Easy appetizer recipe -- BLT CrostinisThe other weekend our friends invited my husband and I over for a barbecue. We get together with them 1-2 times a month. It’s always very impromptu and spur of the moment. They had a baby last May, so our sporadicalness has started to become a little more well planned, although there are still days where its Friday at 3 and we are all messaging back and forth about dinner that night. As my due date approaches each time we hang out, we all kid and say this could be the last time before baby. They told us we didn’t need to bring anything to dinner, but of course I can’t come empty handed.

BLT Crostini

The thought of BLT crostini’s had ran across my mind a few times over the past month. In my head it was going to be a quick and easy appetizer, a little on the fancy side, and hopefully satisfying. Oh and que in the messy part. That part I didn’t really think through until we were eating the bite-size BLT appetizer. Because I was tired and had been working on nursery projects that day I decided to go a short-cut route and serve it up with ranch dressing, although later I tested it with the Dill Buttermilk Salad Dressing and found it to be much more enjoyable. It’s all about preference. The day I made this recipe in my kitchen, I picked the cherry tomatoes from my garden. The only surviving tomatoes from our harsh Florida winter. I love green tomatoes, so I chose to cut up some of the unripe tomatoes from the vine.

Easy appetizer recipe -- BLT Crostinis

So, let’s rewind back to my friends barbecue. When I showed up with my individual containers everyone was intrigued. We had one person who despises tomatoes so her’s was just lettuce, bacon, ranch, and crostini, and then we have my husband and my other friend who don’t like bacon, so theirs had everything but bacon. This is really a versatile appetizer. And as you can tell even perfect for the pickiest of eaters!

Katie Original Recipe

BLT Crostinis

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8-10

BLT Crostinis

Ingredients

  • 1 french baguette, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 12 strips bacon, cooked
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 cup Dill Buttermilk Salad Dressing or Ranch Dressing
  • Fresh cracked pepper, optional

Directions

  1. Cook bacon according to package. Place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain excess grease. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
  2. In a bowl, combine sliced cherry tomatoes with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Give it a good toss and set to the side.
  3. Toast sliced baguettes for 2-3 minute or until golden brown.
  4. Place a drizzle of dressing on each of the baguettes followed by a slice of bacon, shredded lettuce, and tomato mixture. Drizzle with additional dressing and cracked black pepper if desired. Serve and eat immediately.

Notes

You can prepare the crostini's yourself or have a few prepared with all the ingredients surrounding it--allowing your guest to create their own BLT crostinis.

To bump up the bacon flavor, rub a little bacon fat on both sides of the baguette before toasting. It will intensify the flavor.

I have made this recipe with traditional red cherry tomatoes and a mix of red, orange, and green cherry tomatoes from my garden. Both yield a delicious BLT crostini and are all up to preference and availability.

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50 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes #appetizers #entertaining #recipes #superbowl #football

Today, I’m excited to announce that I’m sharing 2 healthy Super Bowl friendly recipes on my local Fox station morning show; Good Day Orlando. You can watch  live at 9:35 am (streaming if you don’t live in CFL) or I’ll have a clip to share with everyone later.

Some of you might be sick of seeing recipes centered-around one football game. However, I love it! I love any holiday that is centered around eating. Is that bad? I love seeing round-up post and right now it seems like everyone has a round-up of all things Super Bowl food. I decided to change it up a bit and feature 50 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes. Now, granted not all of the recipes are  not 100% healthy however they are lower fat than what you would normally consume during the big game. I.e., they use greek yogurt instead of 5 cups of mayonnaise, etc.

Earlier this week, I did my weekly Google+ Hangout with Christine from Cook the Story. We spoke about Healthy Entertaining with Liz from The Lemon Bowl. Liz and I have chatted back and forth for over a year now and it was so nice to finally get to “meet” her! We spoke about easy ways to entertain and still make food healthy (without your guest looking for all the fattening foods)!

I hope you were able to learn about some great tips and tricks for healthy entertaining. Here is my list of 50 Healthy Super Bowl Recipes everyone should make this weekend (well, ok, maybe not all 50 at once)!

