Let me Entertain You: Simple recipes to feed a crowd

Entertaining is fabulous, something I absolutely love to do and cook for! I was recently asked by a friend,what to serve for a party – she didn’t exactly want to serve dinner, but wanted hearty enough appetizers, as the party was going to be held from 6-9pm .

Below is a list of hearty, simple recipes I’ve made in the past to entertain. I always try to have an array of foods, with different flavors, shapes and sizes, so the spread is aesthetically pleasing as well as delicious.

Happy entertaining!

White cannellini bean & Garlic dip

1 can of cannellini beans
2-3 cloves of garlic
Juice from Lemon wedge
Salt, Pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp of olive oil (try a walnut oil, will add a ton of good flavor)
Parsley, chopped, for garnish

  • Blend all together in blender or food processor, serve with pita chips.

Caprese & Pesto Toasts

Loaf of crusty bread (Baguette would work best), cut into slices
Fresh Mozzarella balls, sliced thinly
Bush loafs with a tiny bit of olive oil & toast at 350 for 5-8 minutes
Once toasted, brush with pesto, top with a slice of mozzarella & a halve of cherry tomato

Home made pesto

Handful of basil leafs, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese, 2-3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts – blend in a food processor

 

Homemade pita chips

Pack of whole wheat tortilla wraps (the smaller ones)
1 tblsp of olive oil

Use a pizza cutter to slice into 4 pizza size slices – brush (lightly!) with olive oil. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until crisp.

 

Guacamole Mouse with a pepper salsa

1 large has avocado
1 lime
½ red onion
3-4 garlic cloves
olive oil
Tomato, diced
Green pepper diced
Red pepper diced
Kernels from a corn on the cob, cut off

Put whole avocado, half of a lime (juice) 2 garlic cloves, 2-3 tablespoons of veggie broth in a blender – whip! Scrape into a bowl.
Sauté red onion in a bit of garlic for 3-5 minutes, add peppers & corn. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, until peppers are a bit soft. Put into a bowl & add tomatoes. Serve side by side with tortilla chips.

Panzella Salad  

Summer Panzella salad
3 tomatoes cut into chunks
8 stalks of asparagus
2 tablespoons of capers
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1//2 loaf of bread (I’ve used sour dough in the past)
1 teaspoon Oregano & Italian seasonings

Cut bread into crouton sized pieces, toss in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil & seasonings – bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Put into a bowl and cover – do not refrigerate.

Grill or broil asparagus – cut into ½ inch pieces
Put tomatoes, capers, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, balsamic, asparagus more of the seasonings in a big bowl. Mix together and put in the fridge.

Right before you serve, mix bread in with the wet mixture. Serve immediately.

 

White Pizza with Roasted Broccoli

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Truffle Oil
½ head of broccoli chopped
4-5 leaves of basil
1 cup of ricotta cheese
Italian Seasonings
2-4 tablespoons of Romano cheese
Buy a pizza crust or frozen pizza dough – Sprouts has them in the freezer section

Toss broccoli in 2 tablespoons of oil and minced garlic – roast at 350 for 10-12 minutes, stir halfway through.
Roll out dough, brush with a bit of oil. Mix ricotta & Italian seasonings together then spread onto pizza crust. Mince basil, and sprinkle onto ricotta. Put broccoli mixture on top of the crust, sprinkle with Romano cheese & bake as directed. Slice into extremely thin slices (once cooled off) and serve.

Breakfast Crepes filled with smoked cheddar & asparagus scramble and

The World Cup has been raging strong at our household and it’s been extremely exciting to watch! Now, we don’t have cable (I’ll wait until everyone catches their breathe) but we’ve able to stream it through our Roku…have been hanging on every kick!

So, this past Saturday my sister, brother-in law, Mike and I gathered in our newly renovated kitchen/family room to watch the game and eat some good grub.

