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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cooking Show...Being Prepared for Unexpected Holiday Guests!

Last week we filmed an episode of the cooking show.  Donna, the producer of the show, suggested coming up with recipes that could be prepared in advance and then reheated when unexpected guests drop by during the holiday season.

For the record, let me state that I love having unexpected (or short-notice) guests drop by, any time of year.  Consider that your invitation, friends.

My friend, Kelly, cooked with me.  Within 90 minutes, we had cooked all that you see in these pictures.

You can mix up this dough in no time.  Roll it into a cylinder shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into your fridge for slice-and-bake cookies on a moment's notice.

Here's the printable recipe.

These mushrooms are easy to stuff in advance, then place into your freezer to be baked at a later date.  Here's the printable recipe.

Using the same dough as a base, you can make these soft, puffy, fluffy appetizers with bacon & cheddar or with shrimp.  Did I mention that the soft and fluffy on the inside (yet crunchy on the outside) dough is to die for?  Serve them warm from the oven, or let them cool completely and freeze in a zip lock freezer bag.  When frozen, they reheat in a matter of minutes.  Here's the printable recipe.

Okay, these are not something that you can prep in advance and freeze...but this recipe is so easy to make and so good I just had to include it.  Simply melt the cheeses (takes about 3 minutes in your microwave) and sauté some chopped mushrooms and lobster, stir it together and voila!  Serve as a dip, with pita chips or tortilla chips for dipping, or spoon it into phyllo cups and bake for a couple of minutes.  Here's the printable recipe.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Shrimp Puffs

In the 1980's, these appetizer puffs used to be one of my go-to recipes.

I don't know why they fell out of favor, maybe it's because as the years went by I preferred Stuffed Mushrooms and Mr. Terrific has more of an affinity for Lobster Phyllo Cups.

We were filming a cooking show recently (future post alert!) and someone suggested a theme of recipes that can be prepared in advance, frozen, and then reheated quickly when unexpected holiday visitors drop by.

The first recipe that popped into my head was these puff appetizers!

You can make them with shrimp or with bacon and cheddar.  The dough is light and fluffy and inside and slightly crunchy on the outside.  Whether you serve them right out of the oven or freeze them for a later date, you will love these appetizer puffs!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pistachio/Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are fabulous whenever you make them, but they're especially festive in the fall and through the holiday season!

I resisted making them forever.  My mom makes these cookies and several times a year she brings us a batch.  They're so GOOD.  They disappear in no time.

I asked her for the recipe a few years ago, and to my horror there is packaged pudding in them.  The snob in me simply refused to make them.

I didn't refuse to eat them, however.  Every time my mom brings us a batch, I definitely eat my fair share.

Perhaps more than my fair share.

Don't be like me, stubbornly refusing to make these cookies.  Make them today!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Cooking Show...Tailgating, Part III !

I can't believe we just filmed our third annual tailgating show!

I was once again joined by Maureen, the tailgating maven.  I don't know anyone who is more of a tailgating expert than she is.

Last month, it was my good luck to join in on one of her legendary tailgates, and I snapped a few photos.

Here they are:
Here's a photo of her table with appetizers and main dishes.

I think the two people that you see in the photo may be having a spirited discussion regarding whether the buffalo chicken dip tastes better with nachos or veggie sticks.

It's hard to see what was way down the other end of the table, so here's a picture of Maureen's fabulous tortellini/pasta salad and pulled pork sandwiches with vinegar slaw.

And we can't forget the dessert & drink table, featuring pomegranate mojitos and pumpkin whoopie pies, both of which we replicated for the show.

Here's what we made on the show:

Maureen thought it would be nice to have a signature cocktail for her tailgate.  

I decided that it should feature pomegranate juice, to match the colors of her alma mater.  Hence, Pomegranate Mojitos were born!  

Here's the printable recipe.

Then we moved on to Fall Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette.  Click here for the printable recipe.

In the upper left corner of the above photo, you can partially see the Brie & Jam Phyllo tarts that we made.  I wish I took a picture of them; I promise to update this post as soon as possible with a picture!  

In the meantime, if you want to make them, you will need a package of frozen phyllo tarts, a wedge of brie and a jar of jam.  Place a small (3/4-inch) piece of brie and 1/2 teaspoon of jam in each tart.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

For the record, I used roasted garlic & onion jam which lent the perfect amount of savory sweetness to these tarts!

Our menu would not be complete without Slow Cooker Pulled Pork sandwiches!  Here's the printable recipe.

And for a sweet finish to our show, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.  If you want to see a plate of treats disappear, make these.

During the show, someone asked me how long these will keep.  I had to answer that I didn't know, they are always gone by the next day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pomegranate Mojitos

I've been taking a lot of liberties with mojitos recently.

If there are mojito purists out there, I'm sure that my attempts at creating fun & fruity mojitos are a form of blasphemy in their eyes.

A friend of mine asked me to create a signature cocktail for her tailgate.  The school color is maroon, which made me think of pomegranate juice.  Before I could stop myself I was traveling down the fruity mojito road.
And there you go.  By the time we were finished, we had ourselves a menu for the next cooking show! (More tailgate pics & cooking show info in the next post.  Stay tuned!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I can't help it.

Now that autumn has arrived I want to make pumpkin everything!

We're barely two weeks into the fall season and I've already made five batches of pumpkin whoopie pies.  Seven batches, if you take into consideration that two of those batches were double!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

It just doesn't get any easier than this.

Three ingredients!

Throw it into your crock pot, forget about it for 12 hours while you go about your day.

As usual, I had to dress it up a bit by adding some spice; but if you want to keep it simple and omit that step I promise you that your pulled pork will still be out-of-this-world yummy!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fall Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

I've received a few emails recently, asking about my dogs and why I haven't been posting much about them.

I guess I've been too focused on recipes!

Last week was Clyde's birthday, however, so I guess this is a good time for a Clyde-pic.

Here he is, November 2012, the day I brought him home.

And here he is last week on his birthday!  I snapped this photo right after he chased a squirrel under the fence.  That's the look he gives whenever the animal he's chasing disappears under the fence.

I don't know whether that look means "Did you SEE that?!" or "Aren't you going to HELP me?" --but I'm always relieved that he's so slow and dopey when he gives chase, because I don't ever want to deal with a look of victory on his face!

Temperatures have dipped recently; I'm not really in that fall-comfort-food mode yet, but I'm ready to embrace the fruits of the season!  When I was at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago and I saw fresh cranberries, I think I might have exclaimed, "YES!!" out loud.  With a little fist pump.

What did I do with them?  I made a vinaigrette.

Isn't it pretty?!

You can prepare it in less than 10 minutes.  Make it in advance because it needs time to chill.  Then throw together this very simple salad (greens, a sliced pear or two, glazed pecans, dried cranberries and crumbled feta)!