  1. Avocado & Feta Dip from Katie’s Cucina
  2. Buffalo Cauliflower Dip from Mother Thyme
  3. Baked Corn Tortilla Chips from The Lemon Bowl
  4. Bangin Grilled Shrimp Skewers from Skinnytaste
  5. Kale and Artichoke Dip from Spoon Fork Bacon
  6. Candied Smoked Paprika Cherry Berries from Lipman Kitchen
  7. Easy Hot Black Bean Salsa Dip from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
  8. Thai Turkey Meatballs with Blueberry Sauce from KokoCooks
  9. Baked Vegetarian Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Buttermilk Sauce from Katie’s Cucina
  10. Buffalo and Bleu Cheese Veggie Bake from Bake Your Day
  11. Roasted Cauliflower Hummus from Oh My Veggies
  12. Grilled Flatbread w/ Hot Italian Sausage, Peppers, & Caramelized Onions from Katie’s Cucina
  13. Quick-Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan Slivers from Cook the Story
  14. Asian Sweet Chili Baked Wings from Inspired Taste
  15. Eggplant Dip from Zaika Zabardast
  16. Smoked Paprika and Lime Spice Popcorn from Coupon Clipping Cook
  17. Savory Spinach Bites from The Curvy Carrot
  18. Artichoke Dip from Katie’s Cucina
  19. Baked Corn and Crab Cakes from Skinnytaste
  20. Crispy Baked Asian Chicken Wings from Just a Taste
  21. Turkey Sloppy Joe Sliders from Bev Cooks
  22. Watermelon Football Helmet from Watermelon Carvings
  23. Baked Buffalo Queso Fresco Wings from Katie’s Cucina
  24. Moroccan Carrot Dip from A Thought For Food
  25. Whipped Feta with Roasted Peppers & Garlic from Savor The Thyme
  26. Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip from Gimme Some Oven
  27. Carne Asada Nachos by Foodness Gracious
  28. Mini Mexican Potato Skins from Katie’s Cucina
  29. Coconut LIme Wings and Mango Salsa from Oleander and Palm
  30. Brown Rice Greek Salad from The Lemon Bowl
  31. Amazing Shrapnel Dip from Mel’s Kitchen
  32. Moroccan Pork Kebabs with Sour Cream Dill Sauce from Katie’s Cucina
  33. Apple and Avocado Salsa from Family Spice
  34. Skinny Shrimp Salsa from Skinnytaste
  35. Sun-dried Tomato Hummus from bellalimento
  36. Individual 7 Layer Dip from The Girl Who Ate Everything
  37. Asian Turkey Meatballs with Chili Garlic Glaze from Aggie’s Kitchen
  38. Reduced-Guilt Caramelized Onion Spinach Dip from Bake Your Day
  39. White Bean Bruschetta from Katie’s Cucina
  40. Beef Nachos with Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne from A Spicy Perspective
  41. Watermelon Blueberry Salsa from Love & Olive Oil
  42. Grilled Key West Chicken Wings from Katie’s Cucina
  43. Homemade Hummus Two Ways from Table for Two
  44. Oven-Baked Zucchini Sticks with Garlic Chipotle Aioli from Damn Delicious
  45. Guacamole Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes from KokoCooks
  46. Baked Spicy Greek Yogurt Chicken Wings with Greek Yogurt Bleu Cheese Dressing from Katie’s Cucina
  47. Bruschetta with Shrimp, Mushrooms, and Green Garbanzo Beans from Bev Cooks
  48. Sweet Potato Tater Tacho Recipe with Black Bean Salsa from Culicurious
  49. Baked Oven Fries from Annie’s Eats

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Back in September, a few weeks before I left for Europe I was asked to appear on an episode of Life, Love, Shopping to film a short cooking segment. This was my first nationally televised apperance. It was taped as if it was live; however, it aired about a month later (while I was globe-trotting around the world). I never had the opportunity to share my first television appearance. I figured this was the most appropriate time to share since we are all starting to wrap our heads around all things football and the “big game” next weekend!

