Nov 30, 2010

What's on Your Cheese Plate?

When planning a cheese plate you need to consider what beverages you are going to serve with it.  All types of beer go with Pecorino, Cheddar, Gouda, and Gruyere serve with olives, crackers and salted nuts.  

For pairing cheese with wine visit Wine Pairing

Picking one cheese from the category of milk types –sheep, goat, cow – can create a cheese plate, be sure to serve odd numbers of cheese as it is more appealing. Crackers are good if they are to be used as a palate cleanser. Bunches of grapes add color and are great paired with cheese.

Remember to take the cheeses  out of the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes prior to serving so that they may reach room temperature.  Serve all soft ripened cheeses in wedges, present fresh soft cheeses like Brie, in the entire form and have a knife to cut and spread onto crackers or bread. Hard cheeses should be cut into pieces for serving.

Don't forget your cheese knives, cheese forks and wooden picks for serving 

Hosting a Brunch- Easy Peasy

Great idea for holiday entertainment. One of the easiest ways to entertain is to host a brunch.

The following menu will offer your guests a nice assortment of foods and have you as a relaxed hostess/host with much of the menu prepped in advance. 

Items in purple are links to easy recipes.

Nov 29, 2010

Tip - Unexpected Guest

Plan for the unexpected. Fill a large bowl or basket with inexpensive individually wrapped gifts, suitable for either male or female.  Tuck in some greens to make it festive. Your unexpected guests will be thrilled to receive a gift from you. Don't forget to have a few gifts for children.

Getting ready for your Christmas Party- Beginning of December

Send out invites for the holiday party. Decide where your guests will be mingling and start doing deep cleaning and decoratingPlan the menu Remember if you are serving buffet style every thing must be easy to eat with a fork, spoon or fingers.  Shop for non perishable foods. Order specialty items and whatever beverage/cocktail fixings you need.

Nov 28, 2010

Nov 27, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

You now have Thanksgiving under your belt, time to start making notes for Christmas. Get out your trusty entertaining book. Look over your December calendar and see what events are scheduled. Make a page in your book for  each event.  Got a pot luck - write down the recipe and list of ingredients including the serving dish. Hosting a brunch, check back next week when I will post a menu and recipes for one.  What's for Christmas dinner?  Work on the menu and grocery list early so you don't stress over it.  How about a dessert party? More ideas on that next week.

Equipment for Easy Entertaining

A great item to add to your entertaining stash is a  Triple burner set . Be sure to get the chafing inserts.  These pots are very versatile You will wonder how you got along without them.  

Nov 26, 2010

Your Entertaing Notebook1

After you get home from the sales and sit down to catch your breath, take out your entertaining notebook.  You want to do this while everything is fresh in your mind.

Make a list of everything you put on the table with the amount ie: turkey 20 lbs. Now next to each item note whether you had leftovers and if you want it on your next menu.

Make notes of linens, tablescape, list of people  attending, and anything you want to change or add for the next time. You can use these notes for planning your Christmas dinner.

Leftovers Galore

Try some of these links for using up your leftovers, if you have any. With my hungry hoard there was only mash taters (will make potato cakes for breakfast) and fruitcake.

Nov 24, 2010

 Thanks to readers for these recipes.

 hannie 201 Hot Browns

Our left over turkey always goes for Hot Browns----It's famous in our part of the Country and easy.
Toast one or two slices of white bread(or whole wheat if that is what you like).  Place them on a plate you can put under the broiler for a minute or two.   Place sliced turkey on the toast, place a slice of fresh tomato on turkey and two bacon strips.  I make cheese sauce from cheddar cheese or, I guess, you could use cheese sauce from the grocery, whatever kind you like.  Pour some cheese sauce over your "sandwich" and place under broiler til cheese melts.   Yum, yum!
That is the basic Hot Brown.   Leave the tomato off, or bacon off, and you'll still have a nice wholesome dish.   Just watch it when under the broiler.  I am famous for burning things from lack of attention!!

Lynne's Leftovers from Turkey Dinner Casserole

Take a 13x9 pan and spray it with cooking spray. put a layer of the dressing down in it; then a layer on the turkey; then a layer on the mashed potatoes, then the gravy over it and bake it again in the oven for a hour at 350 degrees.
my family just loves it this way! hope this helps!
have a great thanksgiving day!

