Party Ideas

Party Ideas

Steamed Ginger-Peanut Chicken Dumplings

Dumplings — the college dorm room staple.  Whether you order take-out or keep them frozen in your tiny dorm freezer, they’re easy to reheat and great after long nights of skipping study group and bingeing on beer bongs and cheap shots of cheap tequila.

I have had a bit of an obsession with dumplings lately.  First, the wontons, and now DUMPLING MADNESS

[Insane in the membrane.]

I could totally make a killing at inventing new dumplings and making batches of them at a time.  Granted, my dumplings won’t win any beauty competitions, but it’s what’s inside that counts, right?

Don’t judge me food art community.  *points*  I know who you are.

I made these on a whim one night after grocery shopping.  Cue 9:00pm:  Miss McBooty hasn’t eaten anything for hours.  What is this?  The crazy cooking lady starts roasting a chicken, shreds it, and creates her delightful dumpling guts.  After three hours… she finally devours these around midnight.  I earned that midnight snack I tell you.

The moment I bit into one of these bad boys, I immediately tumbled down college memory lane.

Steamed Ginger-Peanut Chicken Dumplings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yields: 30-40 Dumplings

Steamed Ginger-Peanut Chicken Dumplings

Ingredients

    For the dumplings:
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2 small cloves minced garlic
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 pound shredded or ground chicken meat, white meat preferred
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 teaspoons green curry paste
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts
  • Cabbage or parchment paper for your bamboo steamer (you can fry these in a wok with a little oil too)
  • Oil for sautéing
  • 1 pack of wonton wrappers
  • For the sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Green onions (for decoration)

Directions

  1. In a small pan, saute the shallots, garlic and green onion for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken meat and stir-fry on medium-high until the chicken is no longer pink (if your chicken is already cooked, add it in the pan and toss for a few minutes anyway). Add the carrot and the remaining ingredients. Stir thoroughly and remove from heat.
  2. Add water to your pan and prepare your bamboo steamer on the side. Use cabbage leaves or parchment paper to prevent your dumplings from sticking after they steam. You can add some green tea to your water for some added flavor too. Bring the water to a high simmer.
  3. Set out the wonton wrappers with a small bowl filled with water. Lay out one wrapper, place a tablespoon of the chicken filling in the middle, dip your finger in the water and run it along the edges of the wrapper. Fold the wonton so the edges create a seal, pinch and set aside. Continue until the mixture is gone.
  4. Add as many dumplings to your steamer as you can without the dumplings touching each other. Place your steamer in the simmering water and let your dumplings steam for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the wonton skins are clear. Repeat until all of your dumplings are cooked.
  5. Combine ingredients for the dipping sauce and serve either drizzled on the dumplings or on the side.

Notes

You can freeze your dumplings and cook them later. Do not steam them when you prep the dumplings. Instead set them in a freezer bag for use later on. When you're ready to eat them, take them out while your bamboo steamer is warming, and place them in the basket (semi-thawed is fine). Steam until the wrapper turns clear.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/steamed-ginger-peanut-chicken-dumplings/

Strawberry Crumb Bars

These last few weeks have been a sort of uphill journey with this website.  I feel like I’ve taken on a responsibility maybe I wasn’t quite ready for yet, like when a someone buys their first house.

It’s a learning process, right?

I feel fairly accomplished but I know there is still a lot work to do.  I can’t say I don’t enjoy working on the inners and outers of a website but there are other things I’d rather be doing with my time… like cooking or baking for instance.

Sometimes I still do that.

These totally made my week.  Thank you Smitten Kitchen for this delicious recipe!

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yields: 24 Bars

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into small pieces
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 5 cups chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 13×9” baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing for an overhang so that you can remove the bars easily from the pan. Coat the foil well with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Use a fork to blend in the cold butter and egg. The dough should be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, strawberries, and cornstarch. Evenly spread the strawberry mix over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, or until top is just turning golden brown. Let the bars cool completely in the pan before cutting into small squares.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/strawberry-crumb-bars/

Pizza Cupcakes

pizza cupcakes wontons

I’ve noticed this semi-recent culinary trend that involves putting just about anything and everything into a muffin tin.  I have seen recipes from lasagna cupcakes to mac and cheese cups to french toast muffins.  Practically any dish you can think of can be made into individual-sized muffin cups that’ll have you licking your fingers of every morsel with delight.  Sign me up!