I think I did pretty good for my first televised segment. I also wanted to show viewers that you can entertain with ease and that you don’t have to serve all things fattening. That you can have a lighter menu and no one will miss the heavy mayonnaise laced dips!

Keep in mind, just one week later after filming this I was asked to do a cooking demo on The Daily Buzz (and that was taped LIVE as in no dropping F-bombs on national tv because there was no editing to be done)!

So if you are starting to already think about what to serve next weekend here are a few of my favorite recipes that were included in the segment I taped.

Grilled Flatbread With Hot Italian Sausage, Peppers, & Caramelized Onions

Grilled Flatbread w/ Hot Italian Sausage, Peppers, & Caramelized OnionsThink about creating a flatbread bar where all of your guest can create their own flatbreads. You won’t have to worry about the picky eaters or kids, because everyone will be able to find something that they like to eat!

Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

This artichoke dip is light and healthy and contains no fatty mayonnaise! Perfect for a lighter chips and dip appetizer this football season. It also only takes about 5 minutes to make and the food processor does most of the work!

Grilled Italian Sausage With Grilled Sweet Peppers

Grilled Italian Sausage With Grilled Sweet Peppers

Simple to make and a crowd pleaser. You could even prep this before everyone comes over and just keep that warmed in the oven!

Mint Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats

Mint Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats

You can’t forget about dessert! Instead of using green dye use your teams colors and use a football cookie cutter to make football shaped rice kirspie treats!

What do you plan to make next weekend for Super Bowl?

*If you are looking for more football recipes… I’ll be on Good Morning Fox next Friday, February 1st at 9am sharing to awesome and easy recipes! Don’t worry if you don’t live in CFL I’m sure I’ll have a video to share on Katie’s Cucina!


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Do you love to travel? If your anything like me your always scheming of a way to travel at any given moment. The holiday season is in full swing and in case your plans don’t include jetting off to a vacation hot-spot you can re-create some of your favorite destinations (or destinations you dream of one-day visiting) in the comforts of your own home.

Mark Addison

I recently had the opportunity to interview, designer and entertaining expert Mark Addison. I asked him how us budget-friendly people can still throw a stay-cation bash without breaking into the vacation savings. I think we can all re-create those tiki bars and tropical drinks–all in the comfort of your own home with some of Mark’s tips and tricks.

1. Tell me about how to create a stay-cation party theme?

As with any theme you have to start with inspiration. Great inspiration for a stay-cation party can be found in the pages of your favorite travel magazines.  Choose a specific destination or you run the risk of your party becoming a cliché luau or a generic tikki party.

 

2. I love to travel and always maintain a strict budget. I do the same when hosting parties. Tell me how you recommend to throw a lavish party without breaking the bank?

Every budget conscious party planner begins with a comprensive party plan and a detailed budget to keep them on track, on budget and on time. Another cost saving tip is to look at what you already have at home that can be repurposed in unexpected ways; vases for food service, a festive throw or sarong as a tablecover, etc… Focus on decorative touches in areas of your home that your guests will frequent such as the front door, setting the tone when guest walk-in and in the bathroom as well (the two most visited places of the home).  The majority of your budget should be spent on food and beverages and using pre-prepared foods that you “spice” up can be a considerable time and cost savings.

 

3. How do you typically announce to your guest about the theme? Whether emailed or snail mailed, inviations are the first visual clue that you give your guests an indication of the theme and what is expected of them at the party.  Create a collage of your inspiration images in invitations to set the tone.  Travel themed invitaions such as passports and postcards can be very effective to set the tone with a little bit more work and creativity

The invitation is also is the place where you can request guests come in a particular attire to compliment the theme and if there are any special instructions you need to impart (i.e. prompt start time or prepared to participate in a specific activity)


4. Do you encourage others to dress the part?

The invitation is the place to request a specific attire; “flip flops and bathing suits” or “safari gear and ”.  Offer your guests a reward to dress the part, “come barefoot and beautiful to see what the future holds

 

