Weekly Winner:  Party on a Plate – or Platter

It’s Party Time! Summer barbecues, pool parties, garden parties, and picnics abound. Invariably, when I ask the hosts if I can bring anything, the response is “an appetizer would be great”. And I totally get it. When I’m hosting a get-together, I have a basic “theme” in mind for most of the food. It’s what I do, don’t you mess with my menu! So the easiest thing for me to request is a starter, appetizer, munchies or even dessert. Therefore, I totally understand when I’m asked to bring the same thing. But what to bring?? I’ve done various dips and hummus to death. Melon and prosciutto — been there, done that. I want something tasty, easy, and yeah, I’ll admit it – impressive. That problem is now solved.

Just look at these Tomato Tarts!  They’re gorgeous! They’re delicious!  And most importantly…they are super easy.  Whip up a batch of these for your next party (whether you’re hosting or just contributing), unveil them with the appropriate flourish, stand back and wait for the compliments (if you can hear them over all the “mmmmm’ing”). The recipe comes from Southern Living Magazine and is something I’ll use over and over again — all I’ll have to do to keep it interesting is tweak the filling a bit to fit the season.

Muffin Pan Tomato Tarts

Makes 18 tarts


1 (17.3 oz) package frozen puff pastry sheets, partially thawed

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp black pepper

10 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded (2-1/2 cups)

11 oz multicolored cherry tomatoes, (about 3 cups), halved

2 Tbsp torn fresh basil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Gently unfold both pastry sheets.  Spread 1/4 cup mayonnaise on each pastry sheet; sprinkle each with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
  2. Cut each pastry sheet into 9 (3 inch) squares.  Gently press squares into 2 lightly greased muffin pans.  Divide cheese and tomatoes among tarts
  3. Bake in a preheated oven until pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Let cool in pans on a wire rack 5 minutes. Top with torn fresh basil.

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