Category Archives: Entertaining

Chicken Chili

Standard

 

I realize that Halloween was on Monday and that we have all moved on to Thanksgiving and Christmas baking, but please indulge me. I have this one last post from the Halloween Birthday Party!! This was a big hit and can be served anytime.  No scary holiday needed…. I named it Ghost Chili for the party.  This has a great southwest flavor to it. I used styrofoam cups that I painted themed words on with puffy paint.  The styrofoam not only helped to keep the chili warm but it was a super easy clean up for after the party!

1 onion chopped

2 garlic cloves chopped

4 boneless skinless chicken breast

3 cups water

14 oz chicken stock

salt and pepper

2 tsp cumin, chili powder

1 tsp marjoram

4 cans drained and rinsed white beans

1 16 oz package of frozen corn

2 cans green chiles

juice of one lime

 

Salt and pepper the chicken breast and cook in a saute pan approx 5 min on each side.  Remove from pan and let cool.  In a dutch oven heat 1 tbs olive oil and saute the onion and garlic. Add all the remaining ingredients except the lime juice.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Shred the chicken breast with 2 forks and add to the pot.  Simmer for 1 -2 hrs.  Just before serving add the lime juice to brighten the flavors.

Halloween Sugar Cookies!

Standard

These cookies are a labour of Love.  They do take quite a bit of time but they are so worth the effort when they are done!  These are the cookies that I used for Steven’s Birthday bash this weekend and his Grave Yard Cake https://theplaidandpaisleykitchen.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/graveyard-cake-and-surprise-happy-birthday/

I use Martha Stewart’s Sugar Cookie recipe for all my sugar cookies.  I have been using it for years and it really is the best sugar cookie recipe I have ever used.  I am a bit of a Groupie…… I mean really who doesn’t love all things Martha?? I couldn’t really consider myself a True Preppy Girl if I didn’t, right?

4 cups AP flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter room temp

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixer blend sugar and butter till creamy and fluffy.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Gradually add in flour and baking powder.  Mix till combined and dough is formed.  Divide dough in half and form 2 disks wrap in cling film (saran wrap) and chill overnight. (or at least 1-2 hrs) I like to make my dough one day and cut out and bake the next.  With my busy schedule this seems to work best for me.  When you are ready to bake. Take the dough out of the fridge for 10-15 min and let rest.  Pre Heat oven to 325.  Lightly flour your rolling surface and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes.  For this party I made, Candy Corn, Pumpkins, Tombstones, Ghosts, Coffins.  Only re roll your scraps once or you will over work the dough and they will be tough and not as tasty.  Bake the shapes for 15 min. Cool on a wire rack.  Once the cookies are completely cool you can frost them.  For these cookies I used Ashley at Kitchen Meets Girl’s recipe. http://www.kitchenmeetsgirl.com/

3 cups powder sugar

6tbs milk

6tbs corn syrup

1/2 tsp almond flavoring

1 tsp vanilla flavoring

Combine all in a mixer. Divide into batches and tint to the colors you plan on using. (use Gel food coloring or you will thin the frosting out too much with the liquid kind)  This is a bit unwieldy to work with, but once you get the hang of it you will love it.  The trick is to use a bottle to apply it.  You know those Ketchup and Mustard plastic bottles that you can keep refilling, yeah use that!  She forgot to tell me that little trick and the first time I used it I called her crying and screaming How do you control this Stuff?!! It was EVERYWHERE!!!!!  She laughed and goes “oh yeah it is really messy. Use a bottle.”  Now you would have thought I could have thought of that myself….. But it was one of those days.  Needless to say she is still one of my best friends! I first outline the cookies to make a dam.  Let that dry about 30 min.  Then you can flood the middles.  I had every intention of making the Tombstones more decorative and write names on them.  These were for a surprise birthday party and I did not have the time I needed before I had to stash them away.  Even though they were not as “fancy” as I would have liked them to be they still were great and the party went off without a hitch!!!

Graveyard Cake and Surprise Happy Birthday!

Standard

Steven celebrated his 19th Birthday in style this weekend!  We were able to pull off a GREAT surprise birthday party for him!! For my next few posts I don’t have the pictures for each step like I normally do. I was trying to work as covertly as possible all week.
This cake is super easy and anyone can make it.  You can even use a box cake if you like.

