Warm Crab Artichoke Dip and Fried Tomato and Scallop Salad

Earlier this week I hosted a dinner party at my house as a part of McCormick Gourmet's Longest Dinner Party Chain. It was so much fun! I was so happy McCormick asked me to be a part of this dinner party chain. I have always loved to entertain, and as I have gotten older it has only become more fun. Creating good food is awesome, but creating it for others and watching others enjoy it is way more awesome.

Here is a photo of the many incredible items McCormick sent to me as a part of my dinner party kit! 

Spices, too! 16, to be exact.

YOU can be entered to win a similar kit. More on that in a bit.

First, please allow me to tell you about my dinner party!

I invited four friends over to make six adults, including my husband and myself. It was the absolute perfect mix of people because they were easy to please and they were great company. Thank you so much for being a part of my evening, Jesse, Jody, Jess, Trev and Dan! (Benji, Esme, Elijah and Sammy, too, of course, even though graham crackers and milk were more your style.)

My first course was a warm, creamy crab and artichoke dip, served with baked pita wedges and crackers. I loved the combination of McCormick thyme leaves and fresh parsley in this one. Also, artichokes and jumbo lump crab meat are two of my absolute favorites!

Dan and I love starting parties out with warm, gooey dips. Even on a hot summer day, it seemed fitting to keep with the trend. 

My second course was perhaps my favorite of the night, a fried tomato and two fried scallops served over leafy greens. It was light, super tasty and perfect for summer. I love scallops, and I don't get the chance to eat them often enough.

My third and fourth courses were served together. The main dish, sweet basil & oregano bruschetta chicken, was a recipe I borrowed from McCormick. It was delicious! The McCormick seasoning packet made this dish. I served along with it a side of grilled broccoli with McCormick crushed rosemary & feta cheese. (Please forgive me for forgetting the feta in the photos.) I am a huge broccoli lover and I think it is always such a delicious and pretty side dish.  

Printable recipe: Sweet basil & oregano bruschetta chicken

Printable recipe: Grilled broccoli with rosemary & feta

I had a very happy tummy at the end of the evening. 

And the dessert, oh the dessert. It didn't turn out exactly as I had wished because apparently I am not a skilled maker of caramel. I tried it twice with the same result. 

So here, friends, is a photo of a delicious salted caramel brownie that I wish had been a little more caramel-y and less sugary. I will say that the McCormick Sicilian Sea Salt I sprinkled on the top added just the perfect twist of salty that I was hoping for. 

I'm not going to post this one until I perfect the caramel layer, so check back!

And now for a few party pics! Jesse and Dan were responsible for these creative shots. Thanks for helping, guys. 

Food aside, it was great to bring friends together for an evening. Our children enjoyed running around outside in the heat, eating ice cream sandwiches, splashing in the blow-up pool and enjoying a show together. It was a perfect summer evening!

Would you like to have a chance to win a McCormick dinner kit? Visit the McCormick Gourmet Facebook page and submit an idea for what your dream dinner party would be! You will be entered to win a similar kit, but themed to a holiday of your choice. 

Good luck! And thanks for reading! 

Warm Crab Artichoke Dip

Warm, creamy and perfectly matched with baked pita wedges and crackers! Artichokes and crab are two of my absolute favorites!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jun 29, 2012

Serves: 12

Total time: 45 min

WarmCrabArtichokeDip"

Ingredients:

  • 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Juice from ½ of a lemon
  • 14-oz. can artichokes, drained and chopped
  • 8-oz. container jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a medium baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayo and sour cream. Mix until creamy. Add 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, artichokes, crab meat, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Pour contents of bowl into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Top with green onions. Serve with baked pita wedges or crackers.

Fried Tomato and Scallop Salad

Leaft, light, super tasty and a perfect addition to your summer menu!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Jun 29, 2012

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 min

FriedTomatoScallopSalad"

Ingredients:

  • 8 large pieces of green leafy lettuce, washed
  • 2 Tbsp plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced and ends removed
  • 2 Tbsp plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice from ½ of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon McCormick thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 large sea scallops
Instructions:
  1. Place 2 pieces of lettuce on each of 4 salad plates. FRIED TOMATOES: In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon thyme leaves, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. In 2 batches, coat the tomato slices with the oil mixture on both sides using a basting brush. Place the tomatoes in the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to look soft. Do not cook to the point of being mushy and do not flip. Place 1 tomato slice on top of each bed of lettuce.
  2. FRIED SCALLOPS: Add to the same skillet an additional 2 tablespoons olive oil and heat over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup olive oil, juice from ½ of a lemon, parsley, ½ teaspoon thyme leaves, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. In 2 batches, place the scallops in the bowl and completely coat with oil mixture. Place the scallops in the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook for 3 minutes on each side and remove from heat. Place 2 scallops on each plate, over the tomato slices. Drizzle the juices from the pan over the scallops. Serve.