Nov 23, 2010

How to Get Rid of the Bird or What to Fix for Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!  Time to get the big guns  out for Black Friday shopping. Here are a couple of quick use up the leftover recipes, to get you out of the house and into the mall.

Open-Face Turkey Sandwiches:
The open-face turkey sandwich is a staple for using up leftovers. Take a  slice of bread, mound it up with turkey, add a slice of cranberry sauce, pour some gravy over it, and heat the whole thing up in a microwave or toaster oven.

Grilled Turkey Cheese with Apple Sandwiches:


or artisan Bread
Sliced Turkey
Cheese slices
Thin slices of apple


Butter out side of bread slices
Arrange sliced turkey on unbuttered side of bread
Add apple slices and top with cheese
Put second slice of bread on top of cheese butter side out
Lay on preheated grill pan or panini machine and toast till light brown

Turkey Apple Salad

 3 cups torn green leaf and/or romaine lettuce
 2 medium red pears or apples, cored and cut into thin wedges
 2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
 1/4 cup Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

 Arrange lettuce, pears, turkey and walnuts on serving platter.
 Drizzle with  Raspberry  Dressing and serve immediately.

Sheppard's Pie Serves 4 to 6


3 cups cooked stuffing
 1 cup cranberry sauce for topping
1 pound diced cooked  turkey  
 10 ounces mixed vegetables (cooked)
4 to 6 tablespoons gravy
 3 to 4 cups mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven safe dish,  place stuffing on bottom; layer cubed turkey and mixed vegetables. Moisten with gravy; spread potatoes on top. Place dish on a baking sheet, and bake until heated through and potatoes are golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with cranberry sauce on the side.

    Nov 18, 2010

    Serving Dishes and China

    Today, we need to check our china and serving dishes.  Pull out your serving dishes and put a note in each one with the item being served along with the serving utensil.  Get out your glassware and run it through the dishwasher or wash by hand so they are sparkling clean. If glassware is cloudy, rub with vinegar to remove.

    Finish up your tablescape. Make a note of what still needs to be done around the house ie: guest bathroom.

    Nov 17, 2010

    Pioneer Woman verus Bobby Flay

    Tonight the Pioneer Woman is challenging Bobby Flay

    Lisa's sausage balls

    Who can't use another appetizer, which is the hit of the party?

    Cheese & Sausage Balls
    recipe from Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
    1 (7.75 ounces)package Bisquick Complete Cheese-Garlic Biscuit mix
    1 pound ground pork sausage (I used sage flavored)
    1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
    1 egg
    2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)

    Oven to 350.

    Let the sausage sit out for a half hour to come to room temperature. This makes it easier to mix. Combine the sausage and biscuit mix. Add in the egg and mix (with your fingers) to combine. Mix in the cheese and chives. Form into walnut size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with no-stick foil. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through.

    Serve with dipping sauce of your choice.

    Be sure to visit Lisa's blog

    Nov 16, 2010

    Puff Pastry Pinwheels

    Prep Time:  10 Min
    Cook Time: 10 Min
    Ready In: 20 Min

     Yield 8 servings


        * 1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
        * 5 ounces prosciutto or deli ham, thinly sliced
        * 5 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced
        * 2 teaspoons prepared Dijon mustard


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil spray. 

    2. Roll the thawed pastry out onto a flat surface. Spread Dijon mustard to taste on the pastry sheets. Cover pastry with a layer of prosciutto/ham, then cheese. Roll the sheets, beginning at the long side. Cut into 1 inch thick sections. Arrange the sections on the prepared baking sheet. 

    3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

    Nov 15, 2010

    Make ahead

    Time to look at your menu and figure out which items can be prepped or made ahead of the big day. 

    Finish any last  minute food shopping.

    Plan a light meal for the night before so you can devote this time to finishing up without feeling stressed. You want to be able to enjoy the holiday meal with your family and friends.

    Savory Parmesan Bites

    Prep Time:15 min
    Total Time:30 min
    Makes:32 servings

    1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
    1 cup  Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
    2 cans (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
    1 cup  chopped red peppers
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    Heat oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup Parmesan with mixer until well blended.

    Separate crescent rolls into 8 rectangles; press perforations together to seal. Spread each with 3 Tbsp. cream cheese mixture. Top with peppers and parsley. Fold 1 long side of each dough rectangle over filling to center; fold again to enclose filling. Cut each into 4 squares. Place, seam-sides down, on baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

    Bake: 13 to 15 min. or until golden brown.