1 Chocolate Cake baked in 9 in pans
1 batch butter cream frosting tinted black (or a tub of vanilla frosting and add the black food coloring, I said it was easy)
Halloween sprinkles
1 package Halloween Oreo’s

In a food processor blend the cookies to make the “grave yard dirt”.  I liked the orange filling ones better I think it has an ethereal look to the “dirt”.
Level the tops of your cakes so they will stack flat.  Spread a layer of frosting on top of one cake and sprinkle the Halloween sprinkles on top.  Place the second layer of cake on top and spread a layer of frosting on top.  Don’t frost the sides.  Spread the “dirt” on the top of the cake.  Place the tombstone cookies and ghost cookies on top. https://theplaidandpaisleykitchen.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/halloween-sugar-cookies/  Spread the rest of the “dirt” around the bottom edge of the cake.  Viola you have a Spooktacular Cake!

Red Wine Pot Roast

Standard

Fall is  full on here in the Midwest. The days are cooling but warm in the sun.  The nights are crisp and cool and I wore a new sweater today!! Time for some comfort food and good wine!  I like to take classic meals that we all know and love and can make in our sleep.  Then I like to take a little twist and jazz them up or bring them into the 21st Century.  Now I know I am not the first person to throw a bottle of wine (give or take a bit) into a crock pot but I don’t think it is done as much as the traditional cream of mushroom (which I happen to really like).  The day I made this was the day we were out apple picking and going on a picnic and having all sorts of fun.  I knew when we got home I was not going to want to make a big meal.  Crock Pots are not my first choice to cook in.  They do however have a place in a busy woman’s schedule and I do use them every now and then.  More so in the fall.  It was nice to come home and have the main dish ready to serve and I only had to make the Scalloped Potatoes  Everyone DEVOURED the whole meal in a matter of only a few Ravenous minutes so I was glad that I had not slaved over a stove all day!

1 3lb pot roast or chuck roast
1 onion diced
3 celery stalks diced
3 carrots peeled and cut into large dice
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
to taste of each: salt, pepper, thyme, marjoram, onion and garlic powders
2 bay leaves
1/2 bottle of red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon

 Salt and pepper the roast.  In a dutch oven heat 1-2 tbs olive oil and sear the roast on all sides about 2 min each side.

 Then place in a crock pot and add all remaining ingredients.

Cook on low for 5-6 hrs or high for 2-3 hrs.  When meat is tender and can shred with a fork the meal is ready to serve!

Enjoy your hearty fall meal! Don’t forget to serve with the Scalloped Potatoes

 

Scalloped Potatoes

Standard

Rich, hearty, cheesy, creamy, savory, delightful…. let’s see what other adjectives can I use to describe this dish?  I tweaked this recipe a few years ago and it has been a show stopper each time I make it.  This was the best accompaniment to my Wine Pot Roast (post coming on Friday so check back) and the whole family was super happy with dinner! I first made this the way it was posted and it was all runny and kinda blah… I have since then cut back on the amount of milk I use and added more CHEESE!

1 1/2 lbs of russet potatoes sliced thin on a mandolin. (be careful I just got my bandage off a week later.)
3 tbs unsalted butter or more
salt and pepper
3/4 cup milk
2 bay leaves
1 cup shredded Dubliner cheese (you can use white cheddar also)
1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbs balsamic vinegar

Spray a 1 or 2 qt casserole dish with fat free non stick spray and arrange a layer of sliced potatoes and salt and pepper. Dot with a few dabs of butter.

add a second layer of potatoes and 1/2 of the dubliner cheese, then a third layer and remaining cheese.
In a small sauce pan heat the milk and bay leaves until just before a boil.  Little bubbles will appear on the edges of the milk.

remove from heat an pour over potatoes and cheese.  I always make a little flower on top with extra potato slices.

bake at 375 for 40-50 min until potatoes are tender and cheese is all melted. Remove and then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and put under the broiler for 3-4 min until golden brown and bubbly

Drizzle the balsamic vinegar on top and you have a great side dish ready to impress!

Champagne Cupcakes

Standard

Oohh did someone say Champagne and Cupcakes?!  Oh My Goodness! Two of my favorite things combined in one little package of happiness!!! When entertaining family that have not been over in 11 years it is time to celebrate and have a little fun!  Michelle celebrated her “29 again” birthday with us and this was the delicious little treat that I served for her Celebration!
I wish I could say that this was my original recipe but I have to give proper credit to Kystina Castella and her Crazy About Cupcakes cookbook.

