I am back in Ohio again…to work a few days. Unfortunately. Home was so much fun. Think workouts and friends and family and shopping! But the highlight of my trip back home was, without a doubt, the dinner party I threw for some of my nearest and dearest friends and family on Wednesday night.
Thanks to Melt, I won $500 to throw a dinner party. And throw a dinner party did I. What was made and consumed on Wednesday cannot fit into one post…or even two (maybe 3). There was appetizers and salad and seafood and risotto, and of course…dessert. And wine. I can’t forget about the wine.
But let’s start with some of the appetizers. Two SUPER easy appetizers that any cooking inept individual could manage. Heck, these apps don’t even require cooking…just assembly, really. And then you can sit back and revel in the oooo’s and ahhh’s from your guests.
I mean, look at them! Those cute little penguins! Besides being my favorite animal (other than a special bulldog I know), these penguins are the perfect conversation piece to your next winter get-together.
Cream Cheese Penguins adapted from All Recipes
18 jumbo black olives, pitted
1/4 cup reduced-fat vegetable cream cheese, softened
18 small black olives
1 small carrot
Cut a slit from top to bottom, lengthwise, into the side of each jumbo olive. Carefully insert about 3/4 teaspoon of cream cheese into each olive. Slice the carrot into eighteen 1/4 inch thick rounds; cut a small notch out of each carrot slice to form feet. Save the cut out piece and press into center of small olive to form the beak. If necessary cut a small slit into each olive before inserting the beak.
Set a big olive, large hole side down, onto a carrot slice. Then, set a small olive onto the large olive, adjusting so that the beak, cream cheese chest and notch in the carrot slice line up. Secure with a toothpick. Yield: 18 penguins.
Nutrition Information (per penguin): 20 calories; 1.7 g. fat; 2 mg. cholesterol; 68 mg. sodium; 1 g. carbohydrate; 0.16 g. fiber; 0.28 g. protein
Result: Simple and ideal for the olive-lover! Plus, low-calorie! You can jazz up your cream cheese or keep it simple. Kids will likely go NUTS over these, but even our group of adults thought these were nothing short of “darling”! Enjoy!
The next appetizer is even simpler than the penguins. It requires about 30 seconds of time and produces one swanky appetizer that’s classy enough for any event.
While endive isn’t a vegetable I am real familiar with, it is readily available in most stores. Thanks to the Foodbuzz Taste Paviliion at this years’ Foodbuzz Festival, I recreated an idea to use endive as a scoop for crumbled goat cheese. Unlike lettuce, endive is sturdy and makes for the perfect transport of blue cheese into the mouth. And it’s really fun to look at!
Blue Cheese with Endive Scoops inspired by Foodbuzz Festival
2 heads of endive
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
Pull the leaves from the endive. Clean and dry.
Crumble blue cheese and arrange in a bowl or on a platter. Serve with endive. Yield: 8 servings (about 3 leaves and 1/2 ounce cheese each).
Nutrition Information (per serving): 54 calories; 4 g. fat; 10 mg. cholesterol; 160 mg. sodium; 1.5 g. carbohydrate; 0.3 g. fiber; 3 g. protein
Result: Simple, classy, and fun! This is a great way to impress guests with hardly any prep work. It is also perfect for the calorie and carb-conscious! Enjoy!
So, there. Just a taste of what went on last week at home. But I assure you, there’s more to come…stay tuned!
No real menu plan this week, but tonight I am making Turkey Jambalaya with turkey we froze from Thanksgiving. I may cook tomorrow night (no idea what…) but I’m thinking I might compromise by making baked potatoes and throwing some leftover chili over’em and calling it a day 😉
Rounds this week at the clinic, lots of baking to do, tons of gift-wrapping to finish, and I hear a treadmill screaming my name. It’ll be a short, quick, busy week!