This shop featuring my recipe for tomato bacon cups has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy #CollectiveBias
I love celebrating the new year and all its endless possibilities. Back when I was in my 20s, this was always a huge celebration for me – cocktail dress, huge party, staying out until nearly dawn, and definitely rocking some high heels. I still love New Year’s Eve and all the fun food and celebratory recipes it involves, but my celebrations are definitely much more low key these days.
Now, you’ll find me at home or at a friend’s house with our kids playing games, chatting, and having fun in a much quieter manner. Somehow, it’s just as satisfying as the big blowouts used to be. We make a ton of appetizers and have fun little treats, and it’s a special day (and night) for us all – even if we don’t necessarily last until midnight in our own time zone. Tell me we aren’t the only ones who celebrate the new year with each time zone that reaches that milestone. Please?
This year, I’m hosting, and we’re planning to order Chinese for dinner but have tons of fun snacks and appetizers out all day. I whipped up these bacon tomato cups to serve – and of course I did a test run ahead of time. They turned out spot on the first time around. This tomato bacon cups recipe is enough for 24 appetizers, but it’s simple enough to double or triple, depending on how many guests you’re feeding.
I am planning to make another batch and stick them in the freezer in the mini muffin tin until they’re solid, then carefully placing them in a container so that I can grab my tomato basil cups on New Year’s Eve and pop them in the oven to bake (adding an extra 3-5 minutes to ensure they cook through). Make ahead recipes are always my favorite when entertaining!
I wanted to make something else, as well, so when I headed to Walmart to pick up my Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese, among the other ingredients for my tomato bacon cups, I had a brainstorm to make New Year’s Eve poppers with fun items I picked up while shopping.
And yes, of course I am using the Kraft products – now through February 13, 2016, there are a variety of coupons available on Kraft products. For this recipe, you can get $1.00 off when you buy two 8oz Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese or Chunk Cheese and/or $1.00 off two Philadelphia Cream Cheese bricks. That extra cheese I won’t need for my tomato bacon cups? You know I’m using it to make my buffalo chicken dip as another appetizer to serve.
Tomato Bacon Cups Recipe
I love recipes that look super fancy but are actually (shhh!) really quick and easy to make. For this, I used phyllo dough sheets and made my own cups because I love the angles it creates for the tomato bacon cups, but you can also purchase phyllo dough cups already made that will make this recipe even faster and easier to put together. As always when working with phyllo dough sheets, remember to place your phyllo dough in the fridge the night before you plan to prep these so that it defrosts and will unroll without cracking – and have a damp towel on hand to place over the dough you aren’t working on to keep it from drying out. Phyllo is delicate!
The only other prep you need to do before you start your assembly is to let your Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese 8 ounce brick soften so that it will easily mix with the remaining ingredients. Then, just pull your ingredients out, and you’re ready to go!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees while you get your filling together and your cups assembled. You need only two sheets of phyllo dough for your tomato bacon cups, so separate those from the bundle and cover with your damp towel. Return your unused phyllo to its package and the freezer.
Cook up your slices of bacon and chop them Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese to a bowl, along with your breadcrumbs, diced tomato, Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese, and mayonnaise. You can see that I chose both red and yellow tomatoes to give the tomato bacon cups some extra color but use your favorite variety and be sure to remove most of the seeds as you chop so that the filling doesn’t become too loose from all the tomato juice. Stir to combine.
To make the phyllo cups for your tomato bacon cups, lightly spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray. Use a pizza wheel to cleanly slice the phyllo dough. It won’t rip the way using a knife causes tears. Make the rectangles for your phyllo cups the height of the fold of the dough since it usually wants to tear there already. Slice them three to four inches wide and create your rectangles just one at a time to ensure your dough doesn’t dry out. Remember to keep it covered by your damp towel.