So I figured, why not put one of my favorite foods into a muffin shape?  Pizza!  If you like pizza rolls, you should try these puppies.

I ended up making homemade wonton wrappers myself, (because I’m a crazy person who finds an odd comfort in making everything from scratch).  If you do or if you don’t, I recommend sprinkling a little garlic on your wonton wrappers before placing them in the muffin cups for an extra special treat for your taste buds.

Recipe idea courtesy of Saving Those Dollars, photo from Wonder How To – Thank you!

Pizza Cupcakes

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yields: 10-12 Cupcakes

Pizza Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of your favorite pizza sauce
  • 18 wonton wrappers
  • 8-ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  • Your favorite pizza toppings

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray your muffin tin(s) with olive oil spray.
  2. Line each cupcake mold with a round wonton wrapper. Put a spoonful of sauce, a little cheese and a little bit of your toppings into each mold. Repeat another layer of wonton wrapper, sauce, cheese, and toppings until each muffin cup is full. Sprinkle each cupcake with a little more cheese and bake until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
  3. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove from pan. Serve with a bit of extra sauce for dipping on the side.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/pizza-cupcakes/

Loaded Healthy Nachos


Since I was a little girl, my grabby little hands loved to snack.  There was something so therapeutic in munching and crunching and licking my fingers to my satisfaction.   A movie wasn’t complete without a buttery gallon of popcorn.  I couldn’t survive a day without eating Bugels off of the tips of my fingers.  And that’s just how I was.

That was then, and this is now.  Making healthier life choices has not completely depleted snacking from my daily routine, but now my snacks are no longer dripping with butter and salt or covered in chocolate bliss.  I’m continuously inventing and discovering better ways to snack.  You are what you eat, right?

This is a tribute to those radioactive-cheese covered stale tortilla chips gas stations and movie theaters like to call, “Nachos.”  Although simple, I discovered this recipe on of my very favorite food blogs: canyoustayfordinner? I saw this article and had to satisfy my irrepressible craving for nachos.

Recipe by the amazing Andrea of Can You Stay For Dinner?

Loaded Healthy Nachos

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yields: One serving or two snack-sized servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large whole grain tortilla (multigrain is best)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (roma or sugarplum)
  • juice from half of a lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/4 diced avocado
  • 1 dollop of sour cream
  • Sliced jalapenos

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to broil. Cut the tortilla into small triangles, the size of standard tortilla chips. Lay the triangles on a wire rack set on top of a cookie sheet. Coat them generously with cooking spray and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt. Broil for 4-5 minutes on one side, flip and broil for another 1-2 minutes until crisp and light golden brown.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add garlic and stir for 20 seconds. Add black beans, tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime (and jalapenos if you like that sort of thing). Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder. Stir and let the mixture simmer for a couple minutes, to heat through.
  3. Place the tortilla chips on a foil lined cookie sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Pile the black bean mixture into the center. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese and set under your broiler for a couple minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  4. Slide the nachos onto a place and add avocado and a dollop of sour cream.
  5. Munch, munch, munch!
http://foodiemcbooty.com/loaded-healthy-nachos/

Filipino Lumpia

Lumpia is the Filipino equivalent of an egg roll.  There are many variations in the Philippines.  Lumpia is typically filled with all sorts of varieties of meats and vegetables.  This is my version of this recipe.

These crispy little guys are irresistible at parties.  You get your sweet from the sauce and the salty from the pork… the perfect complement to any alcoholic beverage.

Lumpia wrappers may be difficult to find, depending on your location.  You can use Chinese spring roll wrappers if need be.

Filipino Lumpia

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: About 30 Lumpia

Filipino Lumpia

Ingredients

  • 2 cups and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 cup shrimp, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrots, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 30 lumpia wrappers
  • Sweet and sour sauce or spicy vinegar sauce, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in your favorite large skillet. Add onions and cook until almost translucent. Add and cook the pork until no pink is showing. Add salt and pepper, carrots, oyster sauce and fish sauce. Mix well. Add shrimps and cook until pink then add the beaten egg. Mix well and remove from heat. Allow to completely cool and drain if necessary.
  2. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling diagonally near one corner of your wrapper. Turn that same corner over your filling, tuck in the sides and roll tightly (like a little burrito). Moisten the top corner and edges with water to seal it.
  3. Heat a deep skillet or large pot and add oil. Heat for 5 minutes (to about 375 degrees F). Place egg roll one at a time into hot oil, with the seam down (this will keep it from unraveling) and quickly turn the egg roll to ensure the skin crisps up and does not stick to the other egg rolls in the pan. Adjust the heat so that the oil is bubbling gently and not too vigorously around the egg rolls. Fry the rolls until all sides are golden brown, 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and serve with sweet and sour sauce or spicy vinegar sauce.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/filipino-lumpia/