5. Do you recommend guest bringing a dish or should the hostess do all the work?

Typically my hostess rule is if you are giving a party, then you really shouldn’t ask guests to “pitch in” or bring dishes unless your are clear that it is a pot luck dinner.  If your are set on having guests bring dishes, then very clear advance notice is required to insure guests won’t feel put off and will bring dishes that compliment the theme and each other.  Make a clear statement on the invitation that each guest is expected to participate and to what extent.

 celebrity-inspired holiday Stay-cation with Mark Addison

6. Do you have a particular stay-cation theme you enjoy most?

Living in New York, I tend to gravitate to a tropical destination theme like the Caribbean or an exotic themed destination such as South Africa.  Tropical and exotic themes offer the opportunity to serve frozen cocktails during the winter.  With Parrot Bay frozen pouches, making a frozen cocktail has never been easier. The time needed to prepare frozen cocktails usually takes away from the atmosphere. Parrot Bay frozen pouches makes it easy to entertain friends without the hassle of prep work and clean up.  They’re available in three different flavors – Strawberry Daiquiri, Mango Daiquiri and Piña Colada. You can glam them up with fresh fruit skewers* to compliment the three flavors. Create an interactive MYO fruit skewer station for the guest to get into the action and create their own drink garnishes.  The food should be specific to the exact destination as traditional food vary greatly from one tropical destination to another.  A classic ceviche* served with scrisp tortilla chips and Pineapple Shrimp Skewers are perfect for a tropical destination, while Cape Malay Sosaties* (aka kebabs) service with South African yellow rice* is ideal for an exotic destination. Theme the décor with items you may have around the house and summery beach towels and a festive sarong as table covers.  Brightly colored flowers and votives adorned with shells add tropical touches to the bar area and food stations.

Visit Mark’s blog to get drink and food recipes on the following themes:

For those who can’t travel this holiday season I hope this inspires you to throw a stay-cation themed party and enjoy a few comforts of vacation in the comforts of your own home.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated to interview Mark. I love to travel and entertaining and felt that this was a fabulous opportunity to share with my readers. 


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Father’s day is right around the corner and what better way to show your love to dad than cook him a nice meal! I know that’s the way to my daddy’s heart and that’s what I plan to do to show him my love and appreciation for him and all he does for my husband and I!

Start your meal off with a few tasty appetizers.

Candied Smoked Paprika Cherry Berries

Leek & Cheddar Dip

 

Next course up is the main event–make sure you make it spectacular. Try one of these recipes:

Grilled Italian Sausage w/ Grilled Sweet Peppers

Barbecue Beef Brisket 

Finish off your meal with a spectacular dessert that will knock dad’s socks off!

Banana Walnut Cream Cheese Cake

Apple Streusel Cheesecake Bars

 


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Y’all know that I’ve been into grilling lately–I can’t get enough of it. I was craving flatbreads the other week and picked up a package of Flatout Flatbread. I knew I could create some simple dinners utilizing leftovers and make them a bit more on the healthier side. I purposely made extra Grilled Sausage and Sweet Peppers knowing that I wanted to make a flatbread out of it.

Talk about an easy dinner after a crazy day at work–this is your magic ticket. I even entertained with this flatbread. Although, my first batch of flatbreads came out a little more on the crispier side since I wasn’t paying attenion to the time–and of course those are the ones I photographed. Pay no attention to that–these are quick and simple and can easily make 1 fabulous meal into 2 totally different and terrific tasting meals.

 

I mentioned that I entertained the evening I made the flatbreads. I have our neighbor over for dinner at least once a week and its almost always impromptu! On this night I fired up the grill, created a sumptuous flatbread and an even tastier salad with a homemade Italian vinaigrette *recipe soon to come. This is definitely one of those pantry meals–I used whatever veggies and meats I have leftover in the fridge. Although my salad was a little piece-mealed together it came out fantastic and I even had an avocado hiding out in the fridge that made our salad that much nicer. The sweet and spicy compliment each other in this flatbread and the cheese base of decadent Boursin garlic and herb soft cheese is tasted on each bite. Whether your entertaining or just looking for a simple dinner to make–give this recipe a try!

