Starters

Bellinis

Anyone that knows me knows that I LOVE champagne.  And yes there is a difference in champagne, not all are created equal.  Most people only open a bottle for a celebration and if thats you then splurge and buy the good stuff.  DO NOT buy that crappy André or Cooks stuff.  Don’t waste your money or the calories.  Throw down $30-$50 and buy a nice bottle of champagne. You don’t need to spend $100 on a good bottle of champagne or sparkling wine.
However, after saying all that I would not splurge if you are going to be making a cocktail such as a bellini.  If you like sweet use a Prosecco.  If you like a bit more dry go with a bottle of Gruet Brut.
Bellinis are the perfect drink to serve at a sip and see (you all know what that is, right?), a wedding shower, Easter brunch… Its springy and light and sweet. I like blueberries floating in mine, but you can use raspberries or put a strawberry on the edge of the glass.  
You can make a pitcher of these if you […]
2018-02-15T21:28:24+00:00April 29th, 2016|Starters, Breakfast & Brunch|0 Comments

Candied Bacon

Bacon! Oh yes the other white meat:)  I mean who doesn’t like bacon?  If you raised your hand you need to just stop reading right now! I’m not talking about that “turkey” bacon, I’m talking about BACON!  My kids think that a plate of bacon is a meal, ha!  

Ok, ok I do buy the uncured bacon only because it’s right next to the cured bacon and I am trying to be healthy. Seriously, there is no real taste difference in the two, just buy your favorite brand.  
The trick to this bacon is the corn meal it gives it some crunch. If I am serving these for a party then cut the bacon into thirds and serve them in a bowl.  Your guests will LOVE them!

 

1lb. thick cut bacon (thick cut is key)

3 cups brown sugar

3 Tablespoons yellow corn meal

Preheat oven to 350°

Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place a baking rack or cookie cooling rack on
top of foil.  Spray with cooking spray.

In a mixing […]

2018-02-15T21:28:25+00:00April 11th, 2016|Starters, Breakfast & Brunch|0 Comments

Bourbon Meatballs

This Bourbon Meatball recipe is a combination of several recipes I have found over the last couple of years.  My discerning taste testers have given me their feedback and this is the final recipe.

I mean it has bourbon, bacon, beef, BBQ sauce.  Who doesn’t like all of that?  I served these at a party recently and everyone loved them.  I admit I had plied them with lots of wine and booze, but never the less they liked them.  See, the secret to a good party is having really good booze and music then your guests will love your jokes and especially the food!
But on a more serious note, if cooking can be considered serious, these meatballs are great without the sauce served over mashed potatoes for dinner.  I will work on a more “formal” recipe for that one.

Bourbon Meatballs

An old fashioned appetizer with a twist of Bourbon to give it a hint of smoke and sweet.

  • 6 Strips uncooked bacon
  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Chili […]
2021-02-05T15:50:52+00:00April 7th, 2016|Starters, Meats & Fish|0 Comments

Ahi Tuna Dip

Ahi Tuna is not something my kids ask for or even eat, but Ray and I enjoy it and since we are older and pay the bills we win, ha! 
We actually had an unexpected night in last night and it was really nice.  I was able to put on my “mom” clothes as my kids say (translation, muumuu). We opened a nice bottle of wine, turned on some music and enjoyed the beautiful spring weather (translation-no bugs),
I had not been to the grocery store and I wasn’t going in my muumuu so I made what I could find the fridge.  I felt ambitious on Friday and thought I would be able to make this Ahi Tuna dip, but it didn’t happen so I made it for an appetizer last night. That sounds fancy, but the rest of the dinner was BBQ chicken and roasted asparagus because that is what I had in the fridge.  
When making this dip there are two things to remember. One, use only FRESH sushi grade ahi tuna and two, act like it was very difficult to make […]
2018-02-15T21:28:27+00:00April 3rd, 2016|Starters|0 Comments

Sauteed Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of those side dishes that you either love or hate. I happen to love them!  There is nothing better than a great steak and sautéed mushrooms poured on top.  They give an earthy flavor that nothing else can duplicate. It’s called Umami (oo-MAH-mee), the fifth taste-salty, sweet, bitter, sour, umami.  It is a deep, meaty, savory taste. Think of soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, black olives, blue cheese they all have that hearty umami flavor. 

Ok enough education lets eat! 

 

2 lb. Crimini mushrooms, whole or cut into 1/4 with ends trimmed

1/2 stick butter
1 shallot, minced (or use an onion if that is all you have)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the mushrooms and trim the ends.
Melt the  butter in a small saucepan.  Add shallots and cook over medium heat until soft.  Add the garlic and sauté another minute.  
Add rosemary, mushrooms, wine and broth.  Cook over medium to medium low heat until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has reduced, about 25 […]
2018-02-15T21:49:36+00:00April 1st, 2016|Starters|0 Comments

Radishes with Butter and Salt

Ok, I know you all see those beautiful red bulbs in the grocery store and think, who eats those?  Or, what do you do with radishes?  Don’t walk past this vegetable again!!  Just don’t do it!  Grab a bunch and give them a try.  

You can sauté them, roast them, pickle them or eat them raw.  One of the ways I like to eat or serve radishes is VERY simple.  Are you getting the idea that I like simple?  The next time you are needing to bring an appetizer to a get together bring this.  Or just put it out before dinner and munch on them with a crisp glass of champagne while you are cooking. There doesn’t have to be a special occasion to have a glass of champagne on Tuesday.  Life is too short to not make everyday special.  
I’ll get off my soapbox now. But seriously try radishes-you will love them!
Here is the salt I prefer in a dish like this where the taste is very prominent.

