Corn Dog Bites

This is so easy and so yummy!!  You can take your favorite corn muffin recipe and just add hot dogs.  I used my mom’s “Very Corny Corn Muffin” recipe – makes 36 mini corn dog bites.

CornDogBites4

Ingredients
– 1 cup flour
– 1 cup yellow cornmeal
– 4 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1 large egg
– 2 egg whites
– 1 1/4 cups 1% milk
– 2 tbs canola oil
– 1 cup canned cream corn
– 2 diced hot dogs

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients together.  (Batter may appear thin, don’t worry it will be perfect)
3. Grease mini muffin pan
4. Fill pan with batter
5. Bake 10-12 minutes

Creamy Tomato Soup

I made a soup tonight that was good enough for my three year old to eat a bowl!

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1/2 onion finely chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

1/2 C. dry white wine

30 oz crushed tomatoes (canned or fresh)

4 C. chicken stock

3 sprigs fresh oregano

1/2 C. milk or half and half

In a soup pan melt butter and saute onion and garlic about 6 minutes.  Add wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, stock and oregano and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes.  Remove oregano and process in blender as much or as little as you want.  I blended all but about a cup of the soup so there were still some small chunks of tomato.  Add milk or half and half.  You can add more that 1/2 C. if you want it to be creamier.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with cheese topped croutons.  (recipe below)

Baked Cheese Croutons

1 loaf of focaccia bread cut into 1/2 inch wide slices

3/4 C. grated Gruyere cheese

3 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place sliced bread on a cookie sheet and bake about 10-15 min until slightly golden and dry.  Sprinkle bread with cheese mixture and bake 8 more minutes.  The bread should be very crunchy.  Serve immediately.

This recipe is an alteration of a recipe found in Martha Stewart Living.

Fondue Party

Remember that Fondue pot that you got for your wedding?  It’s in the back corner of the cupboard.  Pull it out and plan a fondue party!  Don’t have a fondue set?  No problem.  Just pull out some small sauce pans and mix up some fun!

 

Cheese Fondue

1 garlic clove

1 C. dry white wine

1 Tbs. lemon juice

8 oz. shredded Gruyere cheese

8 oz. shredded imported Swiss

2 Tbs. cornstarch

1 Tbs. Kirsch or Sherry

Freshly ground pepper

Fresh grated nutmeg (optional)

Rub the inside of a fondue pot with the peeled garlic.  Add white wine and lemon juice until gently bubbling.  In a bowl toss the Gruyere, Swiss and cornstarch.  Slowly add cheese mixture into the pot and stir continually until smooth.  Stir in Kirsch or Sherry, pepper and nutmeg.

This can be served with bread squares, sausage rounds, blanched broccoli or asparagus.  Pour cheese into the fondue pot and put it on the table.  If you don’t have a fondue pot, you can put your saucepan directly on the table, but consider putting a low burning candle under the pot to keep it warm and keep the cheese from hardening.

 

For dessert, whip up a pan of chocolate!

 

Chocolate fondue (Rachael Ray)

1/2 C. Heavy whipping cream + 1/4 C. reserved

15 oz. Milk chocolate (or bittersweet or white)

2 Tbs. Amaretto (optional)

Heat cream in a saucepan until it comes to a low boil.  Remove the cream from heat and add chocolate.  Let the mixture sit for 5-7 min until it softens.  Whisk the chocolate and cream together.  Stir in liquor if desired.  If the mixture gets too thick, add more cream.

Serve the chocolate with pound cake squares, salted pretzels, bananas, strawberries or fresh pineapple.

 

Evening Baby Shower Menu

When planning a party or shower for friends, the host wants to spend time with people instead of spending all evening in the kitchen! So here is a menu that can be prepped almost entirely before hand!