*I had to share this picture, too. I took this right after moving our flatbreads from where I was photographing to our little table in our outdoor living room where my neighbor and I ate dinner. This made for a great photo and I instantly had to snap a few shots to encompass how our impromptu dinners really look at my house!

 Katie’s Cucina original recipe.

Grilled Flatbread w/ Hot Italian Sausage, Peppers, & Caramelized Onions

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. In a frying pan preheat olive oil, add thinly sliced onions to the pan and cook on medium heat. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer until the onions have started to caramelized and all the juice has been absorbed (this will take about 10-15 minutes). Place the onions to the side. Follow the same steps for the grape tomatoes except you'll want to sweat these out and place them over high heat.
  3. Slice grilled hot Italian sausages in 1/4 inch pieces, chopped sweet bell peppers, and tear the basil.
  4. Begin arranging the flatbreads by smearing 2 tablespoons of Boursin Light Garlic & Herb cheese then sprinkle 1 tablespoon mozzarella and parmesan (each). Place the sliced Italian sausage, peppers, caramelized onions, and grape tomatoes equally amongst the 4 flatbreads. Then sprinkle each flatbread with torn basil; followed by 1 tablespoon each of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
  5. Place on grill for 5-7 minutes with lid on for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and flatbread is crisp not burnt.

Notes

*If your onions begin to burn during the caramelizing process lower the heat and add more broth.

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This is the first of three tomato inspired dishes for tomato week! My good friends (and the ones who are currently working on my blog re-design) told me about this recipe. They rave about it and say it’s probably one of the best things they’ve ever had. So of course it tempted me to want to make it. I bought all the ingredients (sans tomatoes since I had more than once could ever dream of having), and was ready to make this delectable appetizer (although it could easily be made into a meal). 

 The original recipe calls for a garlic-and-herb goat cheese. I’m not a fan of goat cheese nor is my husband, so I decided to skip that part and go with a softened garlic and fine herbs cheese (Boursin). Plus it was buy-one-get-one free, so I was happy to spend the $5+ on two packages of this tasty cheese.

 This tart is a labor of love. The onions really do take 20 minutes to cook. You want to cook them slowly and not rush the process or else you will risk burning them. I’ve made this tart twice now. Both times I loved it; however, the second time I stupidly picked up phyllo dough instead of puff pastry. It still tasted good but it was on the crunchier side. 



Source: Barefoot Contessa
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 individual tarts

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
  • Olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 ounces garlic-and-herb cheese
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Directions:

1. Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
4. Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
5. Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

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This is the last recipe given in the “meal set” from the awesome Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans I blogged about last week. I love caramel and pears and figured I would definitely go along with the dessert recipe that Pam wrote about. I made this dessert prior to dinner and let it cool in the fridge. I definitely did not leave enough time to let the pairs cool and because of this a lot of my whipped cream had semi-melted! I also did not have any brandy on hand, so I skipped that part! As Pam writes “If you like, omit the brandy; the moisture from the cream will soften the cookies.“. *I cut the recipe in half since I was only entertaining for 4. The recipe I’m blogging about is for 8 people. 

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes

Serves: 8


Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 4 firm but ripe Bartlett pears, halved and cored
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp brandy or cognac, divided 
  • 40 small gingersnap cookies.
Directions: 


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degree. 

2. Melt butter in a 13-by-9-inch pan in oven until nutty golden. Sprinkle brown sugar over butter, then place pears, cut side down, on sugar. Bake until pears are tender and sauce is thick and caramel-colored, about 40 minutes. Remove pears from sauce and pour sauce into a measuring cup (you should have about 1 cup; if not, boil to reduce or add water to equal 1 cup). Cool pears and sauce to room temperature. Cut each pear half into 8 chunks. 
3. When ready to assemble, whip cream to soft peaks in a medium bowl with an electric mixer, gradually adding sugar. Stir in 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac. 
4. Lightly brush 24 gingersnaps with some of the remaining 1/4 cup brandy. Arrange 3 cookies in each of eight goblets (I used white wine glasses). Drizzle each with a little of the caramel sauce and add a dollop of whipped cream and 4 pear pieces. Lightly brush remaining 16 cookies with brandy and repeat layering with 2 cookies in each goblet, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and 3 pear pieces. Repeat again with remaining caramel sauce and whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 4 hours. When ready to serve, garnish with remaining pear pieces and a final drizzle of sauce.