Fold a piece of the phyllo rectangle so that you can start to place it into the mini muffin tin. Once you have it in, continue folding around the edges to create the cup. If you have a small tear, that’s fine. The filling is sturdy enough that it won’t leak out, but do your best to go slowly and carefully when working with the delicate phyllo. Repeat to create all your phyllo cups.
Once the cups are made for your tomato bacon cups, you can begin to fill them. Scoop a spoonful and gently place into your prepared phyllo cup. Press down carefully and fill all your cups in the same manner. If you have a little extra, feel free to fill them a little more. The filling also won’t spread and get stuck to your mini muffin pans.
Place into your 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until the tips of your tomato bacon cups are just starting to brown and you can hear the sizzle of the cheese.
Slice your green onions thinly, and sprinkle atop your tomato bacon cups. Serve immediately.
If you are baking these ahead of time, you can let them cool and place in the fridge to be reheated just prior to serving. On the off chance you don’t eat all your tomato bacon cups in one sitting, they will last nicely in the fridge for up to two days. Reheat them in the oven at 200 degrees for five minutes to ensure they don’t get soggy.
- 2 sheets phyllo dough (or 24 premade phyllo dough cups)
- 4 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
- 8 oz Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 c Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese, cheddar
- 1/2 c breadcrumbs
- 1/4 c mayonnaise
- 1 green onion, sliced thinly
- Ensure phyllo dough is appropriately thawed and cream cheese is softened.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a bowl, mix together Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Natural Shreds, breadcrumbs, mayonnaise, and bacon until thoroughly combined.
- Spray mini muffin tin with nonstick spray, and slice phyllo dough into rectangles one by one, ensuring unused phyllo dough is covered by a damp towel.
- Fold together a phyllo rectangle to start to make a cone and place in the mini muffin tin. Gently continue to fold the phyllo dough until it has formed a cup. Small tears are fine.
- Once all phyllo dough cups are formed in the mini muffin tin, fill with cheese mixture, carefully pressing the cheese into the cup.
- Place into the 375 degree oven and bake 12-15 minutes until the tips of the tomato bacon cups are lightly browned and the cheese sizzles.
- Top with sliced green onion and serve immediately.
Of course, for our New Year’s Eve party I have to fancy it up a little bit, so we’re using my good china, and I made some fun New Year’s Eve poppers to put on each place filled with fun little goodies and treats – and of course a bell to make noise when you shake it before opening. They’re super simple and fun to make and easy to customize for your guests. Add lottery tickets to adult poppers or tattoos to those for the kids. Everyone loves a corny joke in the popper, and there’s candy and little toys and games and all sorts of fun options. For my poppers, I chose to include a little candy, some jokes, stickers, and a bell.
The hardest part of making your own New Year’s Eve poppers is remembering to collect and save your toilet paper or paper towel rolls. Aside from those, you likely have everything you need already around the house.
Making New Year’s Eve Poppers
- Toilet paper or paper towel rolls (and a serrated knife if using paper towel rolls)
- Items to place inside your poppers (candy, toys, little games, stickers, bells, etc)
- Tissue paper (I used gold for New Year’s Eve for its elegance)
Start by cutting any paper towel rolls in half using your serrated knife. The serrations make it easy to cut cleanly through the cardboard, and you definitely want your poppers half the size of a paper towel roll. Bonus? That’s half as many as you need to remember to collect!
Fold your tissue paper in half vertically, along its natural fold, and place the cardboard roll in the center. Fill your cardboard roll with whatever items you’re placing inside as your fun surprise.
Fold the end of the tissue paper over so that the end doesn’t quite reach the far edge, then begin rolling it up to make a cylinder.
Twist the two edges like a candy, and cut ribbon to tie those edges closed. I used a thin red ribbon and cut a fairly short length as I just wanted to keep it elegant and simple in a little knot, but you can choose whatever type and width of ribbon you choose and make it as fancy or simple as fits your own celebration.
That’s it. Just put them around the table at each person’s place, and let them have the joy of cracking open their New Year’s Eve poppers to see the fun inside!