    Nov 14, 2010

    White Bean Dip

    Two 19-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained  
    1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
    19-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    Water to smooth beans to dip consistency (about 2 t)
    Crushed red pepper flakes
    Pita chips, for serving

    Directions In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic, sage and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant and the garlic is just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the beans and toss to coat. Transfer the cannellini beans to a food processor. Add the water, season with salt and cayenne and process to a fairly smooth puree. Transfer the dip to a small serving bowl, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top and serve with pita chips.

    Nov 13, 2010

    Lemon Curd

    Quick tip keep a  jar of lemon curd and a box of sugar cookie on hand in the pantry for unexpected guests that stop by.  If cookies go stale, crush them and use as topping for pudding or ice cream.

    Nov 10, 2010

    Planning Thanksgiving Dinner

    OK, it's time to get out the pencil and paper. This will be your guide to a great Thanksgiving dinner. First you need to make several columns. In the first column you are going to list your entire dinner menu. Second column is list ingredients needed to prepare the item in column one with serving quanity. Third column is where the recipe for that item is iie: which  cookbook. Fourth column is what dish you are going to serve that item in. The last column is to make notes about each dish for planning next year, whether it is to much, not enough or plan to replace it with another item. When this done you will make two lists for shopping. One for all the dry goods (flour, spices, can goods). Second list is for all the perishables (fresh veggies, turkey, cool whip),  Take the first list to the grocery store now and get the dry items. The second list can be purchased a few days before Thanksgiving.  Next make sure your linens are ready as well as the serving dishes. Planning ahead will ensure a great dinner and a relaxed host or hostess.

    Tips for tablescapes Ask Ina



    1 large peeled and grated cucumber
    2 cups Greek yogurt
    1 small minced garlic clove
    1 Tbl chopped mint and dill


    Mix all ingredients together and chill. Serve with raw veggies and or crackers

    Nov 8, 2010

    Microwave Popcorn

    Couldn't resist posting this Make-your-own-microwave-popcorn-packs, great for the cold winter nights watching TV or movies.

    Hot Pizza Dip

    Prep Time: 10 Min
    Cook Time: 5 Min
    Ready In: 15 Min
     Yield 16 servings

     1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
    1/4 teaspoon dried basil
    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 cup pizza sauce
    2 tablespoons chopped green bell pepper
    2 ounces pepperoni  chopped  or 2 ounces cooked and crumbled  Itl. sausage
    Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    2 tablespoons sliced black olives

     In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, oregano, parsley, and basil.
    Spread mixture in the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate, or a shallow microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese on top of the cream cheese mixture. Spread the pizza sauce over all. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, then top with green pepper, pepperoni and olive slices. Cover, and microwave for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

    Nov 7, 2010

    What's On Your Thanksgiving Menu

    Tell us what you have on your Thanksgiving menu.

    A few Thanksgiving links to help you have a fabulous Thanksgiving.

    Better Homes and Gardens  
    Thanksgiving Dinner
    Thanksgiving Turkey
    Thanksgiving Recipes 

    Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe

    Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe

    Yield: 6 Servings

      1  tb Unsalted butter  
      1  Large red onion, sliced  
      1/2  c Mayonnaise  
      1/4  ts Cayenne pepper  

       1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
      1/8  ts Tabasco sauce  
      1  tb  oil  
      1/2  c Sour cream  
      1/4  ts Salt  
      1  ts Red pepper flakes  

      1. Slowly saute onion in butter and oil until caramelized (golden brown), about 20 minutes.
      2. Cool and combine the remaining ingredients.
      3. Mix well and chill for at least 1 hour.
      Serve with crackers or chips.

    Dips and More Dips

    Working on dips for the holidays will be posting one a day for the next week.

    Fast easy reduced calories and who doesn't love bacon.
    "The flavor shines through in this reduced fat BREAKSTONE'S Sour Cream dip with dressing, cheddar cheese, bacon crumbles and green onions. "
     Prep Time:
    15 Min
    Ready In:
    15 Min
    Recipe Yield 2 -1/2 cups dip

     1 cup BREAKSTONE'S Reduced Fat Sour Cream
     1 cup MIRACLE WHIP LIGHT Dressing
     1 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Cheddar Cheese
     4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
     2 green onions, sliced
     RITZ Crackers

     Mix all ingredients except crackers.
    Serve with crackers.