Tag Archives: party recipes

Mummy Dogs, Clementine Pumpkins and More Easy Kid’s Halloween Recipes

29 Oct

We love Halloween around here and like to do a glorified Halloween playdate for the little man and his friends.

This post comes at a time when I am really pressed between my teaching, my son’s many activities, and just trying to keep the house on this side of utter chaos, so it will be quick and easy, just like these recipes.

First up, the easiest:

Clementine Pumpkins:

So, so cute

So, so cute

Peel a bunch of clementines, Trim a celery stalk into stem-sized sticks. Jam the sticks into the clementines as if they were stems and you’re done. (“No one is going to eat them, Mom”says the little guy. “They are too healthy.” but they disappeared off the plate in coos of “How cute” and “I love clementines” and now the little man is eating…his words!)

Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon:

Set a saucepan of apple cider to low or medium low until warm. Ladle into mugs, sprinkle with cinnamon and use cinnamon sticks (medium length) as stirrers. Nice with a splash of cranberry juice too.

Apple Cider Refresher Cocktail

A refreshing, not-too-sweet, low-alcohol fizzy cocktail!

A refreshing, not-too-sweet, low-alcohol fizzy cocktail!


In a champagne flute pour one part prosecco to one part apple cider. Top with cinnamon.

Tina’s Witchy Oreos

Thanks for this one, Tina Christiansen!

Thanks for this one, Tina Christiansen!

Take Oreo cookies and top with a Hershey’s Kiss. You can use frosting to make them stick.

Nutella Sandwiches

They were pretty cute! The kids liked the chocolate chips the best,

They were pretty cute! The kids liked the chocolate chips the best,

Spread thinly cut white bread with Nutella (add raspberries if you like). Top with another slice of white bread and for extra fun, use a Halloween themed cookie cutter to cut them into shapes. then use tiny chocolate chips for eyes,noses and mouths. Try not to eat all the cut off bits smeared with Nutella.

AND the most challenging (and still very easy)

Hot Dog Mummies

Preheat oven to 375 ºF

The Pillsbury photos show a much tidier assembly, but my mess worked just fine and the kids thought they were cool!

The Pillsbury photos show a much tidier assembly, but my mess worked just fine and the kids thought they were cool!

Be prepared with 10 hot dogs and dry them off as best you can. Moisture gums up the works a bit.


Into the oven you go, my pretties!

Into the oven you go, my pretties!

Take one tube of Pillsbury Crescent Dough and roll it out, pressing the perforations together. Take a pizza slicer and slice into thin strips (1/8 – 1/4″). Working quickly, wrap 3-4 strips around each hot dog, leaving space for eyes. Place them on an ungreased baking sheet and spray the tops with a bit of cooking spray.

Bake for 13-17 minutes until pastry is golden brown. Dot mustard or ketchup for the eyes and serve.



What I made for the grown-ups…more on this later!

Stuffed pumpkin!

Stuffed pumpkin!





Make Your Party Puerto Rican: Ten Recipes for Great Island Food

24 May

Whether it’s Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Christmas, the following dishes – most of them quite easy to prepare and using ingredients available in regular supermarkets (especially those that carry Goya products) — are a medley of the best of Puerto Rican food. This is not a complete list, of course, but mix and match them up and you will have a big table of big, bold food that will introduce everyone to new flavor combinations without scaring them off!

Have a terrific weekend everyone! Buen provecho…..

1. Tostones – Our version of french fries…made with plantains. This is the authentic method with some secret steps!

Serve these as an appetizer, topped with sour cream and caviar (Thanks Patricia Wilson!), a garlic mojo, or in mayo-ketchup, as follows

Serve these as an appetizer, topped with sour cream and caviar (Thanks Patricia Wilson!), a garlic mojo, or in mayo-ketchup, as follows

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We Make You Look Good: Mussels Vinaigrette, Spanish-Style Tapas, Party Snacks

24 Jul

Some things are worth repeating.

Full disclosure: I have posted a close relative of this recipe before. That was a long time ago, the early days of this blog, and  this is slightly tweaked, plus the photos are new (since I made it again for a visit from my sister-in-law and niece).

Mussels Vinaigrette (make ahead!)

They are still the best damn mussels I have ever had and you should know about them, because they are also extremely easy to prepare and can be made the night before any big affair. (Washing out the shells takes a bit of time, but it is satisfying and mindless work that can be done while sipping a glass of something and chatting companionably with whomever is around).

Served cold and slurped right from the shell, they are a stupendous appetizer in looks and flavor. Want to impress? These are your bad boys.