For the Cupcakes:
2/3 cup butter at room temp
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups AP flour ( I wish I had used Cake Flour as the cupcakes were very dense and I think they would have been lighter if I had used Cake Flour. So use Cake Flour not AP)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup champagne
6 large egg whites at room temp
For the Frosting:
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 sticks butter at room temp
3-6 tbs champagne
4 1/2 cups powderd sugar
3 tbs merguine powder

Pre heat oven to 350 and place liners in cupcake pan.  In a large bowl cream together the sugar and the butter till fluffy.

  Add the dry ingredients alternately with the champagne on low spead to med low spead til combined.

Oh and by the way you know my saying as long as you are cooking with wine, go ahead and have a glass!

In a large bowl beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter and then fold in the remaing egg whites.  This will be hard to do as the batter is very dense.  I really think the Cake Flour would have made a big difference.  Fill the cupcake lines 2/3 full and bake at 350 for 20 min.

Cool on a rack to keep bottoms from getting soggy.
To make the Frosting:
Combine all ingredients in a mixer with the paddle attachment

Frost with a palate knife and tap the frosting while pulling up to form the peaks.  If you don’t want this look you can still frost smoothly.  These were very very good and will make a great showy centerpiece to any event!

Picnic Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Standard

So as I said my sister in law Michelle was in town and we had tons of fun things planned for the weekend! A picnic was one of them, and it turned out the location was a surprise even to me.  As you know we have been in Kansas City for about 9 months now, we moved here from Central California.  As you can imagine I miss my wine!!!!!!! Let’s not even talk about the weather……..  We have been to a couple of local wineries here and were MAJORLY disappointed! Then after a morning of apple picking and pumpkin farms we were ready for our picnic.  On the way to a park that I knew of we spotted a sign that said Winery 4 miles this way.  What the heck? How bad can it be? Nothing could be worse than the elderberry and apple wine…… Four miles later we pull into this winery that looks every bit the same as a Artisan, Craft winery in Lodi, Cali.  Hmmmm, this looks better than the others here…. Let’s keep going.  The parking lot was overfull and we had to park in the field.  Busy? Oh yes this winery was crazy busy! We waited about 30 min in line just to get to the tasting room. My hopes are rising as a crummy winery wouldn’t be this busy would it? I was so pleasantly surprised when I took the first sip and it was palatable! Then they had 2 wines that I actually liked!!!! You can’t grow traditional wine grapes out here in the Midwest, too hot and then too cold. So they grow grapes I had never heard of, Chambourcin, Norton, and here is the kicker…… Concord.  Concord grapes are for jelly and jam NOT wine!  The Chambourcin was really quite surprising though. The winery had beautiful grounds and we had our picnic here!

Ok on to the recipe!
1-2 1lb pork tenderloins
1/2 tsp of each: salt and pepper, ground ginger, onion powder, garlic powder
2-3 tbs dijon mustard
1 large onion bachee french loaf bread
1 round of brie cheese
2 tbs truffle aoli or regular mayonnaise

Rub the seasoning on both sides of the tenderloins

Spread the mustard on both sides of the tenderloins.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 40-50 min.  Take out of the oven and let rest and cool till almost room temp.  Slice the onion loaf in half long wise and spread butter on both sides and toast in the oven for a couple of min.

Slice the tenderloins in half long wise also and place on the bread.

Oh by the way grey meat is over cooked meat and yucky.  Pork is juicy and flavorful when it is still slightly pink. You wont get sick, so please stop overcooking your pork. Just a friendly reminder.
Trim the Brie round and slice and place on the pork.

Place back in the oven at 350 for 5 min until brie is all nice and melty!

Spread the aoli/mayo on both halves and place back together.  Wrap the sandwich in foil and then cling film/saran wrap very very tightly! Place something heavy like a brick or a heavy pot lid on top of the sandwich to compress it.

Once you are at your picnic location, or just when you are ready to serve, slice the sandwich and serve with fresh grapes and a nice dry light wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, if you will only drink red wine Pinot Noir would be great also.

Perfect picnic sandwich!