Tag: Casual Party

Perfectly Seared Brown-Butter Steak Bites

Perfectly Seared Brown-Butter Steak Bites

Perfectly Seared Brown-Butter Steak Bites—is there anything more delicious than the combination of butter and tender, medium-rare red meat? I’ve had steak bites at restaurants as an appetizer and I’ve always wanted to make them. The most popular version on the internet uses lots of 

Warm Spinach Dip for a Crowd

Warm Spinach Dip for a Crowd

This Warm Spinach Dip for a Crowd is the perfect recipe for a large gathering. Serving the dip warm so the cheese is oh-so gooey is only one secret to this spinach dip. There are at least two other secrets to this recipe—feta cheese and 

How to Host a Raclette Party

How to Host a Raclette Party

If you want to host a memorable and fun party without too much cooking, raclette is the answer. Raclette originated in Switzerland and is a type of fondue. Not the type where you dip bread in a communal pot. Instead, there is an electric table 

Easy Chicken Marsala

Easy Chicken Marsala

I’ve had a bottle of Marsala wine in my pantry longer than I care to admit. And, I’ve been meaning to use it to make Chicken Marsala. Finally, I got around to it. I have no idea why I waited so long. It’s not a 

Pan-Seared Oven-Finished Tri-Tip

This Pan-Seared Oven-Finished Tri-Tip has a robust beefy flavor, and is easy enough for a weeknight meal. I never had a tri-tip until I lived in California, and even then I didn’t know what to do with it, so I made these Slow Cooker Tri-Tip 

Broiled Flank or Skirt Steak

Broiled Flank or Skirt Steak

Guess what? You don’t need a barbecue to make delicious flank steak or skirt steak. All you need is a clean oven heated to the broiler setting. The clean oven tip is from a cautionary tale. Since, an oven on broil gets to 500 degrees, 

Mom’s Classic Deviled Eggs

Mom’s Classic Deviled Eggs

I have been making my Mom’s Classic Deviled Eggs for years. Mom would make them for almost every family gathering and party. If people were coming over for Christmas dinner, New Years Day, a Superbowl party, Easter dinner, or a summer barbecue then most likely 

Whole30 – Paleo Turkey Chili Verde

Whole30 – Paleo Turkey Chili Verde

When I did my first Whole30 challenge I wasn’t sure if I would like chili without beans. How silly. Yes, chili tastes just fine without beans! This turkey chili has such a unique flavor profile my husband and my guests rave about it. What’s funny 

Whole30 – Paleo Ranch Dressing

Whole30 – Paleo Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is one of America’s most popular dressings and dips. We use it for salads and dips for chicken nuggets, veggies, and more. If you tolerate dairy products, check out my original Ranch Dressing and Dip recipe. For those following Whole30 and Paleo diets, 

Steak Nicoise Salad with Blanched Green Beans & Cashew-Lime Vinaigrette

Steak Nicoise Salad with Blanched Green Beans & Cashew-Lime Vinaigrette

This is one of our favorite meals to serve to guests.  I’ve served this hearty salad after-church for a Sunday lunch as well as a weeknight dinner for guests. Actually, this is more than a mere salad. It’s a meat-and-potato salad. This is a meal 

Mini-Pepper Nachos

Mini-Pepper Nachos

Finally, a whole-food healthy version of nachos. These delightful bites are grain-free and dairy-free. Plus, peppers are a good source of vitamin C. Whether you want to enjoy a nutritious appetizer or introduce others to a healthier option these mini-pepper nachos are easy to make 

Not-Your-Ordinary Meatloaf

Not-Your-Ordinary Meatloaf

What do you think of when you hear the word “meatloaf?” For some, it may be an all-beef meatloaf with a ketchup glaze. Others may think of  a meatloaf with a thick gravy on the side. This recipe is not all beef, does not have 

Greek Turkey Meatballs (Keftedes)

Greek Turkey Meatballs (Keftedes)

Yes, you can make Greek meatballs using ground turkey. My husband and I love my all-beef Greek Meatballs. We often serve them to guests with rave reviews. I wondered if they would taste just as good with extra-lean ground turkey. The answer is yes! The 

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Blistered Shishito Peppers

The first time I had blistered shishito peppers was at a speak-easy in Ft. Collins, Colorado called The Social. My husband and I celebrated many special occasions there: birthdays, anniversaries, and out-of-town guests. They had the best atmosphere (in the basement of a building like 

