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Category — Recipes

Lisa’s Brie en Croûte

This recipe came straight from the Pepperidge Farm website. And I have to confess, so did the photo. The picture I took was too blurry to use.

My beautiful friend and neighbor, Lisa, made it and topped hers with an adorable puff pastry candy cane in place of the poinsettia you see pictured here. What’s not to love?! Cheese, puff pastry, almonds and dried cranberries. Yum!

Tomorrow I’ll finally wrap up with the last recipe and some final thoughts from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck.

Photo

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February 23, 2017   No Comments

Kim’s Salmon Rounds

We’re closing in on the last of the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck recipes.

Kim made this one and totally changed the recipe I’d sent out and made it all her own… no surprise there.

Instead of making the cream cheese mixture the recipe called for, Kim used Boursin. Use any flavor you prefer.

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February 22, 2017   2 Comments

Shrimp Scampi Dip

Recipe #6 from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck is rich and creamy and what I’d call decadent. In other words, stick to the crudités if you’re watching your fat intake! Then again, this was served during the holidays, certainly a taste can’t hurt.

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February 21, 2017   4 Comments

back in the saddle

Hello friends,

I’ve put off this day for far too long. I’m going through some life changes. As such, blogging about food and entertaining and putting on the “everything is just fine” face has felt disingenuous.

After trying several times over the past five weeks to get a post up and stopping short each time, I have decided that today is the day.

My last post, on January 13th, was a recipe from our 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck. I figure that is as good a place as any to pick up where I left off and get on with it!

These chicken cheeseballs were a big hit and could not be easier to throw together. They can be assembled, lined up on the baking sheet, covered with plastic wrap and then refrigerated the night before or in the morning and then baked off just before your guests arrive. They are even delicious at room temperature. I’m certain they would be great the next day too, but there were none left, so I can’t swear to that.

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February 20, 2017   8 Comments

Bacon Wrapped Maple Brussels Sprouts

This is one of the recipes I made for the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck and it is a winner any time of year. It only has four ingredients and can be made well in advance, then thrown in the oven at the last-minute.

I’d love to be able to tell you that these are just as good reheated the next day, but I’ve never had even one left any time I’ve made them to test that theory.

Of course, in my opinion, anything wrapped in bacon is the perfect appetizer for any occasion!

Bacon Wrapped Maple Brussels Sprouts

  • 15 Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 15 pieces bacon (regular cut, not thick cut)
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Add the sprouts and cook for 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. Cut in half through then stem end when they are cool enough to handle.

Fry bacon, in batches, in a large skillet until it is just beginning to brown but still pliable. Drain on paper towels.

What you’re looking for here is the exact opposite of what you ever what to have served at breakfast – you’re looking for limp bacon.

Place the Brussels sprouts to the same skillet, in the bacon drippings, that you cooked the bacon in, add 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels.

Cut each slice of bacon in half crosswise and then wrap each sprout half with a half piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. At this point the wrapped sprouts may be either cooked or covered and refrigerated for up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sprouts on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until bacon is crisp.

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January 13, 2017   No Comments

Peggy’s Greek Quesadillas

This fun spin on quesadillas is what Peggy chose to make for the Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck. They were a big hit!

Greek Quesadillas with Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 English cucumber, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Quesadillas

  • 8 flour tortillas (8-inch)
  • 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, plus more for garnish

Tzatziki Sauce: Combine Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, dill, lemon juice, lemon zest and mint in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Quesadillas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Top a tortilla with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, olives and cheeses, and then top with another tortilla. Repeat with remaining tortillas to make 4 quesadillas.

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January 11, 2017   1 Comment

Michelle’s Antipasto Skewers

The first appetizer from the 2016 Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck was made by my cousin (and friend!) Michelle. They are super easy and colorful little skewers.

As you know, most of the recipes from the party are ones I found online and sent out to the guest to choose from. If you would like to see the original post for this recipe, with many more photos, go HERE.

Antipasto Skewers

  • Bamboo skewers
  • 24 mini fresh mozzarella balls
  • 24 small basil leaves
  • 12 slices of salami, cut in half
  • 1/2 pound fresh tortellini, cooked
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts
  • 24 olives

Using bamboo skewers layer your ingredients in the order shown, starting with the mozzarella balls and ending with the olives.

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January 9, 2017   2 Comments

Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck 2016

On Christmas Eve eve, December 23rd, I hosted my annual Holiday Appetizer Pot-Luck party. It’s a great format for a fun stress-free holiday party. To find out exactly how it works, go to This Post from the 2015 party and get all the “How To” details.

In the days to follow, I’ll post the recipe for each. As an added bonus – at the end of today’s post you’ll find my signature cocktail for the evening.

Here is a rundown of the dishes made and brought by the guests … with a few contributed by me.

Antipasto Skewers

Greek Quesadillas

Bacon Wrapped Maple Brussels Sprouts

Smoked Salmon-Cucumber Rounds

Spicy Chicken Cheeseballs

Caesar Dip and Crudités

Bacon Candy

Shrimp Scampi Dip

Holiday Brie en Croute

I’m calling my signature cocktail “winter berry” but in all honesty, these are summer berries. Oh well, summer or winter, it’s a keeper!

Winter Berry-Rosemary Cocktail

  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh small rosemary sprigs
  • 6 limes, cut into wedges
  • 3 cups simple syrup *
  • 4 cup vodka
  • Juice of 8 more large limes
  • Ginger ale, chilled
  • Garnish
  • 16 small fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 8 lime slices, cut in half
  • Reserved berries

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January 6, 2017   2 Comments

a cheat for one of my favorites

One of my favorite recipes on this site is courtesy of Chef Robert McGrath. Robert’s Green Chile Macaroni is the most delicious mac and cheese I’ve ever had.

With the hustle and bustle of Christmas, car issues, computer issues and life in general, the very last thing I want to do is cook dinner. After picking my car up from the shop yesterday, during rush hour, the only option to get back into traffic was to make a detour past Costco. I decided to go in and brave the insanity since I needed a couple of last minute gift cards anyway.

I decided to pick up a package of the prepared macaroni and cheese. In general, I like Costco’s prepared food, but the mac and cheese isn’t all that special. The only reason I chose it was because I knew I had two poblano peppers and a partial bag of frozen corn at home.

From the moment it hit my cart and all the way home, all I could think about was jazzing up this prepackaged mac and cheese.

It was delicious! Not as delicious of Robert’s version, but pretty darn fabulous for a cheat!

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December 21, 2016   5 Comments

skillet meal

I found a version of this “dump, sauté & bake skillet dinner” on Pinterest and decided to make my own take on it using “everything Trader Joe’s.”

Of course, you can spin it any way you want whether you have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood or not.

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December 20, 2016   2 Comments