Mejillones a la Vinagreta (Mussels Vinaigrette). Make Ahead!

(serves 4-6 as an appetizer. For more guests, double the mussels, but just half again of everything else)

1/2 cup olive oil

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

heaping Tbs small capers

2 Tbsp minced red onion

1 Tbs minced roasted red peppers (you can also use jarred pimientos, the sweet kind)

1 Tbs minced parsley

pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper

2 lbs mussels in their shells

1 slice lemon

Whisk the oil and vinegar together, then add the capers, onion, peppers, parsley, salt and pepper. Put the mix into a large freezer bag (if you need this dish to be portable)

Boil one cup of water in a big pot with the lemon slice. Add the mussels and bring to a boil, covered. Pluck out the mussels when they open (waiting until the meat separates completely from the shell into a little sausage shape and then pulling out immediately) and put in a separate bowl to cool. Discard any mussels that do not open after ten minutes. Remove the mussel meat and put into plastic bag with the seasonings and refrigerate.

Save half the mussels shells and clean well (this is the tedious part; make sure you have good music on). Put in a plastic bag and refrigerate.

To serve the next day, arrange shells on an attractive and large platter and put one mussel in each. Spoon the remaining seasoning over each.

Party Snacks: Devilishly Good Stuffed/Deviled Eggs

3 Jul

One of the keys to a good summer dinner party is to have plenty of cold (make ahead) dishes that will delight your guests, give them a chance to ease into the party and buy you time to serve drinks and get the grilled stuff on the table.

This is the first of several posts that will help you set up a beautiful and tasty cold appetizer table (with wonderful leftovers).

Deviled eggs may sound like a throwback to the days of dubious casseroles, mystery meat and hallucinogenically-colored gelatin dishes with — oh God — marshmallows, but please reconsider. Stuffed eggs have an illustrious history, have been popular since Ancient Roman days (at least according to www.devilledeggs.com) and were served in 13th century Andalusia, Spain.

So, we’re talking — not bad 70s potluck fare — but classic tapas of the highest order. That they are finger food only adds to their charm; I believe hands-on food brings guests closer and requires less fuss in setting the table.

My stuffed eggs are very simple to make and always disappear very quickly from the buffet table. Rather than incorporate hot pepper into the creamy center, I like to add a dab of sriracha hot pepper sauce to the top of half the stuffed eggs (so those who don’t like spice can enjoy them also).

Top up these tapas with hot sauce….

Devilishly Good Stuffed Eggs (makes 12-14 servings)

6-7 fresh eggs

3 Tbs prepared mayonnaise

1-2 Tbs nonfat plain yogurt

2 tsp prepared mustard

1 tsp minced parsley leaves

Salt to taste (not usually necessary because of the mayo and mustard)

Sriracha, if desired, or several pinches of ground cayenne pepper

Perfect hard-boiled eggs. Place eggs in saucepan with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil,  and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover  for ten minutes. Drain and place in ice water until cool.

When eggs are cool, peel and slice in half. Pop out yolks into a large bowl, placing whites on a serving tray. To the bowl add mayo, yogurt, mustard and parsley and mash into a creamy paste. Place in a ziplock bag, jamming into one corner. Snip off the corner point and squeeze into the holes of the egg whites (as if you were icing a cake; my son enjoys helping with this). Apply one dab of sriracha to each egg if desired or garnish with pinches of cayenne.

Serve with dry white wine, dry rosé (from Long Island!) or a dry sparkler.

Super Bowl: Yuca en Escabeche- a bold alternative to potato salad

5 Feb

I’ve got nothing against potato salad; in fact, it is a big favorite of mine for summer barbecues, church functions, Christmas buffets or midnight raids on the leftovers.

But Game Day calls for a more assertive strategy: yuca en escabeche (or, as my friends and family know and love it: yuca salad) is the clear winner for full flavor, honking big texture, great colors and the ability to stand up to spicy wings and ribs. It has the heft to defend against the beer and alcohol blitz of Super Bowl Sunday, but is not so exotic looking or smelling as to scare off cautious diners. And of course it makes for more interesting conversation amongst those who are only really there for the food and the commercials.

The colors are very appealing

The colors are very appealing

Yuca (Manihot esculenta) is a rough-skinned root vegetable native to Brazil. It is also known as cassava, manioc and mandioca. The bitter kind has a poison that native Americans from the Caribbean on down used to tip their hunting arrows with back in the day. We’re not serving that kind. In fact, I have never seen it (although that is exactly the type that gets made into bland tapioca – go figure). Up here we get the sweet kind that simply needs to be peeled and boiled to share its goodness (just don’t eat it raw).

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