Archive for Menu Ideas

Catered Brunch for 20

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

Super Bowl Party Food

Bacon Cheese Ball

Super bowl party food is pretty much what you would expect. Lots of chips and cheesy dips, but it’s easy to step it up a bit without getting too fancy! No, you won’t be serving the healthiest of foods, but it sure can be good once a year!!! Our big rule of thumb is that if you have to use a knife, don’t serve it!!

Here are some of our favorite Super Bowl Party Foods (this list works for just about any sporting event that you would host that has men, women, and children all on the guest list). Choose your favorites and mix it up. You don’t need two hot dips with spinach in it, nor do you need three kinds of meatballs!!

Buffalo Chicken Dip (always a staple)

Taco Dip

Mexican Spinach Dip OR Spinach Artichoke Dip

Bacon Cheese Ball

Double Bacon Meatballs OR Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy OR Bourbon Meatballs

Eggy Bear’s Sweet Tea Brined Chicken Wings

Bruschetta and Goat Cheese Crostini

Pimento Cheese and Candied Bacon

Jalapeño Poppers OR Jalapeño Popper Dip

Chips, Salsa and Guacamole

Bacon Wrapped Smokies

 

Of course, if you don’t want to go the about route and make lots of different things, make a big pot of chili and some cornbread and call it a day!!!

 

 

Leftover rotisserie chicken

Mexican Chicken Soup

We’ve all been there. You get a rotisserie chicken from Costco or your favorite grocery store, and you end up with leftovers. So, what do you do with leftover rotisserie chicken? First of all, you pick the chicken apart and shred it into bit size pieces. Go ahead and freeze it. When you are in a pinch for lunch or dinner, bring it out to defrost. It won’t take long. There a hundred ways to use leftover rotisserie chicken, but here are some of our favorites. Some of the original recipes don’t call for rotisserie chicken, but it can be easily substituted. 

Appetizers

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Soup

Southern Italian Chicken Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Salad

Just throw it on top of your favorite salad and call it a night!

Main Courses

Tacos

Quesadillas

Lasagna Bundles

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches – You literally just open a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, mix it with the chicken, and heat it up!

Chicken Tetrazzini

No time to cook

No time to cook? We’ve all had those times in our lives when we are literally just too busy to cook. As you can tell from the lack of posts that Melissa and I have done, this is one of those times for us.

No time to cook

Actually, it’s not that we aren’t cooking, we just aren’t cooking anything NEW! No matter how busy we get, we still don’t cave to 1-800-PIZZA-NOW. When we are in a pinch, we either make one of our tried and true recipes, or throw something together from our well stocked kitchen.

This week, I know that dinners (and making healthy lunches) are going to be a challenge. I am having a huge event at my children’s school Friday night that will require me to be gone almost all day, everyday leading up to it.

This is one of those times that I am not upset being called “Type A” as I think it will serve me, and my family well. Here’s my game plan….

School Lunches

First of all, have you done the online ordering from the deli at your local Publix yet? If not, it’s a game changer! I don’t like waiting in line and would purposely avoid the store at certain times if I needed deli meat because it was such a cluster. Not anymore! Order whatever you want online and put in the time you want to pick it up. When you arrive, voila! It’s right there waiting for you! (No…Publix didn’t pay me to say that, either). Anyway, I ordered all of my meat and cheese and picked up a few other things for the week on Sunday. I came home and cut, portioned and bagged fruit, hummus, chips, and anything else I could think of to make the school lunch situation easier for me this week (I am anticipating exhaustion by Thursday). All that is left to do is to make the sandwiches and fill the lunch boxes with the prepared bags.

Dinner

On Saturday, I made my menu for the week. It’s a rough menu since there are lots of unknowns and I know things will change, but at least I got something down on paper. I made my chili knowing that Sunday was not going to be a great day for me to cook. We had that on Sunday with enough for leftovers on Tuesday. Today is carnitas day. SUCH a great recipe when you really have no more than 5 minutes to prep for a meal!! This will double as leftovers for either the kids’ lunches later in the week and/or another dinner (whatever is left will be frozen for another time). The plan is to do a spicy roasted chicken on Wednesday since I can easily prep the sides while the bird is cooking and Thursday is clearly going to be “leftover/fend for yourself night.” The rest of the week and weekend is followed by a 3 day “cooking break” and then it’s back to bringing you new and amazing dishes for you and your family to enjoy!

The Best School Lunches

Turkey and cheese roll up

It’s that time of year again in the South. School starts back for several districts today. Although I obviously love to cook, I have to admit that I could do without making school lunches everyday. However, I love my kids too much to make them eat the food at their particular school. It should surprise no one that my kids don’t often bring a PB&J or plain ham and cheese sandwiches. I try to mix it up and make it fun. I asked my kids what they thought the best schools lunches were that I make. Here is the list from a 12 and 13 year old…

Turkey Roll Ups – These have become so popular that I often make two roll ups for each kid. One for them and one to share with their friends!

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Submarine Sandwiches – I usually just put meat, cheese, lettuce and olives directly on the sandwich. I pack sliced tomatoes and pickles separately so they don’t make the bread too soggy. Probably overkill, but hey…I don’t like soggy bread so why would I serve that to my kids?

Carnitas

Pasta Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

Pasta (with butter or marinara) 

Soup 

Chicken Cesar Salad – Pack the dressing separately and let your child add it when it’s time to eat. 

Peanut Butter Sandwich – When I pack this, the kids know one of 3 things: 1) I need to go to the store 2) I’m exhausted 3) I just need a break from packing lunch

Leftovers from Dinner – Over the past 2 years, this has become a favorite. I usually know in advance if the kids will want leftovers in their lunch so I just make a bit more. Win-Win for everyone!

TIME SAVING TIPS:

  • On Sundays, portion out snack bags of chips/pantry items for the week to save time on busy mornings.
  • The night before, put cut fruit in plastic containers and other cold items in appropriate bags or containers (meats, dressings, veggies, etc).
  • Leave a small space in your refrigerator to put all lunch items the night before so you don’t have to scramble in the morning looking for what you need.
  • If you want real convenience, you can buy individual packs of ranch dressing, peanut butter and petite dill pickles.

 

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!!)

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