Archive for Entertaining

Heavy hors d’ouevre party for 35

We had the opportunity to provide a heavy hors d’oeuvre catered party for 35 a couple of weeks ago. It was so much fun to work with the hostess on the menu. The party was a wedding shower and the bride-to-be was gluten-free so we wanted to make sure she could enjoy everything we made. 

 

The somewhat Spanish themed menu consisted of the following:

Heavy charcuterie and cheese platter with lots of ‘extras’ including a custom-made 5 foot long reclaimed wood board as the focal point. It seemed to be the talk of the party! The platter did not just end at smoked meats, cheeses and crackers. It also had grapes, spiced candied pecans apricots, stuffed peppadews, Habanero and apricot jam, and candied bacon (which there may or may not have been a fight break out over…just sayin’).

 

Braised Short Ribs on Polenta Round with Cilantro and Pickled Onions

Roasted vegetables (curried cauliflower and okra, squash and zucchini with lemon and basil oil)

 

Garlic Shrimp – Gambas al Ajillo

 

Moorish Chicken Kebabs

 

Quinoa Salad with Orange-Lime Dressing and Avocados

(not pictured)

 

Dessert was from Alon’s – Chocolate Louise which is Gluten Free and decadent!

 

 

 

Catered Brunch for 20

Catered brunch for baby showerAfter request upon request to cater, Denise and I have given in several times in the last few months. It has been fun and a learning experience on what it takes to be a true caterer. As of now, we still don’t think catering, in the technical sense of the word, is for us. HOWEVER, providing a home-cooked, delicious spread at a fair cost for friends is definitely something we enjoy!

Catered brunch for 20

This past Saturday, we provided a brunch for about 20 people hosting a baby shower. It was so much fun! Melissa knew a lot of the guests which made it extra special to see friends and the appreciation for the food was enough to lift our spirits through the week.

catered brunch

 

We worked with the ‘to be Mom’s’ sister on the menu which needed to include enough vegetarian items to suit the guest list. Here is what we ended up with:

  • Frittata with mushrooms, leeks and fontina
  • Frittata with sausage and cheddar
  • Shrimp grits with toast points
  • Baked French toast
  • Greek yogurt, mixed berries and granola
  • Caprese salad
  • Prosciutto cups with spinach and ricotta
  • Mimosas, OJ, and iced tea

Do you have a book club, Bible study, regular friend get together that you don’t want to cook for…let us know if we can help!

Vegetarian Frittata

 

Brunch Salad

 

Baked French Toast with Pecan topping

Baked French Toast with Pecan topping

Happy 2015

Friends, Followers, and Subscribers,

Happy 2015

Happy 2015! As you know, throughout the latter half of 2014 we were not able to keep our blog up to the capacity that it was is previous times. As we have said before, sometimes this thing called “Life” gets in the way!

This is the beginning of a new year so we are ready to cook, entertain and post away! We have some ideas of what we will be doing in the upcoming weeks and months, but if there is something specific that you want to see, or a recipe that you need, etc., please don’t hesitate to ask us!!! We are here to provide YOU with content that YOU want!!! You can leave a comment on the blog, ask us on Facebook or send an email to denise@mcnackskitchen.com or melissa@mcnackskitchen.com

Wishing you all a fantastic 2015!

Denise and Melissa

 

Thanksgiving Menu 2014

fun on thanksgiving

If you have followed our blog long enough, you know that we have had to take a bit of time off lately (a little thing called “life” seems to have gotten in our way). As Thanksgiving approaches, we want you to know that we are thankful for YOU, our readers, followers and subscribers for not giving up on us! 

Last year, Melissa and I shared our (different) tips to making the perfect turkey. We will both stick to our guns this year and insist that our way is the best way. However, I am branching out a bit this year. I found a recipe in Southern Living called Dry Brined-Herb Roasted Turkey. It looks amazing. The recipe basically calls for kosher salt, brown sugar, sage, thyme, pepper and garlic powder to be mixed together and rubbed all over the turkey about 24 hours before cooking. I was excited to see that you’re supposed to keep a bit of the mixture to the side so you can mix it with butter and then put it under the skin right before cooking. I’m telling you…that is the key to a moist turkey with golden brown crust. 

I’ve got 14 people coming for Thanksgiving dinner this year. As usual, it is a mixture of family and friends. As you will see from last year’s menu, my Thanksgiving menu doesn’t vary much. We are suckers for tradition. 

APPETIZERS

Meat and cheese tray

Sausage Balls

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

Hummus and Naan

Mulled Spiced Wine

Surprise Dip

MAIN COURSE

Turkey

Ham

Gravy

Syrian Rice

Cornbread Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes

Applesauce

Garlic Green Beans

Kale Citrus Salad

Surprise Side Dish

DESSERT

Apple Cake

Pumpkin Roll

Lemon Merengue Pie

If you need some more ideas of what to make to compliment your turkey, we have compiled a list of our favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

Starchy Sides

Fruit and Vegetables

Desserts

 

 

 

 

How to plan a football party

The most wonderful time of the year is finally here…. FOOTBALL SEASON!! You know what that means….Time to start planning a football party!!!

Here are some basic key factors to consider when planning a football party:

TIME:

This might not seem like a big issue, but it is. Are you focused on having a party on a certain day and time or for a particular game? Most times are not published until the week of the scheduled game, especially if it’s for a big matchup. You might have to be flexible, or be prepared to have a party that lasts for several hours.

GUESTS:

Kids or no kids? Guests from rivalry teams or no? Whatever you choose, just make sure everyone invited can play nicely together in the same sandbox. Healthy rivalries are a great part of the football tradition. When it gets out of hand, however, no one has fun!