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Yesterday, I wrote about an amazing new cookbook; Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers.  Here is the appetizer I served prior to presenting my family with Pam Anderson’s Cassoulet-Style Italian Sausages and White Beans. I knew my mom would thoroughly enjoy this appetizer since she has a love for all olives. This was super easy to make, and very tasty. I would have never thought to put almonds, cream cheese, and olives together! All three ingredients are a match made in heaven! 


*If you haven’t entered yet, make sure you go HERE and enter to win a copy of Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers.






Prep: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 dozen
Ingredients:

  • 1 jar Spanish Queen Colossal Olives
  • 24 roasted salted almonds
  • 1 block cream cheese
Directions:

1. Remove pimento from each olive and cut a thin sliver off the bottom of each olive so that it will stand up. 

2. Scrape an almond tip over cream cheese {to pick up a generous 1/4 tsp}.
3. Stuff almond into olive with cream-cheese tip pointing up. Set on serving tray and repeat with remaining olives. 


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Last month, I received a copy of {New York Times best-selling author} Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers. From the moment I received the book I could not put it down. I literally read this cookbook cover-to-cover, which is rare for me to do! I love how she has divided this cookbook into four sections; Stews for All Seasons, Worldly Casseroles, Roasting Pan Complete, and Big Summer Salads and Grilled Platters. Not only does Pam include some amazing recipes for her “one-dish” meals, but she also includes easy appetizers, salads, sides, and dessert recipes that compliment each one-dish. My first recipe “sub-set” (as I like to call it) that I chose to cook turned out wonderfully. I’m so excited to start cooking and hosting from this book! It’s a great “go-to” book when you know your going to entertain! I decided to make this dish on a particular evening after a long day in the office. After reading the directions I knew this would be an easy and satisfying meal to cook up for my husband and parents. Some-times a one-dish meal can lack flavors, but this dish was the opposite! The hearty stew can satisfy any appetite, and the leftover’s were even more fabulous the next day!  I made the recipe set for this entree, and will feature the rest of the recipes this week. 


Side note: I used the most amazing balsamic vinegar for this recipe. My in-laws had just returned from Italy, and brought me back a 15 year aged balsamic. It was sweet and flavorful–I could honestly drink it! I can honestly say it is the most amazing balsamic I’ve ever tasted; however, if you don’t have a fancy balsamic vinegar flown in directly from Italy you can use any balsamic vinegar you have on hand! 



Pam’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has graciously given me an extra copy of the book to giveaway to one of my followers.  One winner will be chosen at random to win one copy of Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-TogethersThis contest ends next Wednesday, December 8th a 11:59 pm. I will announce the winner on Thursday, December 9th. 


In order to qualify for this giveaway you must answer the question by leaving a comment below: 
What is your favorite one-dish meal? 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 lbs sweet Italian Sausage links
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1-1/2 inch chuncks
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 cans white beans, undrained
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Loaf of crusty bread
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • *freshly grated parmesan cheese
Directions: 


1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 425 degrees. 

2. Mix sausages, tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, thyme, bay leaves, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large heavy roasting pan. Set the pan in the oven and roast until sausages are brown and tomatoes have reduced to a thick sauce, about 45 minutes. *I covered the dish for the first 20 minutes, and then left uncovered for the remaining 25 minutes. 
3. While dinner is cooking toss half a loaf of bread in a food processor and pulse until bread crumbs. Toss the fresh bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted butter and a sprinkle of salt. Add the crumbs to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown. 
4. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, stir in beans, and continue to roast until casserole has heated through, about 10 minutes longer. Fish out bay leaves, plate, top with bread crumbs, parmesan, and enjoy! 

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