After a busy weekend and week last week, I was more than ready for a laid back, chill out weekend this weekend. In fact, I committed myself to laying low and even declined attending a birthday party because honestly, I just didn’t feel like going. I was however, very much up for a girls night in, and that is exactly what happened on Saturday night. Since Marc was working all night, I took advantage of the empty house I had a couple of girlfriends over for appetizers, cocktails, and some much needed girl chat.
I had originally planned to have them over for a full dinner, but after thinking about it, appetizers are so much more fun and casual, so I went with that. First up: baked goat cheese and marinara dip. It’s really no secret my obsession with goat cheese, and when I saw something similar to this on the menu of a restaurant, I knew I had to try to make it at home. Because really, what is better than cheese and bread? Not much.
This appetizer turned out not only delicious, but pretty easy too. While you could definitely go all Sandra Lee and semi-homemake it with a jar of store-bought marinara, I opted to make my own. Try it – it’s not that hard! It’s a fairly basic marinara sauce, with the typical onion, garlic, and crushed tomatoes, but then I added a bunch of dried spices and a splash of red wine to deepen the flavor even more. I loved the combination of the marinara sauce with the tangy goat cheese, especially with the buttered and toasted baguettes.
This was perfect for our girls night in and I think it would also work well for any dinner party appetizer or football party. Or in my case tonight, eating the leftovers for dinner!
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- splash of red wine ~2 tablespoons
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pepper to preference
- 8 oz goat cheese
- slices of toasted baguette
- In medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add diced onion, and cook until translucent and soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic, and cook another minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring continuously, and cooking until slightly reduced. This took me about 2 minutes.
- Add herbs and crushed tomatoes, stirring well to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to medium low and let sauce simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent bottom from burning.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In 9x9" baking dish, add marinara.
- Cut goat cheese into ~1/2" slices and place on top of marinara, spacing evenly.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
- Finally, turn on broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes, watching carefully, until goat cheese is golden brown.
- Serve with slices of toasted baguette.
To toast baguette:
- Spread thin layer of butter or olive oil over slices of baguette.
- Bake in 375 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, until slightly golden.