White Chocolate Raspberry Shortbreads

I made these cookies with my good friend Heather, who, really is the baker amongst my group of friends.  We used Valentine’s Day as an excuse to put her heart shaped cookie cutter to work.

After a ton of butter and sugar, layering shortbread on jam on shortbread… we ended up with these sinfully delicious treats.  The contrast of the buttery shortbread with the tangy and sweet raspberry filling makes me a very happy camper.  Too happy in fact… but that’s another story.

The Joy of Baking recommends not overfilling these with jam.  You want just enough to keep the cookies together.  Also, it’s best to fill the cookies the day of serving.

White Chocolate Raspberry Shortbreads

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yields: 12 Cookies

White Chocolate Raspberry Shortbreads

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of raspberry jam or homemade raspberry preserves
  • 2-ounces white chocolate, grated
  • To make your own raspberry preserves, you will need:
  • 2 cups (8-ounces) frozen or fresh raspberries, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • a few drops of fresh lemon juice

Directions

    Homemade Raspberry Preserves:
  1. Place the unsweetened raspberries and the sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Do not let it burn. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof measuring cup. You should have almost a cup of preserves. Add a drop or two of lemon juice. Cover and place in the refrigerator for a few days before using.
  2. For the Shortbread Cookies:
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute, with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer). Add the sugar and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatted the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut out the dough. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet. You will be sandwiching two cookies together and there will be a small cut out in the top cookie so you can see the jam filling. Place the unbaked cookies on the baking sheet, in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked. bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
  6. To Assemble Cookies:
  7. Place the cookies with the cut-outs on a wire rack and dust the tops with confectioners' sugar.
  8. On the bottom surface of the full cookie spread with about a teaspoon of jam. Sprinkle with a little grated white chocolate. Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together, making sure not to smudge the confectioners' sugar. Using a small spoon, fill the cut-out with a little more jam.

Notes

You can store the unassembled cookies for several days in an airtight container. It is best, though, to assemble the cookies the same day as serving in order to keep the cookies crisp.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/white-chocolate-raspberry-shortbreads/

Photo courtesy of Suite 101

Filipino Pancit Bihon

I always feel really good when I make pancit (not that I make it nearly as good as my family makes it).  Simply because a lot of people outside of the Philippines don’t know how to cook pancit.  It’s a little piece of my heritage that is resurfacing.

Filipino cooking is not an exact science.  Add the vegetables and seasonings according to your own likes and dislikes.  Just try not to use too much soy sauce, it can easily become overpowering.  Pork can be substituted for chicken or added in addition to the chicken.  I have also added shrimp to my pancit if I have it.  You can also substitute tofu for the meat, omit the oyster sauce and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this a vegetarian dish.

This feeds a lot of people.  You could throw a party and serve this dish or bring it to a potluck.  Everyone will thank you.  Or make this for yourself and eat the leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week.  You’ll never go hungry again!

This recipe adapted from my family’s recipe book and a few changes of my own.

Filipino Pancit Bihon

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yields: Serves about 10

Filipino Pancit Bihon

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) package bihon rice noodles, soaked for at least 15 minutes then drained
  • 2 chicken breast or pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails cut off
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced thinly into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, minced
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large pan or wok, add the half of the oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken or pork. When the meat is mostly cooked on all sides, add the shrimp and cook until pink. Add veggies and mirin and stir fry for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan or wok, pour and heat up remaining olive oil. Add the chicken cubes and saute until melted. Add the water and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the noodles and keep tossing them until they are loosened. Add the salt and pepper to taste and cook until the noodles are almost tender. Add more water to cook the noodles if necessary.
  3. Add the meat and mixed vegeteables. Keep on tossing until ingredients are well mixed and noodles are tender but firm. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and serve hot with soy sauce and lemon.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/pancit-bihon/

Photo courtesy of Tapsilogatbp

Homemade Polish Pierogis

Pierogies (pierogi, piroghi…) are a Polish person’s idea of soul food.  A pierogie is a dumpling stuffed with various fillings.  Traditional fillings include potato and cheese, meat, sauerkraut and potato, cottage cheese and chives, and sweet fillings like prune and cherries.