Simple Sauteed Green Beans Inspired by Boston Market

Simple Sauteed Green Beans Inspired by Boston Market

I have been making this recipe for years, roughly since the early 2000’s when one night I contemplated and savored what I loved about Boston Market’s green beans (which now appears only on the catering menu). So, now you can make them at home. I’ve 

Mom’s Juicy Ginger-Beer Ham

Mom’s Juicy Ginger-Beer Ham

Like you, I get nostalgic around the holidays. Every year my mom made turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving, and she made ham and potato salad for both Christmas and Easter. As a child I remember grumbling to my mom about having ham and potato salad 

Pan-Seared Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Pan-Seared Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Flat iron steak is my new favorite steak for two main reasons. One, it tends to be a bit less expensive than flank steak. Two, it’s easy to cut into even portions which is perfect for entertaining. The other day I bought a 1.5 pound 

Brisket in Half the Time [Gas-Grilled and Oven-Finished]

Brisket in Half the Time [Gas-Grilled and Oven-Finished]

When you don’t have time (or a smoker) you can make brisket in half the time using a gas grill and finish it in the oven. For the last three years my husband and I have bought a half side of beef. It’s an amazing 

Classic Broccoli Salad with Bacon

Classic Broccoli Salad with Bacon

If you’ve been to a picnic or a church potluck then chances are you’ve seen Broccoli Salad. I often see Broccoli Salad for sale at stores in the deli section. What makes this recipe unique is bacon, dried cherries, and shelled pumpkin seeds. To the 

Gas-Grilled Chicken Thighs with an Asian Flair

Gas-Grilled Chicken Thighs with an Asian Flair

I thought I bought three packs of chicken breasts. But, no, turns out I bought boneless skinless chicken thighs. I must say that thighs are not my favorite. As a matter of fact, it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve started liking 

The Famous Hummer Cocktail (Kahlua, Rum, and Vanilla Ice Cream)

The Famous Hummer Cocktail (Kahlua, Rum, and Vanilla Ice Cream)

If you want to put your summer dinner guests into a state of bliss, this dessert-type cocktail is the answer. I was introduced to “The Hummer” by the mixologist himself at the Bayview Yacht Club.  Back in the day, when my husband was working red-capet 

Bacon and Onion Relish (Perfect for a Burger Bar)

Bacon and Onion Relish (Perfect for a Burger Bar)

Recently, friends invited my husband and I to a dinner party where the theme was “burgers.”  Everyone was supposed to bring a burger condiment as well as a side dish or dessert.  I decided to bring a bacon and onion relish. It was a huge 

Tex-Mex Feast for a Crowd (Carnitas, Beans, Rice, and Fixings)

Tex-Mex Feast for a Crowd (Carnitas, Beans, Rice, and Fixings)

My husband and I love hosting big parties at least once a year. By big, I mean big. We hosted over 60 people on July 4th last year, and we counted 56 this year. We host other dinner parties throughout the year but this one 

Pan Pizza—Restaurant Style (Made at Home)

Pan Pizza—Restaurant Style (Made at Home)

The first time I had Pan Pizza—Restaurant Style at a friend’s house I begged shamelessly for the recipe. When I make this for guests they tell me it’s better than what they get at restaurants. You see, the “pizza lady’s” husband actually managed Pizza Huts 

Oven-Roasted Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cilantro-Butter Pan Sauce

Oven-Roasted Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cilantro-Butter Pan Sauce

I have so many cookbooks and magazines. Like many foodies I love them all and can’t part with any of them so my collection keeps growing! I do have an online source that I turn to quite often. I have an all-access pass to Cook’s 

Deconstructed Gas-Grilled Chicken and Romain Caesar Salad

Deconstructed Gas-Grilled Chicken and Romain Caesar Salad

We love Caesar salad in our house. We make it often. So when we got our new Weber gas grill this summer the very first thing I made was a grilled chicken Caesar salad. By “grilled” I mean grilled chicken, grilled Romaine, grilled baguette slices, 

Braised Carnitas (Easily Adapted for a Crowd)

Braised Carnitas (Easily Adapted for a Crowd)

I’ve made “Pulled Pork” for sandwiches a few times. The spices that I use in that recipe are great for roasts and sandwiches, but not so much for Tex-Mex applications.  I love the pork served at Chipotle and wondered if I could even come close. 

