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Category — Recipes

keep it simple

Even with family visiting from out-of-town, it’s important to keep dinners simple during Christmas week. This one-dish chicken dinner is a snap to put together. Add a simple green salad and a side of rice, mixed grains or quinoa and you’ve got it made.

citrus chicken

Easy One-Dish Citrus Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 fresh bay leaves, torn in 3 or 4 pieces (or 1 torn dry bay leaf)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 bone-in skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon honey

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December 23, 2015   1 Comment

Holiday Pot-Luck Assignments

More than 20 years ago, I hosted an annual holiday party. It was one of my most popular themes. For whatever reason (kids, overwhelmed moms, holiday craziness, etc.) it fell by the wayside.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was out with my longtime friends, Laura and Mary, who happen to be sisters. We were reminiscing about how fun that party always was and I decided it was time to resurrect the Holiday Potluck Appetizer Party.

Here is how it works: I find a bunch of great appetizer recipes. I pick the party date and time and email the invite and recipes. I tell the invitees to “Reply All” and let everyone know which recipe they will be making. Everyone makes their dish, brings it to the party, and we all celebrate the season while enjoying a great variety of yummy food, a signature cocktail or two and a full bar. A fun and festive night is had by all – with minimal effort.

The competition for which recipe to make is fierce. Within 10 minutes, three of the invitees had responded with their choices. An hour or two later, all recipes were accounted for. This is one of the best ways I’ve ever found to get people to RSVP lickety split. Try it, and you’ll be tempted to organize all your entertaining this way!

Only one little problem – since I’ve been away from blogging for an extended period, I’ve gotten out of the habit of taking photos of all food ever served in my home.  Which is a real shame, because the spread looked beautiful! The couples went all out in their execution and presentation. At least I have the photos from the original recipe links to share with you. The only two food photos I took are of the onion dip and the Greek dip. And those weren’t taken until the day after, since I took the leftovers to a family party the following night.

Time will fix that little glitch and I’ll be back in the swing of it soon enough. I hope you enjoy these eight great appetizers and maybe they’ll inspire you to throw an impromptu party of your own.

P.S. Find my signature cocktail below the recipe links.

meatballphoto and recipe via

Amy made Meatball Subs On-a-Stick. She said that it took longer than the recipe says for them to bake and brown.

mushroomsphoto and recipe via

Creamy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms courtesy of Lisa. By the way, button mushroom is the old-school name for your everyday white mushroom.

monkey breadphoto and recipe via

Anne made Herb Cheese Monkey Bread – even though she was under the weather and didn’t make it to the party. Annie, we missed you and your pretty face! xoox

onion diprecipe via

Tram chose the Caramelized Onion Dip to bring, even though, with 21-month-old twins, she didn’t have time to make it. Her awesome cook husband, Steve, took the reigns on this one.

onion goggles

He sent me a photo-text message asking if he needed to double the recipe. The answer is “no” – the recipe already make enough to feed a huge crowd!  And feed two crowds, it did; eighteen people at the appetizer party and at least 40 more people at our family holiday party the next night. This is a true crowd pleaser!! In case you don’t know what those pink things are on Steve’s face – they’re the onion goggles that I gave Tram back in our Valley Dish days.

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December 20, 2015   5 Comments

from the table to the pot

Thanksgiving table

It is always a good idea to use seasonal produce in a centerpiece, especially on a Thanksgiving table. After all, the holiday is all about bounty and nothing looks more bountiful than beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Of course, we don’t want to be wasteful either, so using that produce for meals in the days to follow is a must!

centerpiece

Our Thanksgiving centerpiece consisted of pomegranates, tangerines and persimmons (later used in a salad) baby zucchini and pattypan squash (sautéed as a side dish that weekend) along with the winter squashes of butternut, acorn and delicata, used for the following soup recipe.

The recipe is the same one I used for a cooking class last Wednesday at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. The only difference was that instead of seven cups of mixed squash, I used 3 cups of butternut along with red bell peppers and sweet potatoes.  The variation for that soup is included.

placesetting

Here is one more photo from our holiday dinner – one of the placesettings.

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December 7, 2015   1 Comment

It’s all about the packaging!

As you know, I am not a baker. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t have the patience for it. I am not good at it. Even so, there are times when I do have to bake. When teaching cooking, for example.

This last recipe from my “Gifts of Food” class at Les Gourmettes is a dozy. I decided to add it to the class for one reason and one reason only – the packaging.

Big mistake for a person who doesn’t enjoy baking!

packaged

But sometimes packaging is everything. At times, cute packaging is all it takes to cause you to make a bad purchasing decision. Buyer’s remorse sets in soon afterwards.

adorable

But come on! How cute is this cookie, that looks like a mini double crust lattice pie, in an adorable little scalloped window box, on top of a doily and all tied up with bakers twine?!?  To me – it’s Irresistible!