I was feeling inspired by the Argentine spirit, plus always like to pull out the big guns when company is over, so made Argentine-style breakfast.   After we filled up, we headed to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival to jam out with some Soul School (who were amazing!). Hope you had a Happy 4th of July!

Egg Scramble

 Breakfast Crepes filled with smoked Cheddar & asparagus Scramble

I served these with sweet potato & onion hash browns – simply diced up a sweet potato & 1/3 of an onion & sauteed in garlic.  Delicious!

Crepes

1 cup of whole wheat flour

1/2 cup of almond milk

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix all ingredients together, butter being last, until lumps are out. Take 1/4 cup and scoop out the batter onto a heated skillet  (melt some butter in the skillet first). Spread the batter thinly in the pan – cook on medium for 2-4 minutes a side, then flip

Crepes

Egg Scramble

A handful of fresh asparagus, chopped

4 chunks of smoked cheddar, sliced in bitty pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 eggs

a splash of coconut milk

1/4 of a small onion, minced

Heat oil, onion & garlic in a skillet for three to six minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for another 3-4 minutes, mixing frequently. In a separate bowl, mix eggs and coconut milk. Add mixed eggs to veggies – mix so egg scrambles slowly. When almost done, add the green onion & cheese. Stuff crepes with egg scramble & top with tomato & avocado.

Happy Breakfast!

 

Cherry Creek Arts Festival

 (This is my sister and I at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival!)

California Dreamin’

Sunshine, Palm trees, and the Pacific Ocean. Ahhhh, California! Being an east coaster all my life (until now!) the elusive west coast seemed so glamorous, such a destination. Well, it still is and recently Mike and I headed to the west coast for some California dreamin’…mixed in with some work.

San Francisco

Just a two hour and forty minute flight and we were there. San Francisco! We hopped in our Jeep (splurged on an upgrade!) and headed North to Sonoma. Through the fog, over the Golden Gate Bridge, into the sunshine of wine country.

California sunshine

Our friends from Downingtown (the town we grew up in) live in a little town just north of Sonoma, in a cute little house with lots of charm. And they are in the business of wine. Kieran makes a beautiful Syrah, crafted over years of studying with the wine masters, living in France for a stint, and genuinely a love of the wine process. Needless to say, we were in good hands!

We arrived, poured delightful red into our goblets and settled in. The night brought us to the Girl and the Fig, a quaint corner pub in Sonoma with gorgeous food in a wonderfully warm atmosphere. Fig & arugula salad, California white fish and a light Pinot. We were in heaven!

Nappa valley

The next day, after a hearty breakfast made by our fabulous hostess, Kieran, Mike and I piled in the jeep and headed into the heart of Nappa. Beautiful rolling hills, fields of grape vines basking in the heat, breathtaking villas.

Sonoma grapes

Our journey ended at Jericho Canyon, the winery Kieran works, and it couldn’t have been a more beautiful start. We were given a private tour, and got to sip a 2007 cab under a huge California oak tree. What a way to spend an afternoon!

Wine country

After our fill of Jericho, we headed into Yountville to Cornerstone Cellars. Ahhhh air conditioning! We had our tasting, coupled with fabulous conversation. We followed our winery tour with a stop to the Nappa Valley museum, where our hostess sat at the Director’s seat. Art, cheese, and of course more wine. The day was quintessential Nappa, anything and everything I ever thought it would be.

That evening we joined our host & hostess and their friends at a recently opened restaurant, Aventine Glen Ellen. Delightful Italian with a heavy reliance on seafood. Orecchiette with clams in a white wine sauce with hot pepper. A beautiful night, with new & old California friends, cool breezes and all the delectables a pallet could want. A perfect California evening.

Russian River Brewery

The next day, we headed to Russian River, where Pliny the Elder flowed. Although we waited in line (a bit pretentious, no?) Mike was in hog heaven…and the beer did taste quite delicious. Afterwards we walked to an amazing Puerto Rican restaurant (El Coqui) to round out the day.  Mike and I then bid adieu to wine country and headed to San Francisco, top down, music up.