 

1 bunch of radishes-there are many varieties so buy […]

2018-02-15T21:28:27+00:00March 31st, 2016|Starters|0 Comments

Cucumber Carpaccio

While we were in San Diego for a lacrosse tournament last year, my husband and I snuck away and had a wonderful glass of wine and a dish similar to this at a restaurant on the beach. I’ll have you know we did not miss one game-this was during a practice time.  I am sure the atmosphere made this exceptionally delicious, but none the less I wanted to make it at home. 

There are many variations of this, but this is the one that we like.   

 

Cucumber Carpaccio

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced very thin
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon olive oil

If you have a mandolin then put it on the second thinnest setting and slice the cucumber.  Arrange on a plate.  If you are doing this in advance then stop at this point and place the plate in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, drizzle lemon juice, oil, salt and chili powder on cucumber slices. If you do this ahead of time the cucumber will get soggy.




2018-02-15T21:28:27+00:00March 31st, 2016|Starters, Sides|0 Comments

Caprese Skewers

I hosted a cocktail party a few weeks back and served this appetizer.  They were gone in a flash. One of my friends even dribbled some of the oil on her gorgeous outfit, but said it was worth it because those things were amazing.  Now that is a compliment, whether she was just drunk and being nice or was serious.  I take all compliments about my food to heart.  See that is a lesson in serving your guests lots of cocktails so they will love anything you put in front of them:)
But seriously, aren’t cocktail parties so fun?  There is no pressure to serve dinner and typically people help out the hostess and bring delicious dips or wine.  I feel like we, as a generation, have lost the art of casual get togethers.  It’s kinda nice to gather at someone’s house and just talk, no phones, just talking and catching up.  We have a group of friends that gets together for game night every now and then. It’s relaxed, casual, silly and fun.  
This is a great appetizer to bring to a party […]
2018-02-15T21:28:27+00:00March 30th, 2016|Starters|0 Comments

Kung Pao Macadamia Nuts

I am always looking for things to serve at parties that are easy to make, shocking I know.  I have no idea where I came up with this idea, but it seems to work.  Let me know your thoughts!

This recipe is SO easy I really can’t call it a recipe.  It’s just that easy.  Serve these nuts with beer, wine, champagne, cocktails….

 

Kung Pao Macadamia Nuts

1 (6oz) jar Macadamia Nuts
1/3 cup Kung Pao Sauce (you can find this in jar in the Asian food section of any grocery store)


Preheat oven to 350°.

In a small bowl, mix nuts and sauce.  Make sure all the nuts are coated in the fabulous sweet/spicy, sticky sauce.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Pour the coated nuts on the sheet and spread them out in a single layer.  

Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Serve!

It's really that easy.  But shhhh don't tell when you are serving these at a dinner party. 


2018-02-15T21:28:29+00:00March 25th, 2016|Starters|0 Comments

Salsa

So in Texas we call Salsa, Hot Sauce.  I remember living in California and asking for hot sauce at a Mexican restaurant and they brought me Tabasco.  A reminder that I was not in Texas anymore.  I loved our time in CA, but I missed my Tex-Mex.  Being back in the Lone Star state I can get all the “hot sauce” I want!

I came up with this recipe because my dear friend, Jean, gave us a jar of homemade salsa for Christmas a few years back.  My boys ate the entire jar in one afternoon.  They LOVED it.  I asked her for the recipe, but I could not make it as good as she did, according to my boys.  So, I came up with this recipe and they approve!  YAY! You know its all about making the princes happy.

Salsa

A spicy, tangy Tex-Mex salsa that goes with anything!

  • 1 14.5 oz Cans diced tomatoes (if you can find fire roasted even better)
  • 1 small can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 1 jalapeno (if you […]
2020-04-25T22:18:52+00:00March 22nd, 2016|Starters|0 Comments

Chili Lime Sweet Corn Salad

When corn starts showing up in the grocery stores I get so excited.  I know, I know it is not the “thing” to eat right now, but it is so good and I really feel that eating everything in moderation, oh hell who am I kidding, just eat and enjoy one of the greatest pleasures in life-FOOD!  Anyway, back on track…. corn, corn, corn.  So many ways to serve it.  This recipe I developed because I had a ton of corn from Costco, don’t get me started on my love affair with Costco, but I had a ton, quite literally, and I needed to use it. We were having people over and I came up with this.  It’s very summery and Texas, but with corn available all year round you can serve this whenever you want.

This can be served as a side dish or a dip with corn chips at a party.  And, as with all my recipes, adjust the measurements to your tastes.  Nothing has to be exact.  

 

Chili Lime Corn Salad


6-8 side servings
6 ears of […]
2018-02-15T21:28:31+00:00February 26th, 2016|Starters|0 Comments

Pimento Cheese

I have been trying to create the perfect recipe for Pimento Cheese for YEARS.  I have finally mastered it-woohoo!  I can now rest.  I know you are saying, what?  But it has been a mission of mine to get it right. And Lord have mercy I did it! My family is now sick of Pimento Cheese, but they will just have to get over it because I love it. And let’s face it, the cook gets to choose what the rest of the minions eat. So Pimento Cheese it is for the rest of their lives in my house.  

Now, if you are Southern or Texan you have had Pimento Cheese.  It is quintessentially Southern.  Fun fact, it was created in New York in the 1880’s with the import of Spanish sweet peppers and the availability of cream cheese.  In the 1920’s farmers in Griffin, Georgia began producing and canning Pimentos.  And the magical spread we call Pimento Cheese began showing up in Southern cookbooks about the end of World War II.  Anyway, enough history class lets eat!!

 

Pimento […]

2018-02-15T21:28:31+00:00February 25th, 2016|Starters|0 Comments
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