December 3rd, 2009 |

Holiday Appetizer Guide

holiday appetizer recipes

Small bites, appetizers, hors d’oeuvres – whatever you call them, Holiday parties call for a lot of them!  To freshen up your appetizer recipe file, I have searched the web – here are my new favorites, updated classics, and a few that just look delicious!

1. Marinated Feta and Olive Skewers

2. Sausage Mushroom Caps

3. Creamy Mushroom Phyllo Triangles

4. Cocktail Meatballs with Herbs and Ricotta

5. Citrus Salmon Lollipuffs

6. Chicken and Lemon Pot Stickers with Soy-Scallion Dipping Sauce

7. Bloody Mary Soup Shots with Shrimp and Pickled Vegetables

8. Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Do you have a favorite appetizer recipe you want to share?  Leave a comment below with a link!

November 26th, 2009 |

Tasty Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

turkey recipes for thanksgiving leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are all enjoying a wonderful turkey dinner and some quality time with your friends and family!

When Thanksgiving finally comes to an end, there is only one question left to ask yourself…..what do I do with all of this leftover turkey?!

I have searched the web for some ideas for you, and have come up with 8 tasty recipes for turkey leftovers:

1. Turkey Pot Pie

2. Turkey Tortilla Soup

3. Smoked Turkey Panini

4. Roast Turkey and Prosciutto Pizza

5. White Turkey Chili

6. Turkey Bacon Salad

7. Barbecue Pulled-Turkey Sandwiches

8. Cranberry-Turkey Spinach Salad

November 18th, 2009 |

Holiday Appetizer: Goat Cheese Ornaments

cheese ornaments

LOVING this appetizer idea from Better Homes and Gardens!  An updated version of  everyone’s favorite cheese ball…..done in mini-size to look like Christmas ornaments, and served in a footed bowl…..yummy and pretty!

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 ounces semi-soft goat cheese (chevre) or crumbled feta cheese
  • 24 pickled jalapeno pepper slices* or small pimiento-stuffed green olives, well drained
  • 1/2 cup dried red sweet pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted pumpkin seeds

Directions

1. In a medium bowl stir together the cream cheese and the goat or feta cheese until smooth. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

2. Using a rounded tablespoon of the cheese mixture, form it around a jalapeño slice or green olive, completely enclosing the pepper or olive.** Mixture will be sticky; moisten hands as necessary. (Chill mixture if it becomes too soft to handle.) Place shaped balls on a shallow pan. Cover with plastic wrap; chill for 1 hour.

3. Roll one-third of the balls in the red sweet peppers, one-third in the cilantro, and one-third in the pumpkin seeds to coat, leaving some white showing. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours. Serve with picks. Makes 24 appetizers.

*Note: Hot peppers contain oils that can burn eyes, lips, and sensitive skin, so wear plastic gloves while preparing them and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

**Note: For smaller balls, use a rounded teaspoon of the cheese mixture and omit the jalapeño slices or pimiento-stuffed green olives. Shape into balls.

October 26th, 2009 |

Pasta Dinners for a Cozy Fall Night

fall pasta dinners

My husband and I made our favorite bolognese sauce this weekend and it put me in a Fall pasta mood.  Bon Appetit has an amazing selection of Fall pasta dishes that are sure to become new favorites.  Here are a few recipes that I can’t wait to try out!

Penne with Radicchio, Spinach, and Bacon, Pappardelle with Squash, Mushrooms, and Spinach, Pasta with Kalamata Olives and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce, Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage, Fettuccine with Wild Mushroom Sauce, and Mac and Cheese with Pancetta.

October 22nd, 2009 |

Rustic Thanksgiving Dinner

rustic thanksgiving dinner party

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a month away?!  I know, I know….we are not even thru Halloween yet….but I figured it was time to start rolling out the Thanksgiving ideas….I need to leave you all time to plan!

There are so many different types of Thanksgiving celebrations.  You can go elegant, you can go casual and eat turkey while watching the football game, or you can do the rustic look – I guess we’ll call it a mix between the two!  Today’s inspiration is for just that….a rustic Thanksgiving dinner party.

If you don’t host your family Thanksgiving dinner, use the holiday as an opportunity this month to host a Thanksgiving-themed dinner party with friends.  We do this every year – and we have so much fun doing  it!  It’s a great time to test out some new recipes (without having to discard everyone’s favorites on the day-of!).  The menu I have planned here is literally making my mouth water, and I can’t wait to test out some of these recipes!

Invite your guests with a fall-like invitation and set your table using earth tones, textured linens, and ceramic pots full of berries.  If kids are in the mix, set them their very own table using brown kraft paper.  You can put cups full of crayons on the table, and they can draw away on the tablecloth.  I love the idea of drawing on “placemats” with the kid’s individual names…..creative and rustic-looking at the same time!