Menu:
Stuffed Chicken breasts
Dinner Rolls
Green Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Prep in advance: Cut a pocket in the chicken breast with a sharp knife. Make sure that the knife does not go all the way through the breast. Stuff the chicken breast with whatever ingredients appeal to you. We did three different stuffings and upon tasting them, evaluating and changing the recipes, here are three that I would recommend.
1. Pesto and sun-dried tomato mix. 1 C. Pesto, 1 C. cream cheese, 1 C. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil. This will stuff about four chicken breasts.
2. Caprice mix. 4 Roma tomatoes chopped, 1 C. fresh mozzarella, 1/2 C. basil chopped. This will stuff about four chicken breasts.
3. Cordon bleu mix. 7 thicker slices of black forest ham chopped, 7 slices of swiss cheese chopped. This will stuff about 4 chicken breasts.

For the event we stuffed the chicken and then covered and refrigerated it until the day of the shower. On the day, one hour before cook chicken in oven to 350. I used convection since we had three trays of chicken. Bake about 45 minutes until a thermometer registers 160 degrees. After baking, slice the breasts into small slices so that guests can try several different kinds. This also eliminates waste for people who don’t want to eat a whole breast.

For the salad we served three large organic salad mixes (the big plastic boxes) with six baskets of strawberries sliced into it, about 4 cups of feta cheese, 3 cups of dried cranberries and 4 cups of candied walnuts. All the slicing and candying walnuts were done in advance. The strawberries were sliced the morning of the shower.

Two bags of dinner rolls were bought at costco.

All of this plus 27 chicken breasts fed about 42 people.

If you would like to serve appetizers at your event as we did, here are some easy ones to make:

Blue cheese and walnut spread

2 C. cream cheese

1 C. chopped walnuts

2 C. blue cheese

Mix the cream cheese and walnuts until smooth.  Gently fold in blue cheese.  This can be served on crackers or bread, but is really phenomenal on granny smith apples.  You can cut the apples the afternoon before the shower and put them in a bag with several tablespoons of lemon juice.  Shake the apples well to coat.  This will keep them from browning.  The spread can be made up to four days in advance and stored in the refrigerator

Apricot stack

Simply stack a dried apricot, a small slice of Asiago cheese and a pecan.  This is so simple, and so, so good.  No toothpick necessary.  Just pick up the stack and pop it in your mouth!

Baked Brie

Buy one whole brie round.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min or until soft and runny.  Meanwhile, saute

14 slices prosciutto

2/3 C. sundried tomatoes packed in oil

1/3 C. capers

After the brie is baked, put sautéed mixture over the top of brie wheel.  Serve with crackers

Blue Cheese Walnut Spread

For those of you who don’t like stinky cheese, sorry.  This is one of the best spreads in quite a while.  Not only does it taste great, it only has three ingredients!!

4 oz. blue cheese

4 oz. cream cheese

1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Let the cream cheese come to room temperature.  Mix the cream cheese and walnuts well.  Fold in the blue cheese.  Try not to crush it too much.  I know this is easier said than done.  This spread was originally designed for a toasted baguette, but summer, ever the one to try something new, suggested apples.  It was AMAZING!  A little spread on a granny smith apple is divine.  If you are throwing a party, you can cut the apples before the party and put them in a bag and shake them with a little lemon juice – this will keep them from turning brown.  The spread is also good as a new member of the veggie tray instead of ranch!

Cowboy Caviar

I went to an early Thanksgiving potluck with some extended family, at a cattle ranch in Bakersfield.  I thought Cowboy Caviar sounded fun since we were going to a ranch.  This recipe, although made mostly of canned goods, tastes light and fresh.  I got the recipe from my mother-in-law.

 

Ingredients

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

6 teaspoons hot sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons salad oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/8 teaspoon ground pepper

3 firm-ripe avocado

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained & rinsed

1 can (15 oz) white beans, drained & rinsed

1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained & rinsed

3 cans corn kernels, drained & rinsed

1 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onion

1 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/2 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Salt (to taste)

2 bags Tortilla chips

 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix vinegar, hot sauce, oil, garlic, and pepper.  Peel, pit, and cut avocado into 1/2 inch cubes.  Add to vinegar mixture and mix gently to coat.

2. Add beans, corn, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes to avocado mixture and mix gently to coat.  Add salt to taste.  Serve with tortilla chips.   Enjoy!