Thursday, July 16, 2009

Housewarming Pics and Recipes!

As promised here are pictures and recipes from the housewarming party I had several weeks ago. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get this together but better late than never I suppose! All of the recipes were a huge hit – especially the Mango Chevre Steak bites, I think we only had one or two left at the end of the night!

The dining room all ready to go before the food was put out...


Mozzarella and Nectarine Skewers with Pesto
I wasn't really sure how these were going to turn out but I was so intrigued by the combination that I just had to try them. I wasn't able to find the right size skewers so I ended up using toothpicks instead and bought the mozzarella balls in 'pearl size' - they were perfect. I just put one piece of cheese and one piece of peach on each toothpick and then had a side dish of pesto for people to drizzle over their skewers. The taste was so light, summery, and refreshing!

Kahlua Pecan Brie
This is a recipe that my friend Angie has been making for years. Her best friend's mom wrote a cookbook, Confessions of a Kitchen Diva, that includes this recipe plus tons of other great food for any occasion. This recipe is always a crowd pleaser.

1 14 oz Brie round
1/4 cup Kahlua
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3 Tablespoons brown sugar

Scrape white coating off brie. Place brie in oven safe pie plate.
In a small bowl, mix kahlua, pecans and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved.
Pour kahlua mixture over Brie and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until Brie begins to ooze.

(I like to let mine go about 12 minutes so its really soft and gooey!)

Serve with Carr's Water Crackers.


I guess the brie was still in the oven when I took this picture but it was all set to go right behind that blue plate of crackers with grapes in the middle!

Next up.....

I first saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Elizabeth's Edible Experience. She is always cooking up something wonderful and I love seeing her step by step pictures and reading her extra tips and tricks. Seeing the pictures makes it all seem easier to me and really makes me want to cook!

(I'm sorry I didn't take close up pictures of everything - I guess I was too busy playing hostess! Head over to Elizabeth's blog to see step by step pictures of the process and the finished product!)

Hot Artichoke Dip
I'm not exactly sure where this recipe came from but my family has been making it for years. For some reason it always seems to appear as an appetizer on Christmas Eve but its so easy that I make it all the time.

1 can of artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup Parmesan cheese (the kind in the can)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp garlic powder

Blend all ingredients in food processor or blender until smooth. Spread evenly into greased pie plate and bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Serve with wheat thins or as a dip for vegetables.

The artichoke dip is pitctured in the square turquoise dish on the far right...the crab dip is in the other turquoise dish, a little to the left.

Crabmeat Dip

This recipe is from Southern Living but unfortunately its from one of their special holiday books and the recipe isn't available online. But luckily my friend Heather, sent me a copy via email. We made this a few years ago at Heather's house on one of our cooking club nights and all loved it. Since then I have made it a few times but usually reserve it for special occasions as it is a bit time consuming. Also, the original recipe suggests that you reserve one cup of the dip before baking and use it to stuff chicken breasts. We did this the first time we made the recipe and it was great!

Crabmeat Dip
From Southern Living
(can make a day ahead and then bake when ready to eat)
1 (8 oz) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 (5.2 oz) package boursin* buttery garlic & herb spreadable cheese
1/2 cup mayo (can use low fat)
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp capers
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb fresh lump crabmeat, drained

Combined all ingredients (except crab), stirring well.

Gently fold in crabmeat.

Spoon dip into a lightly greased 8" square baking dish.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with crackers. Yeild: 4.5 cups

*A few tips - If you can't find the Boursin cheese, you could use Rondele or Alouette. Boursin is the highest in fat among these and the most expensive (at least at my store). Also, when I made this for the party, I used fake crab for the first time and it came out great. So if you don't have the time to sift through the real thing for pieces of shell or don't want to 'shell out' the money for genuine lump crabmeat, the fake will work just fine. There are so many other flavors in this dip that you can't even tell.*

When I made these I really simplified the recipe and just used smoked salmon and 1/3 less fat cream cheese for the filling. I think I probably added a little salt and pepper also but I kept it all pretty easy so that the salmon flavor would be most prominent. These are pictured on the little stand in the picture above. As you can see, we made quite a few of these!

And now on to dessert!

I wanted everything to be easy to just grab and eat so these desserts were perfect.

For the chocolate lovers...
Oreo Truffles

And for the vanilla lovers...
Cake Balls

I believe Bakerella is really where this cake ball/cake pop craze came from. The recipe link above is for some red velvet ones with chocolate coating but you can sub in any flavor of cake mix, frosting and coating to make your own combo. For the party I used yellow cake with vanilla frosting and white coating. They were fantastic!

It was so much fun having everyone over and having a reason to make all this 'party food'!

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