Close to six years ago, I shared here a garlicky hummus recipe. Hardly believable I’ve been blogging that long, but as I look back, I laugh at the sheer awfulness of my pictures. Fortunately, my writing was witty (not sure what happened there) and straight to the point (really don’t know what happened there!). But the pictures! Oh my. Why didn’t anyone tell me something or two about styling, composition, or lighting? Just horrid. Meh. And if there were no other redeeming factor, at least the food is good. All tried and true. Thank God.
I swear by that hummus recipe and have shared it many a times with friends zipping through one of my at-home trysts. I never take to friends’ shindigs, tho. The asks for the recipe are too many and I’ve learned that wannabe foodies are too lazy to go to a food blog to get a recipe. But again, fortunately, for us — those that get it and really enjoy exploring new and reinvented recipes — we have these fabulous spaces to go to for all things yum.
In that 6-year-old post, I also mentioned how I used to entertain at least thrice monthly, mostly with a very dear couple friend of mine, and mostly on Saturdays after church. As things would go, I’ve reconnected with them and the very truths I stated in that post about our trysts revived today; now that I’m back in D.C. (another hardly believable factoid). Only this time, they do just as much hosting and cooking, which I’m all over!
So with the audible and visual clues of spring making its way to us, they’ve been helping plan our weekly foodie meetings. Oh, because we do that now. It’s so much about food with us. At least twice a week we get tougher to nosh on new findings, new recipes I’m developing, or all-out dinner spreads. Primavera is inviting us to look at our respective catalogs of favorite foods to make and line them up in anticipation of our on-going trysts.
Things have changed quite a bit tho. At the time, our nights in were inspired by Sex and the City. My friend hadn’t had her baby yet, so impromptu get-togethers were so doable. Not so much these days. The boy, about to turn 9, dictates most of our encounters, including what we watch and we eat. That little guy there. And since his dad now has a partner in crime, he takes full advantage of it, leaving M and me almost powerless, yielding to their asks. But only sometimes.
And March Madness would be one of those moments where the girls are shut down. As much as I’m into sports, college ball isn’t my thing. Not so much. But we agreed they could have their night of all-out manhood, barring any name-calling. And that I’d invite my brothers and nephews over. A whole bunch of boy energy against two girls. My friend and I are more apt to allow this only because we took over her house on Oscars night. You can guess how that went. The boys were sharing misery.
But again, we agreed we’ll let them have a night full of food they prefer to eat while they keep up with their score cards. Since the hummus was such a hit for us back in the day, it was the easiest thing to add to the rolling menu. The only requirement was to keep it all super simple. I’m not into messes and massive clean ups. Especially after boys and men.
Thanks to my friends at Marzetti®, my idea for entertaining for March Madness just got real easy. No mess, no major cooking, after all, the guys like simple grub. I went for their Roasted Garlic Otria Hummus Veggie Dip to enjoy with simple vegetables, pita squares, and mini quesadillas and their Roasted Red Pepper Otria Hummus Veggie Dip as a spread for an open-face eggplant sandwich. Both actually work lovely on the sandwich, but I wanted the eggplant to stand out as much and the battle between the two would be too overwhelming.
As stand alone dips, both are good and easy on the palate. I preferred the roasted garlic one way better for its super strong garlic taste, which I always opt for. Garlic makes life so much better! Don’t mind the oral reeking at all. But the roasted red pepper is great for adding color to otherwise insipid foods needing some flavor and color. Take a basic turkey sandwich and turn into a bold and creamy lunch option. Since I don’t do mayonnaise so well, this just works as a lovely option for spreading.
Since we’ve not yet decided on who’s going to host a night of basketball, I’m quite pleased to at a least know that if M and P do so, this assembly of snacks will be super easy to put together at their spot. The hummus’ are ready-made and ready to serve; all I have to is slather either one of the hummus’ on the grilled eggplant cutlets. The rest will just be transferred to pretty little bowls for easy access.
There’s so much more you can do for March Madness parties. Appetizers and finger foods are screaming for easy enjoyment and somehow, Marzetti really does offer something for everyone; from the pro chef wanting to take a break from the heat and flames, to the home cook and novice wanting to explore new things. Create a huge buffet style table full of dips, spreads, veggie sticks, wings, sliders, poppers, etc… Marzetti has something to pair with everything you could possibly have.
I mean, don’t make life more complicated for yourself. You know the fellas will eat and run… leaving you to clean up. And that’s certainly not a winning situation!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself. B-
*I have been invited to participate in a Marzetti® ambassador program. This post is sponsored by Marzetti and product has been provided by them. I appreciate you checking out the brands that help keep my lights on, shoes looking fancy, and MileagePlus racked up! Eat well, Love hard.
* If you can’t find the garlic hummus in your local stores, try the roasted re pepper hummus dip as a great alternative! It works just as delicious!
Open Face Eggplant with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
- 1 whole eggplant, rinsed and cut into 1" slices
- 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 cups egg wash
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup Marzetti roasted red pepper hummus veggie dip
- 1/4 cup Marzetti garlic hummus veggie dip
- 4 slices meunster cheese
- 1 bunch basil
- 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
- salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and pat dry eggplant. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Light coat each eggplant round into egg wash. Coat completely with bread crumbs. Pan fry each eggplant round until golden brown and slightly crispy. Add cheese slice to every other round and allow to melt. Transfer to paper towel plate to soak up excess oil. Spread generous amount of hummus veggie dip of choice on slice without cheese. Top with two basil leaves. Place overtop cheese side eggplant round. Repeat to desired sandwich height. Three slices is a good number.
Garnish with basil leaves.
Makes 3-4 sandwiches.
*Alternating hummus veggie dips is a great idea to get in both flavors. Also, tomato slices are a great option to make sandwich a bit more common.