Like most dumplings, these take time to prepare.   Because they are bit tedious and I make these on my own, I usually make a big batch so I can freeze most of them and eat them later.  If you can, grab some friends to help.  A pierogie-making party provide a great opportunity to meet with friends or family, talk about this and that and feast!

They manufacture pierogie presses to make this task easier, especially if you are tackling these by yourself.  I don’t mind pinching the dough together with my fingers so I have yet to invest in one.

For this recipe, I filled my pierogies with traditional potatoes and cheese.

Homemade Polish Pierogis

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 8 minutes

Yields: About 25

Homemade Polish Pierogis

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling your dough
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into small pieces, plus extra for sautéing
  • 4 large red potatoes
  • 1 large onion and 1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 4 to 8-ounces of grated cheddar cheese (to your taste)
  • Optional ingredients for potato and cheese filling: fresh parsley, bacon bits, chives)

Directions

    For the Pierogie Dough:
  1. Mix together the flour and salt. Beat the egg, then add it to the flour mixture. Add the 1/2 cup sour cream and the softened butter pieces and work until the dough loses most of its stickiness (about 5-7 minutes). You can use a food processor with a dough hook for this, but be careful not to overbeat it.
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or overnight; the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Each batch of dough makes about 15-20 pierogies, depending on the size.
  3. For the Potato, Cheese and Onion Filling:
  4. Peel and boil potatoes until soft. While the potatoes are boiling, saute the onion in butter until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup sauteed onion in the pan to use later in the sauce. Mash the potatoes with the rest of the onions and cheddar cheese, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Let the mixture cool and form into 1" balls.
  6. Assembly:
  7. Roll the pierogie dough on a floured board or countertop until 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough (about 2" for small pierogies and 3-3 1/2' for large pierogies) with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Place a small ball of filling (about a tablespoon on each dough round and fold the dough over, forming a semi-circle. Wet the edges with a bit of water and press together with your fingers.
  8. Boil the pierogies a few at a time in a large pot of water. They are done when they float to the top (usually about 8 minutes). Rinse in cool water and let dry.
  9. Add pierogies to the frying pan with butter and reserved onion and fry until lightly crispy. Serve hot with a side of sour cream for dipping.

Notes

These can freeze uncooked for up to several months. You do not need to thaw the pierogies before you cook them. Simply pop them in boiling water when you're ready to indulge. They are done when they float to the top.

http://foodiemcbooty.com/homemade-polish-pierogis/

Mini Cheesecake Tarts

I was looking for something easy and quick to make for a party.   These individual cheesecake tarts were perfect.  The cheesecake batter in this recipe is really light and I like to use a whipped cream as “frosting” for a sweet end any meal that wont weigh you down.

You can decorate these with anything your heart desires.  I like to use fresh fruit because it makes me feel like I’m eating something that’s “good for me.”  Unfortunately, hips don’t lie.  Get creative with toppings — lemon zest, chocolate shavings, caramel, fresh fruit or canned pie filling.

The “crust” in these tarts are a single Nilla Wafer.  Buy the large size.  One time I bought the mini snack-sized wafers by mistake.  I figured I could crumble them and press them to the bottom of each cupcake liner to pass for a wafer crust.  The results were a crumbly mess.  I learned my lesson…  stick with the large Nilla Wafers.  Check.

Recipe Adapted from Our Best Bites.

Mini Cheesecake Tarts

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yields: One dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 12 Nilla Wafer cookies
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Foil cupcake liners
  • Toppings

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar. Add in flour and baking powder and beat to combine. Then add in eggs, one at a time, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat to combine.
  2. Fill a muffin pan with cupcake liners and place one vanilla wafer at the bottom of each one. Divide batter between the 12 muffin papers, filling each cup to about 1/4 inch from the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. They'll puff way up during baking, but they'll settle after being chilled.
  3. When you take them out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack and let them cool completely. While they cool, they will sink down in the center. Don't worry, that's normal! It makes the perfect little well to fill up with your toppings. Before you top them, be sure to allow them to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/mini-cheesecake-tarts/

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Ricotta Cheese

Everything tastes better with bacon.  Dates are no exception.  When it comes to this salty and sweet finger food, you want to buy the biggest, most plump dates you can find.  If this requires pitting them yourselves, I’d recommend doing it.  Pit these by making a small slit in the date with a small paring knife and pushing the pit out with a skewer.

