Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015 Tapas Menu

It was so much fun to have my brother Pat joined Claire, Mike and I for the holidays.  We had so much fun cooking together.  I especially appreciated that he made the crab cakes this year.  The lime remoulade was outstanding. 

The wine of fantastic. We started with white; a dry Riesling from Terra Valentine that Claire brought and the Salus Chardonnay for the two Mike's. The one wine missing from this photo is the Girasole Muscat Canelli included just for Jan.  We are so happy Jan and Mike Pitzo also joined in the fun on Christmas eve. The festivities start right after the 4:00 children's mass. Another highlight for me was singing in church with Claire. :)

  • Meatballs with pineapple (Mom's recipe)
  • Blue cheese stuffed bacon wrapped dates
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Empanadas (Made for Thanksgiving and froze some. I will definitely do that again.) Great with the corn salsa
  • Crab cakes with lime remoulade and corn salsa
  • Spinach artichoke dip made by Claire was super delicious with toasted Asiago bread
  • Salted almonds
  • Popcorn with truffle salt
  • A variety of cheeses (smoked Gouda, aged cheddar, Boursin, etc.) olives and wonderful deer salami from Mike.
  • Large green grapes
  • The port was delicious with the fudge made by Jan and the chocolate covered strawberries sent by my sister Jane. I also made almond joy bars, one of my favorites.
An extra benefit to this amazing feast is we have plenty of food for the next day. On Christmas morning I made an egg casserole served with a  grapefruit and mint salad with coffee cake along with mimosas.

After breakfast Claire and I go into movie and knitting mode and no more cooking happens.  Super fun holiday!

I forgot to serve the Fondue Cheesecake Bites with Red Grape Relish.  They are delicious.  I will make these and again and actually serve them

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicken Parm Stuffed Spaghetti Squash


Large Spaghetti Squash 
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts /cut into strips
2 Eggs /beaten
Italian Style Breadcrumbs 
Marinara Sauce
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Italian Seasoning
Oil for frying

How to make it:
With a sharp knife, slice the squash in half. (If the squash is too tough - puncture in several places forming a dotted line around the squash. Microwave for 3-5 minutes to soften. Allow to cool before cutting in half - following the dotted line). Scoop out the seeds - brush with oil, salt, and pepper, - and roast face down in a preheated oven at 375˚F (190˚C) for 35-40 minutes (until a fork can easily pierce the skin). 

Meanwhile, slice the chicken breasts into strips. Place flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls.  Coat each strip with flour, then egg, and then roll in bread crumbs. 

Heat a well-oiled skillet over medium/high heat. Fry the chicken strips (in batches if necessary) until golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Set aside on paper towels. 

Once the squash has finished roasting - remove from the oven and let it set for a few minutes before turing over and pulling at it with a fork. Shred the inside of each squash, being careful not to poke through the skin. Pour marinara sauce over shredded squash. Top with chicken strips, then more marinara, and finish with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and a pinch of Italian seasoning. Return to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted. Enjoy!

Coconut curry pumpkin soup

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Lasagna Roll Ups

Crab Rangoon Dip

Crab Rangoon Dip - A party favorite!
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2 cups crab meat
16 oz. cream cheese (2 blocks)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp lemon juice

1. First, soften the cream cheese in the microwave for about a minute.
2. Chop your green onions. Add them and your two cups of crab meat .
3. Add the sour cream, Worcestershire sauce, powdered sugar, garlic powder and lemon juice.
4. Mix all the ingredients and bake for 30 mins at 350 degrees. Serve hot with chips or fried wontons or pork rinds.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

French wines

This delicious Syrah is from France.  Dennis Kohl recommended it and Dianne and I sampled while prepping appetizers for our Thanksgiving eve event. Super delicious.  Dianne described it as being soft in her mouth.

This Cabernet Franc is very earthy and tastes of mushrooms.

Very tasty French Rose.

Thanksgiving menu, 2015, 2016 & 2017

I start Thanksgiving morning making pies.  3 go to the church and 2 stay home. Such a fun way to start the day. A stop at the grocery store and then on to the dressing, then the turkey goes in the oven. Next up is the sweet potatoe casserole and the cranberry relish. Whew!

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp orange juice
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla

Cook in medium pan for approximately 5-7 minutes. 
When berries start to pop, mash together. 
Cool and serve.

  • Apple pie for Mike. First thing on Thanksgiving morning I make pies for the church Thanksgiving dinner. Fun. Then a pie for Mike and then the dressing and finally the turkey.

Mike and I went for a walk after dinner. Light snow falling. Very beautiful. Feeling blessed. Missed the presence of family but enjoyed the quiet especially after a hectic fall of moving. Peace.