Sunday, October 7, 2012

Superbowl Party

What a night this was... the NY Giants were once again underdogs against the New England Patriots... wonderful night for food, fun and football.  Oh, and did I mention food?

That, my friends, is a turducken.  In all of its roasty-toasty-delicious glory.  Obviously that was the highlight of the evening - the bird of the hour and the star of the show.  We also enjoyed some buffalo chicken dip, seven layer dip, homemade cinnamon roasted almonds and red velvet cake batter cookies with chocolate and white chocolate chips. 

There was probably more, but my camera was not as active as it should have been that evening - I was too busy licking my fingers. 

Christmas Eve-Eve Party

Last year we hosted the first of our parties on December 22 - a Christmas eve-eve gathering with our families and friends - it was a great night of food and fun!

The food included a platter of crackers, meats and cheeses, most of which were bought at our local grocery store, or our favorite cheese shop here in town, pretzels with assorted mustards, "fried" ravioli (that were actually baked) in several varieties with marinara sauce, and phyllo cups filled with a home-concocted mixture of ground lamb and couscous flavored with sage and feta cheese.  Desserts were homemade gingerbread cookies with ginger cream cheese frosting, and rum balls.  this was also our first attempt at eggnog.  Delicious!  We made irish coffee drinks later on in the evening, which is my favorite thing:

Strong Coffee
Irish Whiskey (we like Red Breast)
Brown Sugar
Whipped Cream

In an 8-ounce footed glass coffee mug, add 1 tbs of brown sugar and 1 ounce of whiskey.  Top with hot coffee, leaving a little space at the top.  Stir well, top with whipped cream and enjoy!

I can't wait to do this one again in 2012...

Party Menus...

We like to have parties, as often as we can.  Please don't misunderstand - for us a party generally consists of little more than a few good friends coming over and enjoying some themed food, beverages and music.  We all particularly love summer themes like islands, and it's a way for us to experience those things without the burden or expense of travel. 

My goal for the next few weeks is to catalog the parties we've had and get some of the menu details down so I can reference them later.  I'm going to try to go chronologically and hit the big ones from the last year. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Layered Buffalo Chicken Dip

I stole this from a fellow Nestie from way back... I didn't have her recipe in front of me, but this turned out pretty well!

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
16 oz sour cream
2 oz ranch dressing/dip mix (2 envelopes)
2 - 12.5 oz cans of chunk chicken breast
1/2 - 3/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat your oven to 350

Cream the cream cheese and sour cream together with a mixer until smooth.  Add the ranch mix and mix until evenly distributed.  Spread this mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.

Drain the chicken breast and place in a bowl.  Add 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese and wing sauce to taste.  Stir well, then spread over the ranch mixture in your baking dish.  Top with remaining cheddar cheese and bake at 350 until cheese is melted and bubbly, 15-20 minutes.  Serve with crackers, chips and celery sticks for dipping!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Herbed Cream Cheese Appetizers

I made these for a cocktail party/whiskey tasting we hosted the other weekend - they were delicious, I just wish I'd remembered to grab a photo of the finished product...

  • Herbed Cream Cheese (adapted from the Crispy Cook)
    • 2 packages cream cheese (room temperature)
    • 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
    • 1/4 cup EACH finely chopped basil, chives and dill
    • 2 cloves garlic minced or put through a garlic press
  • 4 ounces pancetta, small dice
  • 4 ounce package of smoked salmon, torn/cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 English (seedless) cucumbers cut into 1/8-1/4" thick slices

Several hours ahead of time, combine cream cheese and butter in a mixer until well blended.  Add herbs and garlic, and mix until well combined and herbs are evenly distributed.  Add a splash of milk or white wine if the mixture is too stiff.  Refrigerate to allow flavors to combine for about 4 hours, or overnight.  Remove mixture from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before assembling the remainder of the dish - place in a piping bag with a large star tip.  

Cook your diced pancetta in a skillet over medium heat until golden and well rendered.  Set aside to cool.  

Lay your cucumber slices on your chosen serving platter.  Pipe a small dab of cream cheese mixture on each slice, top with salmon.  

Pipe a decorative swirl of additional cream cheese and place 1-2 cubes of pancetta on top.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pita Pizzas

We found this recipe in our "Eating for Life" cookbook and were instantly hooked!  This is a frequent weekend lunch in our house.

Ingredients (per person):
4 oz uncooked chicken breast
1 whole wheat pita pocket
2 Tbs. BBQ sauce
1/4 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 thin slice red onion
2 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary

Preheat your oven to 425.  Cook the chicken in a pan, cool slightly and chop OR chop into bite sized pieces before cooking.  Top each pita with the BBQ sauce, cheese, onion, chicken, rosemary and then just a little extra cheese on top.  Bake pizzas for 5-7 minutes or until warmed through.  Yum!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Black Bean and Corn Salad

This has become a standard in our lunch rotation.  It makes just the right amount to feed both of us for a week.  You could bulk it up with some quinoa, chicken, or even cheese and avocado if you wanted. 

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 cups corn kernels (fresh, drained canned or thawed frozen all OK) 

  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 cups chopped seeded tomato

  • 1 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion

  • 1 chopped red bell pepper

  • chopped green bell pepper

  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 jalapeƱo peppers, seeded and minced

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • Heat the teaspoon of oil in a large skillet.  Add garlic and cumin seeds, and cook for about 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant, stirring constantly.  Add corn and black beans, stir to coat.  Cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool. 

    In a large bowl, combine tomato, onions and bell pepper.  Add cooled corn and bean mixture.  In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients except cilantro.  Stir in cilantro and pour over salad.  Stir until dressing is evenly distributed.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

    Makes 12 (1-cup) servings. 

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