Hosting a wine evening?

These recipes will give you enough time away from the kitchen to enjoy the company of your guests

Red or white, sweet or dry, wine lovers are often entertainers at heart. When inviting guests to share your personal favorites, nothing enhances a tasting get-together quite like complementary snack and wine pairings.

The next time you’re hosting a wine night, these simple receipes from Sarah Tracey can focus on simplistic recipes, easy dip pairings and suggested wines.

“When I entertain at home, I’m always looking for ways to impress my friends with fresh, creative bites I can pair with wine,” Tracey said. “My favorite hack is finding great products with high-quality ingredients then creating simple, elevated ways to serve them. The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I get to spend with my guests.”

Tracey relies on the versatility of readily-prepared dip options from Fresh Cravings – you will find a lot of alternative brands and fresher options at the delicatessen counter of your supermarket. All recipes below are courtesy of Sarah Tracey.

Hummus-Filled Mushrooms

You need: Nonstick olive oil spray; 16 ounces cremini mushrooms; stems removed and gills scooped out; salt and pepper, to taste; 1 container ready-bought humus; 1         jar stuffed olives, cut in half; 1 jar roasted red pepper strips. Serve with Pinot Noir.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick olive oil spray. Place mushroom caps on sheet pan, spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast 7-8 minutes then let mushrooms cool to room temperature. Fill each mushroom cap with hummus and top each with one olive slice. Thinly slice roasted red pepper strips and arrange around olive slices.  Pair with lighter bodied Pinot Noir with cherry tones.

Cheesy Tortilla Cutouts with Salsa

You need: Nonstick cooking spray; 6 large flour tortillas; 16 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated;

1 can (4 ounces) green chiles, drained; 1 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped; 1 container tomato salsa

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Prepare sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place large flour tortilla on sheet pan. Top with handful of grated cheese. Sprinkle chiles on top of cheese layer. Add chopped cilantro. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Top with another tortilla. Bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Work in batches to make three sets of cheese-filled tortillas. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Serve with salsa and pair with Sauvignon Blanc.

Polenta Rounds with Pico de Gallo Salsa and Crab

You need: 1 tube polenta; nonstick cooking spray salt, to taste; 8 ounces jumbo crabmeat from the delicatessen counter; 1 container Pico de Gallo from the delicatesen counter; 1 sprig fresh mint, finely chopped.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Slice polenta into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Arrange on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle with salt, to taste, and let cool. Combine jumbo lump crabmeat with salsa. Top each polenta round with crab salsa mixture. Garnish with finely chopped fresh mint and pair with vibrant, fruity rosé.

You can find more recipe and pairing ideas at FreshCravings.com. For more Sunday Circle magazine wine-related features check out this piece about how to start appreciating wine if you’re a newbie, as well as wine news bites from Josef Bonello.

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