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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Appetizer Party!

In response to popular demand, this post will not only give you some great appetizer recipes, but also an idea for having an appetizer party! For several summers, my wife and I hosted an annual Appie party WITH A DIFFERENCE! Rather than having every couple bring an appetizer, they had to bring only a bottle of wine! The purpose of the party was to prepare and serve appetizers from recipes which I had collected over a period of time which were simple to prepare with a minimum of time (no more than 30 minutes). We usually had no more than 8 couples.

I printed out the recipes (none of which I had previously tried), purchased all of the required groceries and set up our kitchen for the ‘appie cooks’ with all of the required utensils, etc. When the guests arrived, they divided into pairs (spouses were not allowed). Every thirty minutes a new couple was sent into the kitchen to prepare an appetizer. Each couple was given a recipe to prepare and serve to the waiting other couples. While waiting, the non-cooks enjoyed wine on the patio. Each round of cooks had to wash their dishes before the next cooks took over.

After each appetizer was served and discussed, another couple was sent into the kitchen to prepare a different appetizer from my selected recipes. This continued until all of the invitees had completed their “assignments”.

At the end of the evening we rated the recipes and the winning ‘couple’ received a special prize. ALL of the couples received a copy of the recipes which had been tasted during the course of the evening.

HONESTLY…some of the recipes we tried were Baaaaad..… but that was not the fault of the preparers… All in all, it made for a fun party.

Below are four of my favourite appetizers from those parties –

Crab OR Chicken Puffs

Ingredients –

  • 250 g. Mexican cheese whiz
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 1/4 softened butter
  • 1 can flaked crab meat or shredded cooked chicken
Prep-
Mix ingredients in food processor. Spread on English muffin halves. Cut into quarters. Bake at 450F for 10 – 15 minutes.

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Sun-Dried Tomato & Garlic Dip

Ingredients

1 tub  (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese Spread
1/2 cup  MIRACLE WHIP Dressing
1/2 cup  oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, chopped
2 Tbsp.  finely chopped fresh chives
1 clove  garlic, minced
1 tsp.  freshly ground black pepper

Make It

 MIX ingredients until well blended.

SERVE with NABISCO Crackers and cut-up fresh vegetables.

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 WARM BRIE WITH FRUIT PUREE

Ingredients –
  • 4 portions of Brie
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 4 oz. mixed herbs – basil, mint and thyme
  • 12 oz. black currant jam
  • 1 oz. Sambucca liqueur
Preparation –
Make an egg wash. Place bread crumbs in large bowl and add herbs. Bread one portion of Brie by placing in (i) flour (ii) egg wash (iii) bread crumbs. Place on tray in fridge.
Mix jam and Sambucca in a saucepan and heat until slightly thick.
Place Brie in oven on a non-stick pan for 3-5 minutes @ 350 degrees.
Pour the sauce over the Brie on a large dinner plate. Serve with melba toast and mint garnish.
Notes Increase the sambucca as desired.
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The last one here was one we sampled in Niagara-on-the Lake in 2012. We all decided that this was a keeper too! Try it, Mikey…you’ll like it!

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Tart (or Quiche)

1. THE POTATOES:

Roll pastry and line 9 inch French tart shell or 24 mini tarts. Pre-bake at 450 degrees using weights to prevent the pastry from bubbling up.

Peel and dice 3 – 4 large sweet potatoes. Place on a sheet pan and sprinkle generously with olive oil, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon Herbs de Provence, season with salt and pepper. Toss again.

Roast in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so potatoes cook evenly.

The potatoes should be soft when pierced with a fork and the edges should be caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

2. GOAT CHEESE FILLING:

130 gram package of goat cheese

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

Combine these ingredients until smooth.

3. EGG FILLING:

5 large eggs

1/2 cup 10% cream

Beat together.

4. THE ASSEMBLY:

Crumble prepared goat cheese mixture evenly on bottom of tart shells.

Fill tart with prepared sweet potatoes chunks.

Pour egg mixture into tart slowly till it comes close to the top edge of the pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until tart souffles in the center (about 10 minutes for tarts).

I had previously posted this in 2012…in case you missed it!

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Post 150!

The next post will be #150, and while I have some ideas of what I might post, I was wondering of my followers had any suggestions? What would you like to see in the next post? Appetizers, Main Courses, Salads, Desserts, Side Dishes, Pasta, Beverages, Seafood??? Comment here and I will see what I can come up with….

 

Thanks for following along thus far…..

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini

Always great to have dinner with longtime friends. Made even better by this great tasting dish! Know you will enjoy it. Test out some of the optional ingredients at the end…

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini a la Chuck

This recipe is great for pasta and shrimp. I think I might even try the sauce over cooked chicken, served with rice!

500 grams linguini pasta

2 T olive oil

1 large onion chopped

4 cloves garlic crushed

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

 

Sauce:

1 can artichoke hearts

½ cup white wine

4 T lemon juice

4 tsp. lemon zest

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

½ cup chicken stock

Corn starch

4 T fresh chopped parsley

 

Optionals: 1 T capers and/or ¼ cup diced red peppers and/or 1 T Dijon mustard and/or crushed red pepper flakes

 

1.       Cook pasta in boiling water.

2.       Sauté onion and garlic (and red pepper) in oil for about 5 minutes while pasta is cooking. Remove to a bowl.

3.       Add shrimp to drippings and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts, wine, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and cooked onion and garlic. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover for 4 minutes.

4.       Thicken with cornstarch.

5.       Toss with pasta and parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Sauteed Chickpeas with Chorizo or Bacon

Here’s a little touch of Spain that we enjoyed in Havana. Adjust the amount of cumin to your specific taste! Red lettering indicates my changes to the original recipe as always…

Omit the meat if you want a vegan dish!!!

Sautéed Chickpeas with Chorizo

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 ounces dried Spanish chorizo, skin removed OR bacon chopped
  • 3 1/2 ounces roasted red bell peppers, sliced into 1/4- by 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 can drained chunky tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions

1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat; add the shallots and cook until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

2. Cut the chorizo/bacon into small pieces and add to the chickpeas. Continue to cook until the chorizo begins to render out some of the fat, 5 minutes. Add cumin.

3. Add the roasted red peppers to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and scrape up any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Toss with the chopped parsley and serve warm with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Campbell’s Tomato Soup Spice Cake

Keeping with the nostalgia mood from last week, here is another favourite recipe from my youth, which I recently found in an old Campbell’s Soup cookbook. For more SOUP-rising recipes, follow this link –

http://www.campbellskitchen.com/

Campbell’s Tomato Soup Spice Cake

 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Tomato Soup
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
Cream Cheese Frosting (Store Bought works)

How to Make It

  • Heat the oven to 350°F.  Grease a 13×9-inch baking pan.
  • Stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves in a large bowl.  Add the soup, shortening, eggs and water.  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until blended.   Increase the speed to high and beat for 4 minutes.  Pour the batter into the pan.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Frost with the Cream Cheese Frosting.

Honeymoon Salad ’cause that’s what my mother called it!

Mix the following ingredients. To me it’s more like dessert…LOL

Honeymoon Salad

  • 2 cans of drained mandarin oranges or fresh if available
  • 1 can pineapple chunks or fresh
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup coconut…consider toasting!
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • red Maraschino cherries
Mix it all together and refrigerate until ready to use.