Cilantro-Lime Rice

Cilantro-Lime Rice

In a quest to bring a Chipotle restaurant experience to a very large dinner party, I included “Cilantro-Lime Rice” on the menu.  I have a Chipotle restaurant near by from which my husband and I periodically enjoy tacos and salads. Someone at my party said 

Tex-Mex Beans From Scratch

Tex-Mex Beans From Scratch

Instead of opening several cans of “Baked Beans,”pouring them into a slow cooker and reheating them, (which I’ve done before for pot-luck parties) I wanted to make something from scratch. I was looking for bean recipe that was more savory than sweet, rich with the 

Salsa – Restaurant Style (Made at Home)

Salsa – Restaurant Style (Made at Home)

In full disclosure this is a semi-homemade salsa because this recipe uses canned tomatoes. Someday if I run across amazing tomatoes from a farmer’s market, or if I grow my own then I’ll make a 100% homemade version. That said, this salsa tastes so fresh 

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Now here is a flavor ice cream that you don’t see in the store, “Cinnamon Ice Cream.” Well, I never have seen it. My husband and Father-in-Law like—no love—ice cream, and during my Father-in-Law’s recent stay I made ice cream not once but twice. I 

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

“I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream.” I don’t know how or where this chant started, but I can resonate with it even though I’m not a huge dessert person. I like them once in a while. I’m one of those people 

Mexican Shredded Chicken in a Crock Pot

Mexican Shredded Chicken in a Crock Pot

Have you ever gone to the store and seen chicken on sale because the “sell by” date is in the next day or two? Or, maybe chicken is on sale “just because.” A few days ago I saw boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for 

Buffalo Wings – Restaurant Style (Made at Home)

Buffalo Wings – Restaurant Style (Made at Home)

I am a Buffalo Wing snob and this recipe is inspired by Outback’s Kookaburra Wings. I won’t go as far to call these a copycat. However, my husband and I agree they are so much better than wings we’ve had at many restaurants. We have 

Mom’s Oven-Roasted Barbecued Ribs

Mom’s Oven-Roasted Barbecued Ribs

Recently someone asked my husband who makes his favorite barbecued ribs. I was so proud when he said, “my mother-in-law.” My mom does make the best ribs. The ribs she makes are the bar by which I judge all other ribs. I grew up on 

Cinnamon Tea (Iced or Hot)

Cinnamon Tea (Iced or Hot)

My husband and I had the privilege to vacation in Costa Rica a couple of months ago. One of many activities that we enjoyed was going to Rainforest Spices. Of all the things people can do on vacation you probably wouldn’t think that going to 

Fresh and Simple Guacamole

Fresh and Simple Guacamole

I have to confess that I’ve made this guacamole recipe a few times. The problem is that I’m usually whipping it up so fast I forget to take pictures of all the steps. Now, I think I have enough pictures to piece together for a 

Oven-Broiled Peel-and-Eat Shrimp with Garlic-Butter Zip Sauce

Oven-Broiled Peel-and-Eat Shrimp with Garlic-Butter Zip Sauce

This Oven-Roasted Peel-and-Eat Shrimp can be prepped in advance and broiled in minutes. The garlic-butter zip sauce from this recipe exists in my refrigerator as a staple, so I’m always looking for creative ways to use it. The inspiration for this recipe is from a 

Fresh Fruit Platter for a Crowd

Fresh Fruit Platter for a Crowd

When recently volunteering to prepare fresh fruit for 50 people, at first I thought I would create  a couple of  extra large fruit salad bowls similar to my “Strawberry, Orange, and Grape Salad with Basil” post.  After doing some shopping and seeing what looked fresh, 

Pan-Seared Oven-Finished Salt and Pepper Rack of Lamb with Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

Pan-Seared Oven-Finished Salt and Pepper Rack of Lamb with Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

It was the day before Easter and I still didn’t know what to make for our Easter dinner.  This year it was going to be dinner for two, my husband and me. This was good news since “life” had been busy lately. I had already 

Shrimp Gumbo [Oven Roux Method]

Shrimp Gumbo [Oven Roux Method]

Friends recently came over with a large pot of gumbo in hand. I loved it, and after a brief interview, I began forming this recipe in my mind. My friend used different proteins, but shrimp and sausage gumbo sounded so good to me. However, I 

Shrimp Cocktail with Homemade Sauce

Shrimp Cocktail with Homemade Sauce

One of my favorite appetizers is a classic shrimp cocktail. If shrimp cocktail is on our menu, it’s probably a special occasion.To be honest, I’ve always bought frozen or thawed precooked shrimp; I have yet to buy raw shrimp and boil it myself for shrimp 


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