream cheese is at room temperature). Spread mixture over cooled pastry.
Lay spinach leaves over cream cheese mixture. Scatter fresh vegetables over spinach, and sprinkle with cheese.
Cut the pastry into four large squares (one slice down the center vertically and then another horizontally). Then slice each square into quarters. You will end up with 16 small squares.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 hours. (Pastry may become soggy after 2 hours.)
Recipe from: Tea and Scones/variation of a recipe from a 1990s Southern Living recipe.