Final Menu For My Appetizer Party…..

I mentioned that I change my mind many times while planning party menus, this time was no different.

In my last post I said that I was 99% set on my menu when that evening I was perusing my new Cooking Light Magazine when I came upon a recipe for gnocchi.  OMG!  This was relatively simple and it was really delicious!  I also made Thai marinated spare ribs with an Asian cabbage salad.  I served the Chipoltle BBQ and bacon wrapped shrimp, roasted garlic hummus with warm whole wheat pita bread and for dessert?  I used store bought pound cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries and a Frangelico chocolate sauce.

I must say, I was most excited about the gnocchi.  I bought a potato ricer a couple of weeks ago and low and behold, you need one for gnocchi.  The recipe was pretty simple, but a little time consuming.  Does that make sense?  Ingredients were simply boiled whole russet potatoes, then peeled and put through the ricer, flour, eggs, dried parsley flakes, salt and pepper.  That’s it.  I made the gnocchi ahead and served them with an assorted mushroom and cream sauce topped  with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and fresh chopped parsley.  Delish.

I’ll be making this again, for sure.  These little tender pillows of dough would be excellent with most any sauce.

The recipe for the gnocchi can be found in this month’s Cooking Light Magazine.  I encourage you to try it!  I really enjoyed making it for the first time yesterday.  I will share tips from my experience making it as well as the sauce I served it with.

Have a great weekend!


Dinner With My Valentine At Morton’s Steakhouse…..

Joe and I enjoyed a lovely Valentine’s dinner last night at Morton’s Steakhouse with our good friends Donna and Jim.   We had such a nice time.  It’s a real treat for us to go there, we only go 1-2 times a year.  They’re dinner menu is to die for!

We enjoyed our selections from their Valentine’s Day special.  We both had the Morton’s Salad, the Colossal Shrimp Alexander, a Petite Fillet, Baked Potato with butter, sour cream and bacon, Sauteed Spinach and Mushrooms and our desserts were Key Lime Pie, which I had to bring home!  The meal was absolutely delicious!

I am often asked what my favorite foods are to eat and to prepare.   Last night on the drive home, I decided that my two favorite restaurants are Morton’s Steakhouse and The Kampai.  I especially love these two restaurants because they use very simple preparation techniques and use high quality ingredients.  This is my kitchen mantra as well.  You will notice that my recipes are quite simple and use good, readily available ingredients.

A couple of steakhouse related recipes you should check out would be my Simple Barbecued Ribs and my Simple Grilled Steak with Homemade Rub.   The ribs are extremely tender and there is no boiling involved.  You can get them grill ready and freeze for another time if you wish.  The steak is so, so good.  I love it served the traditional way with a baked potato with butter and sour cream and a salad with crumbled bleu cheese.  So easy to prepare and very wallet friendly.

I hope you all get to enjoy a nice relaxing Valentine’s Day dinner too:-)

Good eating!


Welcome Snow!

Oh, we are so happy to have snow!  I took Ryan sledding after school and upon our return he needed the traditional cup of hot chocolate with extra mini marshmallows!  So wonderful!

It’s nice to relax for a bit after a very busy cooking week.  I made some things that will definitely be in my regular rotation of meals. I tried this new dish out of Cooking Light Magazine.  It was a bacon and roasted butternut squash pasta bake.  Instead of a traditional white sauce they recommended chicken stock with flour for thickening.  The squash was cut into 1/2″ pieces and roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes.  I used turkey bacon in lieu of pork bacon.  Lastly, the dish was topped with about 3 ounces of gruyere swiss cheese.  I made it ahead and baked it tonight, it was delicious!  The squash added a nice creamy texture to the pasta.  I made it a couple of days ago so all I needed to do was pop it in the oven, I love that!

Gruyere swiss cheese is one of those flavor packed ingredients that a little goes a long way.  It’s my favorite cheese to use next to parmigiano reggiano.

I baked this week too.  I made Cinnamon Streusel Sour Cream Coffeecake.  I did photograph it now I need to write out the recipe for sharing.

Lastly, I love Asian anything.  With the snow coming down it was awesome to have bright and colorful vegetables on hand.  I had red cabbage, green onion, red bell pepper, chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.  I whipped up a delicious Asian salad that took me all of 5 minutes.  I will share this recipe as well.

Have a wonderful day!