Archive for Entertaining

Baconfest – The Sequel

Baconfest - The Sequel

Oh-My-Goodness!! I don’t even know where to begin….I guess I’ll start from the beginning.

About a year ago, we hosted a Baconfest. I have been trying to remember how the concept even began, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really even matter. Since then, we have had a Winefest, Cheesefest, Bourbonfest, and Beerfest. Once the weather started turning nice, talk about Baconfest – The Sequel started coming up. I was hesitant since I wanted to try something new and different. Clearly, I was outvoted and Baconfest – The Sequel came to be this past weekend. 

I had planned on making a Bacon Bowl filled with cheese, Bacon Soup Shooters, Double Bacon Meatballs and Bacon Cheese Ball. However, as I was making the delicious but not at all healthy soup, it was clear to me that I needed to have a vegetable tray. It just didn’t feel right to not have ANYTHING healthy. However, so I didn’t break my own rule, I put a piece of bacon in the ranch dip!

Baconfet - The Sequel

Aside from what I made (recipes will be posted this week) we had some outstanding and creative dishes brought by our guests. Some of the highlights were:

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Wings

Baconfest - The Sequel

Broccoli and Edamame Bacon Salad

Baconfest - The Sequel

Bourbon Bacon Butter with Warm Bread

Baconfest - The Sequel 

Bacon Stuffed Tomatoes

Bacon Stuffed Tomatoes

We also had some bacon jam, jalapeño and corn bacon dip, Ina Garten’s Caramelized Bacon (my husband talked about this the next morning), spaghetti carbonara, bacon wrapped smokies, spinach salad with warm bacon dressing and bacon popcorn (that’s right…bacon popcorn)! We were blessed to have an ice cream maker in the group and she made BACON ICE CREAM. Don’t knock it until you try it. It was absolutely fantastic. 

Never in my life have I hosted or been to a party where just about everyone showed up within the first 30-45 minutes of the “start time” AND we were sitting down eating in the same time frame. The food was really that good…and everyone knew it!!!

Happy Father’s Day – Best Meat and Potatoes Dishes

best ever scalloped potatoes

Father’s Day is typically a day when most of us honor the man in our life that we call, “Dad.” It’s also a day to recognize the father of our children or that special someone who has been an important father figure in our lives.

It’s a day to reflect if your dad is no longer with you and to honor his memory, think about what was…with the love and peace of what is.

The single moms should also be celebrated as they pull double parenting duty…all day, every day! So to all of you out there who fall into one of these categories, we say, “Happy Father’s Day!”

However you spend your day, chances are there will be some sort of meal involved. We’d like to share our favorite “Meat and Potato” dishes to help you celebrate or honor “Dad”…whoever and wherever he is!!!


Pork Tenderloin

Smothered Pork Chops with Onion and Thyme

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Bone in BBQ Pork Chops

Pot Roast

Flank Steak with Lime, Honey and Garlic

BBQ Grilled Tri Tip Steak

Beer Can Chicken

Rack of Lamb with Mustard and Panko

Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Meatloaf with Bacon

Filet Mignon Stuffed with Spinach and Manchego


Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic

Oven Fries with Paprika Parmesan Salt

Red Potato and Bacon Hash

Roasted Red Potatoes with Dijon Mustard

Hasselback Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

Baked Potato Bar

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes


Mother’s Day Breakfast Ideas

egg baked inside avocado

As you know, Mother’s Day is on Sunday. There are so many options of how to celebrate a special Mom or person on this day…

1) Let the Mother you are celebrating do her own thing all day while you hold down the fort

2) Have a fun-filled family day that let’s the Mother know how much she is loved and appreciated

3) A combination of 1 & 2 or

4) Make it just a regular day without much fuss. Let me give you a tip….Option 4 is really NOT an option, so choose something else, or pack your bags. 

Lots of people choose to do a Mother’s Day Brunch. However, brunch can be hard for some people. It’s too late for breakfast and too early for lunch, so what do you do if you’re up at 6 a.m.? What do you do if you have a child that naps at 12:30 or you go to church at 11?

Well….you make a special breakfast!!! Here are some great ideas that any Mom would love to have served to her, in bed, by her family, and with a nice hot cup of coffee (or tea) made to her liking.