I filled my dates with ricotta.  To me, it seemed to compliment the sweet dates the best.  I have also seen recipes with cream cheese, blue cheese, and Parmesan.  The choice is yours.  I do recommend keeping the filling very simple.  The bacon and the dates really speak for themselves.

No matter what filling you choose, you should keep one thing in mind: thin bacon works best for these dates.  Thin slices of bacon will crisp up nicer and easier than thick-cut bacon and as we all know, crispy bacon is like crispy pieces of heaven.

Can I get a ‘Hallelujah?’

Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Ricotta Cheese

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yields: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 pound thinner-cut bacon
  • 25 Medjool dates (about 3/4 pound), pitted
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • Toothpicks

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Cut the bacon in half lengthwise.
  3. Place the ricotta in the bottom corner of a ziplock bag and seal tightly. Use the scissors to cut the corner of the bag to create a piping bag. Remember, you can always cut more off if necessary, so start smaller. Use the piping bag to fill the dates with the cheese.
  4. Wrap the stuffed dates with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick through the belly of the date. Arrange all the prepared dates on a parchment or aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, allowing at least a little space between each one for good browning. Bake for 10 or 15 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crispy, turning the baking sheet around 180 degrees halfway through baking. Remove from the baking sheet and serve.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/bacon-wrapped-dates/

Recipe adapted from The Food Network.

This beautiful photo belongs to Brown Eyed Baker.

Sauteed Shrimp Cocktail with Sweet Mustard Sauce

I could not believe how absolutely beautiful these turned out.  There isn’t a lot to this recipe either, which makes my job a heck of a lot easier.

This shrimp cocktail is served cold.  Sautéing the shrimp before chilling it adds so much flavor to these tail flipping fellows, your guests will keep coming back for more.

I almost guarantee this cocktail sauce is unlike anything you have had with any shrimp cocktail in the past.  Well, it was new for me at least!  Mustard, fresh basil and a touch of sweetness completely turned threw my tastebuds for a loop…  in a very good way!  The turmeric adds such a gorgeous hue to the sauce too.

I served this as an appetizer for the holidays, but the shrimp alone could be great as an entrée as well.

Sauteed Shrimp Cocktail with Sweet Mustard Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yields: Serves 8-10

Sauteed Shrimp Cocktail with Sweet Mustard Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound jump shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail left on
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 3/4 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In the mean time, mix the shrimp, herbes de Provence and salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag until evenly coated. Add the shrimp to the skillet (there should be a nice sizzle happening right about now). Cook the shrimp on one side until the transparency is gone and the shrimp are pink and browning a bit from the seer of the pan. This should only take about 2 minutes per side. Cool in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayo, mustard, syrup, turmeric, and basil until smooth. Place the sauce in your dipping bowl as needed.
  3. Plate the shrimp and sauce on a serving platter and serve.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/sauteed-shrimp-cocktail/

Recipe adapted from The Food Network.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Today is my very good friend Derek’s birthday!  I made these sweet little treats to celebrate.  I’m a firm believer that nobody should have to work on their birthday.  But unfortunate circumstances do happen and sometimes you just have to make the best of it.  Carrot cake makes it all better.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY D$ROCK!

[On a side note, check out his podcast.  The man has great taste in music!]

This recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 pound of carrots, grated
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of orange zest
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 6-ounce of white chocolate chips, melted
  • 16-ounce of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Rinse the carrots and peel the rough skins off, then grate the carrots.
  3. Place the carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  4. In another bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.
  5. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, being sure not to overmix. Fold in the toasted walnuts until evenly incorporated.
  6. Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 to 3/4 full and bake for 19-21 minutes at 350F, being sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking. Afterwards allow to cool for 5 minutes before taking the cupcakes out of the cupcake tin and allowing them to fully cool on a wire rack. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  7. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, chocolate and butter on medium speed until well combined. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix.
  8. Spread onto cooled cupcakes and decorate however your heart desires.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/carrot-cake-cupcakes/

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