Thanksgiving dinner is all about the food, so let’s get to it….this year, I am going to make a roasted turkey with a port gravy, twice-baked potatoes with goat cheese and chives, green beans and walnuts with a lemon vinaigrette, savory bread pudding with mushrooms and parmesan, olive and asiago rolls, and a bourbon-pecan tart with chocolate drizzle.  So….is your mouth watering yet?!

Seeing as though there are ALWAYS leftovers (which is half the fun of Thanksgiving!) – be prepared to send your guests home with some goodies.  Continue our rustic theme by packaging the food in brown paper boxes, tie it with striped ribbon, and attach a personalized label.

Images: craft table, tied napkins, and take out boxes (countryliving.com), wine and green ceramic centerpiece (potterybarn.com), invitation (tinyprints.com)

October 6th, 2009 |

6 Must-Have Recipes for Apple Season

apple recipes

If you saw yesterday’s post on hosting an apple-picking party, you know that I have apples on the brain!  If you have ever been apple-picking before, you know that you end up bringing home far more apples than you know what to do with.  I have been on a search for some fabulous new recipes centered around our fruit of choice this month….so you will have lots of ideas to choose from to use up those apples!  There are so many great recipes out there….but I narrowed it down to the 6 apple recipes that I can’t wait to try out this Fall.

Apple, Goat Cheese and Honey Tartlets

Golden Delicious Apple and Chedder Turnovers with Dried Cranberries

Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin with Cider Sauce

Prosciutto Panini with Apples and Gruyere

Apple Cidercar Cocktail

Fried Apple Pies

October 2nd, 2009 |

Halloween Treats

I have so many fun Halloween treats to share with you today….perfect for an upcoming party, school event, or just a fun activity to do with your kids!  If you start  baking today, you might just be able to get thru all of these cute ideas by Halloween!

halloween treats

Mini ghost cupcakes are light and fluffy, and have a whole lot of personality!  These hocus-pocus hats (made out of chocolate ice cream cones) would be darling to serve at our Witches Dinner Party that was posted yesterday.  I absolutely love these witch cookies…I think it’s the green face!  Chocolate pumpkin cake would be a decadent addition to any Fall dinner party….and these tombstone cookies are a perfect detail for any kid’s party!  So many fun treats….I better start baking!

halloween treats

September 29th, 2009 |

Fluttering Cupcakes

Fluttering Cupcakes

LOVE this idea from brightideas.com…..darling for a little girl’s birthday party!

Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
  • 3 cups prepared vanilla frosting
  • 48 pieces thin pretzels twists
  • ¼ cup pink decorating sugar
  • 1 ½ cups M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies
  • ¼ cup M&M’S® Brand Peanut Chocolate Candies
  • 3 strands licorice laces
  • Green food coloring
  • 24 paper cupcake liners
  • Cupcake pans
  • 2 sheet pans
  • Wax paper
  • Microwave-safe bowl

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line the cupcake pans with the paper cupcake liners.
3. Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions. Pour the cake mix into the lined cupcake pans, and bake for approximately 18-21 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.
4. While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the butterfly wings. Line the two sheet pans with wax paper. Transfer 1 cup of vanilla frosting to a microwave-safe bowl; heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, stirring occasionally, until the texture of slightly whipped cream. Dip the pretzels in the warmed vanilla frosting until they’re almost covered. Dab off any excess frosting, and then sprinkle with the pink decorating sugar before the icing sets. Transfer to the lined sheet pans; set aside and let cool completely.
5. Tint 1 can of vanilla frosting green; spread it on top of the cooled cupcakes. Refrigerate until the frosting is set.
6. Using the photo as your guide, decorate the cupcakes as follows:
7. Cover the top with green M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies on the outside edge of each cupcake.
8. Press the small tips of the pretzels on top of the cupcakes for wings.
9. Place one M&M’S® Brand Peanut Chocolate Candies for the head.
10. Arrange a line of same-color M&M’S® Brand Peanut Chocolate Candies for the body.
11. Cut the licorice laces and place them as antennae.

September 22nd, 2009 |

Candy Apples

Candy Apples

Aren’t these just about the prettiest candy apples you have ever seen?!  A perfect treat for any Fall party, candy apples can be customized to any flavor.  Country Living has a great basic recipe, as well as an updated version called the pistachio chocolate apple.  Yum!

The added touch of the ribbon-wrapped stick truly make this a very special dessert.  I would love to see this done with mini-apples for a kid’s party or a cocktail party (easier for guests to eat as they mingle!).

What do you plan on decorating your candy apples with this season?!

September 18th, 2009 |

Tailgating 101

tailgating party

Football season is upon us!  Whether you are tailgating before the big game, or gathering a crowd in your home, the “big game” is a great excuse to entertain!

When I think of football parties, I think of food, food, food!  So, check out a few of these recipes for your next party:

Images: people (inmagine.com), centerpiece (theknot.com), french onion dip,  shrimp skewers, and spicy red beer (foodnetwork.com), football food table and football cupcake (familyfun.com)

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