Week 27 – Apps

Did you guys know that last week’s Stew Challenge was our halfway point through the challenge?  I feel like Lisa & I should celebrate somehow!  So far it has been an excellent, and definitely challenging, experience.

I also think I’ve learned quite a bit . . . though not nearly as much as I think I have, which this week made pretty apparent.

This past Sunday were the Oscars, and some friends and I decided to use it as an excuse to get together, watch the show and make some appetizers for this week’s blog post!

Liz threw together a Cranberry Brie Crescent Braid which was absolutely delicious; I didn’t take any pictures though.  Liz’s version looked identical to the blog post, and tasted amazing.

Chad decided to tackle a salad.  If you’ve been following the pop culture news lately, you’ll have heard about this quiz from Buzzfeed: This Food Test Will Determine if You’re Actually from Minnesota.  According to Buzzfeed, the standard ingredients in a proper Minnesota Taco Salad include: Doritos & French salad dressing.  I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this at church basement potlucks, but I’ve never seen it called taco salad (everyone knows taco salad has to be served in a delicious tortilla bowl).  We all theorized that this is, in fact, Doritos Salad.


Chad & the finished product.


He heated up some taco meat.


Chopped up some iceberg lettuce.


Tossed the lettuce with some cheese & tomatoes.


Smashed up some Nacho Cheese Doritos.


And threw it together with some French salad dressing.

Chad has taken on this kind of challenge before: At our 2014 Friendsgiving, he made the infamous Minnesota Grape Salad that was featured in the New York Times.

Chad’s taco salad turned out good. The combination seemed strange, but it actually worked quite well.  I don’t know that I’d take it to a party, but it was super fun to try this thing out.

I decided on two appatizers: Baked Arancini and Goat Cheese Marinara.

The Arancini, which are fried spicy sausage and rice balls, did not turn out. They would just not stay in their “ball” form.  The ingredients could’ve been too hot, or too cold.  I used microwaveable rice, instead of heating it in a saucepan – this was my Mom’s theory, that there just wasn’t enough starch.  Or I missed a step, who knows.  I ended up throwing the ingredients in a baking dish and not serving it.

After this mess, I was a little frustrated and rushed for time, so my Goat Cheese Marinara pictures aren’t great, but it is, seriously, delicious.


Over Christmas, my brother, Phil, introduced my family to this. Phil said it was a Chicago-restaurant staple that he & his friends regularly ordered.  As soon as they figured out how easy it was, they decided to make it at home.  And . . . it was seriously, so easy.  I’m not going to link you to a recipe, just follow these steps.  (In fact, I sent my brother a text message asking about it, and he was able to tell me how to make it in less than 30 words.)

Goat Cheese Marinara:


  • 8oz log of goat cheese, softened (Phil suggested Tangiers but any will do)
  • 2 cups of marina sauce (2ish cups, no need to be exact)
  • Salt
  • Basil if you’re feeling fancy
  • Bread, crostini, pita, or dip vehicle of your choice


  • Preheat your oven to 375.
  • In your baking dish of choice, spread the goat cheese out so it covers the bottom of the dish, but leaves some space around the edge.
  • Pour the marinara around the cheese so it overlaps the edge, but doesn’t cover it all the way.
  • Sprinkle with some salt.
  • Put it in the oven for 20ish minutes.  Bake everything is bubbling and the cheese is brown.  You could also put it under the broiler for a bit, to get the cheese a little brown and melt everything together more.  Watch it cause I’m guessing the cheese could burn quickly.
  • Serve warm with something yummy to dip.

Seriously, Goat Cheese Marinara is the perfect way to impress your dinner guests.

Things I learned:

  • Arancini is annoying.
  • I need to take pictures of people’s stuff!
  • Goat Cheese Marinara is the best!

Come back next week and Lisa will take on the fascinating world of Breading or Drudging!



4 thoughts on “Week 27 – Apps

  1. Pingback: That Ridiculous Alfredo Thing | Lisa and Janine Try to Cook

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