I’m sure most of us can admit that we’ve bought something only because of the packaging and not so much for what was inside. These bad decisions not only happen when purchasing something, though. Making this cookie to teach in front of a class of students is a case in point.

In my defense, I do know how to and do enjoy doing lattice work with pie dough. On pies! Turns out that making lattice work with cookie dough is not the same thing! Not by a mile! Pie dough is flexible and easy to work with. Cookie dough is delicate, tears, falls apart and needs to be refrigerated over and over again.

  • Time and Patience!
  • Qualities a baker has.
  • Qualities I do not!

So if you’re a baker – this recipe is for you!

If you’re not, but you have a friend who is – a very good friend who will let you call the cookies your own – have them make them for you!

Or just make the dough, roll it out and use decorative cookie cutters on it.  The cookies are not only pretty – they are quite delicious too.

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December 2, 2015   No Comments

coffee cubes

wishbone

It’s obvious that I’ve been away from blogging too long. I’m not quite back in the grove because I somehow missed my traditional Thanksgiving post. So here’s wishing you and yours a love and fun filled Thanksgiving weekend.

Back to the business at hand.

I hesitate to share this next “Gifts of Food” recipe. I was thinking I should try to market it to my dear friends Steve Kraus & Tram Mai to sell in their Press Coffee Roasters stores. The packaging is so cute that even though I don’t drink coffee, I’d buy these puppies just for the sweet little sack!

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November 27, 2015   No Comments

cookie snow globe

This is the favorite of the six recipes I taught for my “Gifts of Food” class last week at Les Gourmettes.  It’s just so darn cute and has so many elements I love.

  1. Cookies
  2. Food in jars
  3. Pretend snow (isn’t cold and doesn’t melt!)
  4. Adorableness in abundance

snow globe

I mean, seriously, how happy would you be if someone gave you this?  Not only cute, but yummy too!

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November 25, 2015   1 Comment

salt of the earth

salts

The third of the six recipes I taught at my “Gifts of Food” cooking class at Les Gourmettes was the gift of flavored salts.

You don’t need to be a wonderful cook to make these. But every wonderful cook you know would love to receive them!

The Wild Mushroom Salt is fantastic to use in soups and sauces, and makes the perfect seasoning for all meats or for sautéing fresh vegetables.

Use the Smoked Paprika and Ancho Chile Salt in every Mexican, Spanish and Southwest recipe you can think of! Or be adventurous and rim your margarita glasses with it.

Lime-Ginger Salt is also great to use to rim a drink glass and is fabulous to sprinkle on chicken or fish before grilling.

The most versatile of the four salts, use the Herbes de Provence Salt to season everything from meats and poultry to soups, vinaigrettes and sauces.

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November 24, 2015   No Comments

fall granola

Last week I told you I had nothing new in the way of recipes for  Thanksgiving this year. On second thought, I do have a little something for you.

my poached pear

I made a delicious pumpkin granola for my “Gifts of Food” class at Les Gourmettes. If you are looking for a last minute simple and healthy Thanksgiving dessert, this granola, paired with poached pears, fits the bill. Plus,the granola doubles as a great gift to package and give at Christmas.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Recipe adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin purée

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 ½ tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/2 cup toasted pepitas
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

pumpkin

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together salt, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, pumpkin purée and sesame seeds until smooth. Stir in coconut oil.

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November 23, 2015   2 Comments

you warm my heart <3

thankful for

All y’all sure know how to make a girl feel good!   *I can use that fabulous Texas phrase because I have a daughter who lives in Austin, y’all.

Between the lovely and welcoming comments left here on the blog, the comments and “likes” on Facebook, the personal texts, phone calls and emails – well, I feel the love and it makes me even more energized to be back. Thank you!

So … Thanksgiving is less than a week away and …

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November 20, 2015   3 Comments

bridal shower sweets

burlap and book pages

The last post about Marissa’s bridal shower is “the dessert post” … you know – just saving the best for last!

shower table

Before I share the recipes that Raina used for her cookie trio, I want to tell you about the iced Vietnamese coffee that we served, along with iced chai tea, milk and chocolate milk, at the Milk & Cookies dessert station.

press cold brew

Vietnamese coffee is a blend of cold brew coffee and sweetened condensed milk. I used a 50/50 ratio of Press Coffee Roasters Cold Brew and sweetened condensed milk. I mixed them together the night before and served it over ice. So Good!

lemon glazed blueberry lemon bread

On the lunch buffet table, along with the salad, savory tart and bruschetta, we served my Lemon Glazed Blueberry Bread. It was an extra loaf I had baked for a cooking class the week before. Barb stored it in her freezer, defrosted it in the fridge and then glazed it just before serving.

milkcookies

Now for Raina’s scrumptious cookies!

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May 21, 2015   No Comments