Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dinner Party Recipes

Below are the recipes I used for my dinner party, along with my notes and pics. Hope you get to try some! If you do, leave me a comment! Sorry in advance for the messiness of the post!!


Cucumber Cups Stuffed with Spicy Crab
3 long cucumbers
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup crab meat, excess water removed
1 tsp hot pepper sauce (Tabasco or tapito)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp brown mustard
1 tbs minced green onion
Remove the peel from the cucumbers using a vegetable peeler. Cut the cucumber into 2 inch slices. Using a small melon baller, scoop out most of the inside. You want to leave the walls and a thick portion of the bottom intact.
In a bowl, combine the sour cream and the cream cheese with a fork until well combined. add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Fill each of the cucumber cups with the crab dip. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve within 2 hours of making.
It was actually SUPER easy to make the little cucumber cups. I recommend getting skinny cucumbers that are fairly uniform in size. Some of the thicker pieces were difficult to eat. 

Goat Cheese and Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms
I am SO sorry but I can't remember where I got this recipe from! Just know I did NOT make it up!
1 carton stuffing mushrooms (I doubled the recipe)-washed and stems removed (although save 1/3 of the stems, dice them, and use for stuffing)
4 oz goat cheese (I used 1 plain and one garlic and herb goat cheese)
2 oz cream cheese
2 oz pancetta (or bacon bits)
3 cloves garlic, minced
bread crumbs
Saute the garlic and diced stems in olive oil until cooked. Put in a separate bowl and when cool, add the pancetta (cook it if need be). Then mix in the goat cheese. If you use all plain goat cheese, you may want to season with salt and pepper. Stuff mushrooms and then sprinkle bread crumbs on each. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. They are delicious!!!


I might suggest cooking these on a tray that is both a serving tray AND a cooking tray (like Wilton Armetale). I did mine on a baking sheet and some spilled a bit. Plus, it was hard to scoop them from one tray to the next! Just save yourself a step!!
Salad: Dole Cherry Almond Spinach Salad (I was actually less than impressed-the dressing was totally blah--I should have made my own.
Bread: Pepperidge Farm 5 cheese bread
This was VERY easy and made for a great presentation on the plate. I loved having the red next to all of the other colors! 
I sort of modified her recipe, so below is what I did.
3 cartons of grape tomatoes
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Pour tomatoes onto a roasting pan with high sides. Then add olive oil table spoon by tablespoon until you get them coated (you don't want them swimming, just oily enough so the seasoning will stick). Then sprinkle on salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir with a spatula to cover in oil and seasonings! 
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes! Serve warm or cool, however you like best. 

Pioneers Woman Twice Baked Potatoes
The Cast of Characters: Potatoes, Butter, Sour Cream, Cheddar/Jack Cheese, Bacon Bits, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, Black Pepper, milk (if necessary) and Green Onion (optional).
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Wash, then place eight baking potatoes on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour, 15 minutes, making sure they’re sufficiently cooked through.
Now begin slicing two sticks of butter into pats until they are all sliced, and put into a bowl. Then add one cup of bacon bits and 1 cup sour cream. 
Now, the potatoes are all done. The reason you bake them "naked" is so the skin will be nice and firm—and strong enough to hold the filling later. Within a few minutes after you remove the baked potatoes from the oven, you need to begin scraping them out.
Then use a sharp serrated knife to cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle, leaving a thin layer of potato on the sides and bottom. Put the potato in the bowl with the other ingredients and smash them together with a potato masher. Then add one cup of the cheddar cheese and mix in with the rest of the potato mixture. At this time, you can add the sliced green onion, however much you want. Also add salt and pepper to taste. 
Put the filling in the potato shells and place on a baking sheet. Top with more cheese and cook for 15-20 min on 350 until warm throughout.
I thought these were delicious, although in no way healthy for you. BUT, if you are going to eat twice baked potatoes, you aren't going for healthy, are you? I did the potatoes on Thursday night and just heated them up on Saturday before dinner. EASY!!!

Meat: Allen Brothers Tenderloin (OMG delicious)
I modified this a little too, but it was very easy!
4 oz gorgonzola cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper
Bring the heavy cream to a boil and let boil for 45-50 minutes. Then melt the cheeses into it and add the seasoning and parsley. Serve warm. 
I chose this cake basically because it looked amazing. I was terrified of making a cheese cake for some reason, but it actually was really easy. You are going to want to make sure you have flat space in your freezer because this recipe requires freezing of the layers. 
Red Velvet Cheesecake

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yield: 11-13 pieces

Crust Ingredients:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

Ganache Ingredients:
3/4 cups heavy cream
10 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used half semisweet and half bittersweet)

Cake Ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 ounce red food coloring

Filling Ingredients:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Decorative Toppings (optional):
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
white chocolate for drizzling

Note on cheesecake making: Cheesecakes are simple and super customizable. New to cheesecake making? Watch my 6 minute Cheesecake Video Tutorial for visual assistance!

Note on scheduling: This cake is easily separated into two days of preparation, and can be prepared ahead of time. On day one, prepare the red velvet cake, cool it, and freeze it. On day two, prepare the cheesecake. You can then assemble and decorate right away, or leave this for day three.
The Oreo crust was very easy to make! I used double stuffed cookies. Make sure to coat the bottom of the pan very well, as my crust got stuck. Also, you want to make sure the crust is even up the sides of the pan (unlike mine) so it looks better!
She's right! I made the red velvet cake and cheese cake on Thursday and just assembled it all on Saturday. It made everything so much quicker!

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and the sides of an 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides to make it easier to lift the cake out of the pan when it’s done. Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs. Make a paste of the cocoa and coloring and add to the shortening mixture. Add salt and vanilla. Add buttermilk alternately with the flour, beginning and ending with flour. Mix vinegar and soda right before using and add to mixture by folding in. Pour batter into the cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely, cover in wax paper, and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm. 

Make the cheesecake: To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet. Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides). 

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed. Pour 1 – 1.5 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust. Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating. 

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended. Beat in the flour. Add in the vanilla and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.

Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.

Assemble topping: Whip room temperature ganache to create a fluffy texture perfect for piping. In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar to make a small amount of cream cheese frosting for decorating. 
I ended up frosting the entire red velvet cake, top and bottom, with the cream cheese frosting and then adding the chocolate ganache on top. I think this was yummy because it gave another creamy layer to the cake!

Assemble the cheesecake: Wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides. Carefully remove the springform. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Here, you can schmear some ganache on the cheesecake to help the red velvet cake adhere. I didn’t, but it’s a good idea. Then place your red velvet cake layer on top of cheesecake (right side up). Decorate top of cake with drizzled white chocolate, piped cream cheese frosting, whipped ganache, and strawberries.
After frosting the red velvet layer

The cheese cake right out of the oven. Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect-you are covering it up!

Forrest actually did the ganache layer. I was too afraid!

A slice! doesn't that look amazing?? It is!


  1. All of that looks so incredible, I just ate lunch and yet I am sitting here hungry again, just reading!

    Also, for the mushrooms -- next time try putting them on parchment paper on the baking sheet. That way you don't have to bake them in your serving dish, but they won't stick at all! I love parchment paper! :)

  2. Ooo good idea! I love parchment paper too, I just never thought about that!!!


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