Halloween Spread

October 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

Entertaining tomorrow night? Here is a last minute solution for what to serve. The sake needs to be done the night before but everything else can come together just a few hours before people arrive. So even if you didn’t have plans, why not throw something together last minute? Menu taken care of.

Clockwise from top left: Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing, Spider Web Fiesta dip with chips, more cupcakes, Devils on Horseback, Pita chips with cheese and apple, Veggies with Greek yogurt dill dip

I would start with the cupcakes first (of course). I used the recipe here and they were delicious. The batter even started tasting like pumpkin before I even added the pumpkin (yes, I tried the batter).

Cream Cheese Icing (Pre-food dye)

An easy way to dress these up is to add food dye halfway through icing the cupcakes. Add diverse toppings like chocolate sprinkles on some, crushed pecans on others, some plain and some with candy corn for a really decorative look that let’s your guests choose what tempts them most!

This fiesta dip was sort of inspired by a few different versions of 7 layer dip and other Mexican dips. I just tried to simplify the best I could. I think one version that is topped with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and cilantro could be delicious.

Layer 1- 1 can refried black beans mixed with 1 package taco seasoning
Layer 2 – 1 can Rotel Tomatoes mixed with 1 package cream cheese
Layer 3 – Guacamole. The top it all of with a sour cream spiderweb by piping the sour cream through a small hole cut into a zip-loc bag.

I used the Devils on Horseback recipe here. Mine turned out a little more well done than I would have preferred but I am always someone who would take my bacon overcooked rather than undercooked. The grease from this bacon gets your oven really hot so keep an eye on them.

Slice pitted prunes in half without going all the way through. Stuff with blue cheese. Wrap half of a strip of bacon in half and secure with a tooth pick. Voila easy as 1,2,3

Slightly well done

The rest of the apps are just slicing and dicing! If you don’t have a full bar already stocked, a good way to cut down is by serving a signature drink. Then have a few standard options like beer, wine and whiskey.

After a delicious cocktail in California last weekend, I scoured the internet to find how it was made–turns out it was infused sake. In a glass, air-tight container, pile in any fruit of your choice (we chose watermelon and pineapple). Make sure it is cut and cored with no bruised spots/blemishes. Mix in 1.5 L Sake and .5 L Pear Vodka and let sit for 24 hours

Lemon Pepper Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Dip

July 20, 2012 § 2 Comments

This weekend I was invited to a potluck dinner birthday celebration (great idea) and was in charge of an appetizer.  Being a typical girl, I thought, “Oh I’ll do something nice and light” (or fat-free, low-cal, fad-diet friendly etc). I remembered an important lesson from the great Ina Garten to go for an app that is great at any temperature, so I ditched the dip and even my beloved bruschetta for a skewered protein. I’ve been on a huge Greek Yogurt kick so when I found this Tzatziki recipe,   I knew it was love.

Something “nice and light”

The appetizer was a huge hit and so easy to put together. It was perfect for the warm weather and I could see this dish being great May through September.

I don’t want to get too graphic with the raw chicken, we’re not in France. But marinate for 2-3 hours.

Marinade: 1/4 c. e.v.o.o + 4 cloves minced garlic + 2 tbsp. lemon juice + 1 tsp black pepper + 1 tsp salt + 1/2 tsp thyme

Whisk together and mix with bite-sized boneless skinless chicken breast. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

While grilling, I would douse with additional lemon juice and pepper.

Fresh Dill. I used a lot more than the 2 tsp the recipe suggests and I recommend at least 1 tbsp.

The recipe made a ton of dip so if you’re party is not large, feel free to downsize or cut in half.

What’s that? Are you inviting me to your next barbecue? Why yes, I’d be happy to bring my skewers.

Two Yankees In Nashville… And A Skinny Pimiento Cheese Recipe

July 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

I was joined last week by a fellow yankee here-my mom visited Nashville for the first time! In an effort to welcome her with something quintessential to the South, I decided to make her an inaugural pimiento cheese spread. I knew the week would be full of delicious but heavy meals out so I wanted to lighten up the traditional recipe. I found a great recipe here for inspiration but once I doubled the portion (obvs) and added some of my own jazz, the final product followed this:

2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Nonfat Greek Plain Yogurt
1/4 cup light mayonaise
4 ounces jarred pimentos
1/2 tsp salt (adjust to your own taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp worcestershire
1 tsp sriracha or hot sauce
pinch cayenne

Once you pick your cheese ( I like sharp or extra sharp), these are the essential ingredients.

Step 1: Grate cheese (or you can buy pre-shredded and then you can go to step 2; I used a combo).

Grate Cheese

Step 2: Combine ingredients.

Stir until just mixed.

Step 3: Enjoy!

Celery is really just a vehicle to get cheese into my mouth without looking barbaric.

A manageable process indeed.

Steeplechase Weekend

May 15, 2012 § 3 Comments

For my first post writing from my new city, I thought it only appropriate to write about my distinctively Nashville experience this weekend. Since we had a bunch of people coming in from out of town for the race, we insisted that we had no choice but to kick off the Steeplechase party Friday night with a wine reception for guests. Just kidding, we’re not fancy like that, half the party spent the night drinking Coors Light sitting cross-legged on the grass outside reliving camp glory days. However, there was one super easy-to-make app that had all the high-class flair the chef does not.

I used the recipe here for inspiration but once I saw the long list of ingredients, I substituted fig jam for the dried figs portion of the recipe. While I do LOVE to cook, my technique is not quite on par with my passion so I try to keep things as simple as possible. Just mention ricotta and I salivate, so I was relieved when others appreciated the snack as well.  I even heard, “What IS this? Is this dessert?”. They’re that good.

FYI for my northern readers, Steeplechase is akin to ‘The Hunt’ in NJ but with more fascinators, less flannel.

Fig and Onion Bruschetta

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