(Note: If you can’t make coffee JUST the way she likes it…go to Starbucks. It’s one day..suck it up and go)!

Mother’s Day Breakfast Ideas…

For the “Health Conscious Mom”

Egg Cooked in Avocado

Scrambled Eggs with Salsa and Feta

Breakfast Bagel Sandwich

For the “Mom Who Knows it’s a Holiday and is Just Happy Not to Cook”

French Toast

Monkey Bread

Biscuits and Gravy

Sausage Balls

For the “Mom Who Trusts the House Won’t be Burned Down While Others are Making Breakfast”

German Oven Pancakes

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs

Ham and Cheddar Quiche

“When All Else Fails”



Bloody Mary’s


Please note: If you have small children who insist on “helping” make breakfast, please do not allow them to add “special” ingredients to the food. Just because she likes Splenda in her coffee DOES NOT mean she will like it on her scrambled eggs. I promise. I was on the receiving end of this one year. It is not a pleasant experience to have to choke down Splenda enhanced eggs in front of your children. 

Our Favorite Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

If Oprah can make an entire show before Christmas about her favorite things, Melissa and I can do a simple post about Our Favorite Mother’s Day Gift Ideas, right? After all, we are both Mothers so we feel like we know a little bit about this!

No…we are not giving away trips or cars. Sorry.

However, we will certainly keep you out of the dog house by helping you come up with a great gift for the lady in your life that is either your mom, the mother of your children, grandmother, or just a special person who has always been like a mom to you.

If you are hurting for ideas, stick with one of these and you can’t go wrong!!! Trust us!

Favorite Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

The Best Wine Glass Ever…..I mean…you have GOT to check this out. I would love to open this on Sunday! I guess this is a test to see if my husband actually reads the blog.

Best Coffee Mug Ever….This one even tops the “Raising teenagers is like nailing jello to a wall” mug that I just got.

Le Crueset Round French Oven….a must have for anyone who makes soups, chili or large amounts of sauces.

Emile Henry Lasagna Dish…this is for anyone who cooks (even if they are a beginner). It’s a  versatile dish that can go from the oven to the table.

The Wine Bible…For the reader in your life.

Electric Wine Opener…you know, we are not getting any younger and not having to count aerobic activity to open a bottle of wine is a good thing.

A great knife….every aspiring chef needs to start with a great knife.

Amazon Gift Card…no brainer right here.

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Salad with black beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeños

Today is Cinco de Mayo. It’s a day for Margaritas and Mexican food (and if you are daring, a tequila shot or two)! There is no reason to go stand in line for hours at your favorite Mexican restaurant when you can make your own delicious fiesta at home! Here are some of our most delicious Mexican recipes. 


Black Bean and Corn Salad


Chi Chi’s Corn Cake

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Homemade Salsa


Mexican Style Grilled Corn

Taco Dip

One Dish/Two Ways: It’s Greek Week!

We decided that for this week’s version of “One Dish/Two Ways” we would be much more flexible in how we would go about preparing the meal. We did this mainly so neither one of us can break any rules (or be accused of breaking any rules).

Wow…flashback to high school…or was it just the last one dish-two ways competition.

Anyway…the concept for this week was very simple – Awesome Greek Food Recipes !

Here’s what we came up with:

Denise’s Delicious Greek Menu:

Melissa’s Amazing Greek Menu:

  • Shrimp Saganaki – sautéed shrimp with ouzo, tomato, feta and parsley
  • Spinach Pie (variation of Spanakopita)
  • Kale salad with apple cider and honey vinaigrette – no recipe needed. It’s just 2T honey, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and your taste of olive oil – I do a bit less than 1/4 cup
  • Roasted eggplant
  • Arborio rice with shallots
  • Tzatziki (store bought!!)

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Now, as we go through this week of posts, keep in mind:

(1) Denise made the theme suggestion of Greek Week

(2) Greece is primarily a coastal and island nation in close proximity to Italy and Turkey with borders on the Mediterranean Sea, Ionian Sea and Aegean Sea.

map of greece

Beyond that, we hope you enjoy the carnage that is to come!!

Easter Menu Ideas

Easter is just around the corner. As we have done for previous holidays, we are going to bring you both of our Easter menus in one post. You can get all of the ideas in one place, and hopefully enjoy a laugh or two as you will see, yet again, how two very different people with unique cooking styles can both serve an amazing holiday meal! 