BEVERAGES:

Beer is a staple for many football fans. So is Jack and Coke. If you’re on the West Coast or have an early game, Bloody Marys and Mimosas are quite popular! No matter what you provide (or have guests bring), PLEASE make sure you have enough water on hand so everyone stays well hydrated.

FOOD:

When you are throwing a football party, it is not the time to break out the filet mignon and scalloped potatoes. You also don’t have to limit yourself to chips and salsa.

Some of the most popular dishes I serve for football parties are Buffalo Chicken Dip, Meatballs, and Taco Dip. I’m actually going to attempt to make my Bacon Cheese Ball into the shape of a football for a party this weekend. Stay tuned to see how it turns out!!

If you would like more detailed information about how to throw the Ultimate Football Party, along with all of our best football friendly recipes, you can purchase and download our guide and cookbook for just $10.

football party

 

July 4th BBQ

Lemon Thyme Chicken with Feta Herb Salad

The 4th of July is right around the corner. We don’t have a set tradition in my house and are always up for something new. Last year, we hosted a family reunion. This year, a great friend from high school is flying in from Texas with her 3 kids to spend the week with us. The two of us somehow got talked into running The Peachtree Road Race the morning of the 4th. (Still not sure how that happened exactly. I hate the heat and she hates running. Put them both together and you’ve got two people who will be running straight for the beer stand after we cross the finish line). For those of you in Atlanta, we are in the “W” start wave. We decided it stands for “What have we gotten ourselves into?” Anyway, after a nice long shower, we will be headed to a friend’s house for a fantastic July 4th BBQ

Chances are you are headed to a BBQ of some sort if you’re not hosting one. We’ve got some great ideas that are always a hit for get togethers like this! 

APPETIZERS:

Sausage Balls

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Denise’s Specialty for over 10 years)

Peach, Prosciutto and Ricotta Crostini (Denise’s “Healthy” Favorite)

Bacon Cheese Ball  (Melissa’s favorite for a hot day)

Jalapeño Popper Dip (Denise’s “Not so Healthy” Favorite)

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

SALADS:

Pasta Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette 

Sensation Salad (Denise’s original favorite)

Kale Caesar Salad with Polenta Croutons (Denise’s new found favorite)

Grilled Romaine Salad with Tomato and Corn Tumble

Watermelon Salad with Papaya and Honey Citrus Vinaigrette (Melissa’s favorite for a refreshing bite)

Grilled Caprese Salad (Denise’s favorite on the grill…and it’s pretty impressive)

Tomato Cucumber and Onion Salad

SIDES:

Macaroni and Cheese (Melissa’s ‘you’ve got to have it’ at a BBQ side)

Baked Potato Bar (Denise’s favorite to serve when kids are around or there’s a big crowd)

Grilled Peaches (Melissa’s favorite for summer BBQ’s light side)

Sauteed Broccolini with Lemon and Garlic

Peas and Asparagus

Garlic Green Beans (Denise’s favorite)

Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Tomatoes

Summer Squash and Zucchini

MAIN COURSES:

Gourmet Burger Bar

Grilled Chicken Wings with Ranch (Melissa’s favorite for a bit different)

Roasted Pork Loin with Peaches

Drunk Chicken 

Stuffed Zucchini

Marinated Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs (McNacks’s most popular recipe)

Tuna Steaks with Fresh Salsa (Clearly a Melissa favorite, Denise isn’t touching this)

Lemon Thyme Chicken with Feta Herb Salad (Denise’s Favorite)

Grilled Flank Steak with Lime, Honey, Garlic Marinade

Spicy Grilled Shrimp (Melissa’s awesome and spicy favorite)

Grilled Chicken Wrapped in Rosemary and Bacon

DESSERTS:

Lemonade Pie (Denise’s Favorite)

Peach Cream Pie (Melissa’s Favorite)

How to Make a Bacon Bowl

Bacon Bowl

For a while now I’ve been wanting to make a Bacon Bowl. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing I would make on a regular night, so I decided to save this for a special occasion…Baconfest – The Sequel!

It was easier (and messier) than I thought it would be. Here’s how I did it as well as some tips that I figured out in the middle of the process…

How to make a bacon bowl

1. Line a large microwave safe plate with parchment paper. Tip: Cut off excess edges of the parchment paper. My plate was so big that the excess paper hit the door of the microwave when it spun, causing the bacon to move. 

2. Put 8 or 10 (depending on the size of your plate and microwave) slices of bacon side by side on the parchment paper. Make sure it’s an even number. Fold back every other piece halfway and horizontally place another piece of bacon. Return the bacon to its original position. 

3. Now, fold back the other pieces of bacon and place a strip of bacon horizontally. 

4. Repeat to create a lattice. 

Bacon Bowl

5. Place bacon in the microwave and cover with a paper towel. Cook on 60% power for 10 minutes. Remove the paper towel and use more to dry the bacon. Tip: This is greasy. Have your trash can nearby so you’re not dripping across your floor. 

6. Put a dry paper towel on the bacon and cook on 60% power for an additional 10 minutes. Carefully remove the plate from the microwave. Tip: Use oven mitts. It’s going to be hot. 

7. Get a large measuring cup (I used a 4 c. glass measuring cup from Pampered Chef which I’m sure many of you have)! If you don’t have this, use something similar in size and you will be just fine. Tip: Put paper towels underneath your measuring cup to catch the greasy drippings. 

8. CAREFULLY invert the bacon lattice over the measuring cup. Place back in the microwave (with the paper towels underneath) and cook for about 10 more minutes on 60% power or until the bacon is done and holds its shape. 

9. Using oven mitts, remove the bacon and place on paper towels to cool. 

Bacon Bowl

10. Turn it back over and fill it with whatever yumminess you like. I chose cubes of delicious cheese!!!

Bacon Bowl