Melissa’s Easter Menu:

Well, I still don’t know how many I am serving for Easter yet but I just created my menu! Last year’s Easter dinner was fantastic and it was hard not to just make that entire menu again! But, I write for a food blog so I better try something different.

Since Denise won’t cook a poor wittle lamby, I will! So delicious! This is also one of those things that when you ate it as a kid and when you eat it now, it is completely different. I adore just about all cuts of lamb, but for Easter, we will make a roasted leg of lamb.

I’m also going to make some deviled eggs because everyone loves deviled eggs!! Right?! I’ll give them an Easter twist by coloring the cooked egg whites. The kids can have fun with that (I got the idea from a Pinterest photo).

For those who don’t like deviled eggs, I’ll make a traditional caprese salad with some of the best buffalo mozzarella I’ve ever eaten! Yum!!

To enjoy a taste of spring, I’m going to mix snow peas, sugar snap peas and green peas together with some bacon and some kind of vinaigrette. I was inspired by a Food Network recipe of these three veggies together in a cream sauce, but I’m going to nix the cream sauce part. Don’t get me wrong, nothing bad about a cream sauce, just trying to balance my menu so it’s not toooooo heavy.

How to Prepare Sugar Snap Peas

Next up, potatoes! Gotta have potatoes on Easter. I think there is a reference to it in the Gospels somewhere. Well, maybe not, but I’m going to do it anyway. I bought a giant bag of Yukon Gold’s this week for food I took to a friend so I need to finish those up. I’m thinking roasted garlic mashed potatoes made with ALL the cream and butter they deserve (see, that’s why I’m not doing the veggies in cream too!).

For dessert, I think we’ll keep it simple with apple pie and vanilla ice cream.  Gotta love apple pie!

apple pie with crumble topping


When you ate it as a kid? See…that explains it all. You developed a more sophisticated palate at a very early age. ~Denise

Yes, I was fortunate to be introduced to a lot of foods very early, but canned asparagus I detested!! Still do! It should be banned from stores. ~Melissa

Denise’s Easter Menu

So when Melissa told me over the phone about her “wittle lamby” crack, I told her that for Easter I was going to shove a beer can up a chicken’s butt and pop it on the grill to make Drunk Chicken. 1) I wanted to see what kind of reaction I would get out of her 2) I actually wasn’t kidding.

drunken chicken

We are having 12 people over for Easter and it’s very casual. Along with the drunk chicken, I am also making my ribs!!

BBQ Ribs

Amazing BBQ Ribs

I normally wouldn’t make Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers for Easter, but they are a favorite of some of our guests, so I couldn’t resist.

Jalapeños with cream cheese and bacon

Friends are bringing a couple different appetizers (deviled eggs are a definite…and these are with bacon) and I’m going to round it out with Roasted Chickpeas and a small charcuterie tray with marinated artichokes and hearts of palm.

The Gospel tells Melissa to make potatoes for Easter. It tells me to make the most amazing rice dish known to mankind. It’s an old family recipe (and yes…unsharable) that is only made on special occasions. At most, I had it twice a year growing up. Now it’s maybe once a year. It’s not the healthiest dish around, but it does fall under the category of “Last Meal Requests!”. Thanks to a good friend who shared an Epicurious email with me this week, I am also making snow peas with toasted almonds, which should be delicious with the meats and the rice. A friend is also bringing some sort of salad to round out the meal. 

As usual…I’ve got someone bringing dessert.

I wasn’t counting on you actually writing that you were shoving the beer can where the sun doesn’t shine! And you feel bad for my wittle lamby?! Oh, and I am going to have to talk to your family, aka the Syrian Mafia. What’s up with the no share policy?!? ~Melissa

I can just see the huge smile on your face as you cook that poor little lamb and probably wish you were the one taking it to the slaughter house. Syrian Mafia? No. Think of it similar to “Ancient Chinese Secret” ~ Denise

Here are some other great Easter Menu Ideas:

Scalloped Potatoes

Peas and Asparagus

Asparagus with Vinaigrette

Dijon Roasted Potatoes

Grilled Green Tomato Caprese

Whole Beef Tenderloin

Pork Loin with Mango Chutney

Roasted Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese

Lemonade Pie