Cruisin' in Cali

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco truly is a treat and while most of my time was spent at a work conference, Mike and I did get a fair share of the city. On our second night in the city, we headed to happy hour at the 21st Amendment for some Hell or High watermelon, then met our transient friends at Anchor & Hope, a lovely seafood restaurant in the heart of the city. It’s so nice to have friends scattered across the country, so when you travel you find familiar faces.

21st Amendment

 

Anchor & Hope

The last day of the conference, Belgium & the US played in the World Cup. Unfortunately, we lost the game, but it was a thrill to watch! My conference ended with ten minutes on the clock and the hotel bar howled with disappointment. Our mood wasn’t affected though, so the last few hours in this glorious city were spent down in Fisherman’s Wharf, eating at Scoma’s and taking in the bay.

Fisherman's wharf

Our four day California vacation was a whirlwind of gorgeous food, beautiful scenery and lovely people. Traveling is such a wonderful way to enrich your memories, increase your perspective. Use all the opportunities you can to explore your new surroundings…seize every chance to get out there and drink up life. Mike and I sure had our fill of this piece of the west coast, and now know why songs were written about California…

California

Happy traveling!

Easy roasted poblano pepper sauce

They say variety is the spice of life. I completely agree, especially when it comes to cooking. While Mike and I do not eat eat, we still have an amazing amount of variety in our diet. Think that’s mostly because I get sick of cooking the same things and he will pretty much eat whatever I put in front of him. So, we have some fun with our meals!

But, what if you’re drawing a blank? Have nothing in the fridge? Don’t feel like being creative after a 10 hour workday!?

Pepper sauce

Last weekend we went to Sonoma & San Francisco – half for play, half for work. Right before we left, I was using up all the food we had in the fridge and couldn’t seem to think of anything to do with the poblano, jalepeno and Anaheim pepper. You bet your beets I wasn’t going to throw them out. So, I threw them in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes, let them cool, then threw them in a freezer tight container. Then we hit the road!

Well, tonight I thawed those bad boys and made a fabulous pepper sauce to pair with amazing chili rellenos.

Roasted poblano pepper sauce

3-4 medium-hot peppers roasted (375 for 15 minutes)
1/3 cup of vegetable broth
Small handful of cilantro
Juice from two slices of lime

Workhardcookhard
Put all ingredients in a blender and enjoy – Work hard cook hard!

Salsa Verde Veggie Tacos

Old Town Arvada has a fabulous Farmer’s Market every Sunday. How lovely! To support your local community, support eating and growing natural fruits and veggies….well, it’s a win win. And Mike and I can bike there! This year, we’re unfortunately ill-prepared to grow our own food – with all the renovations with the house, we’ve not had time to focus on outside. Our yard will definitely be in a better place next year, so we’ll hopefully get most of our produce from our own back yard….but until then, you can find us at the Arvada Farmer’s Market on Sundays.

Arvada Farmer's Market

After loading up at the Farmer’s Market, we biked home and watched some soccer (the world cup has been pretty exciting, especially with the US!) and of course, do some cooking!

For lunch, I made homemade salsa verde and veggie tacos. Delicious!!

Salsa Verde  Veggie Tacos

Salsa Verde Veggie Tacos

Small handful of baby carrots, sliced in half
3 stalks of Kale
1 zucchini
5 Corn Tortillas
1 tablespoon of olive oil

 

Salsa Verde
1 Jalepeno pepper (if you don’t like spicy, you can leave this out)
Large handful of cilantro
2 garlic cloves2 lines
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Vegetable Broth

Wash kale & put in roasting pan with carrots, add a drizzle of olive oil. Put in toaster over with the whole jalepeno pepper and roast at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Add tortillas for the last 5 minutes, to toast a bit.

Saute zucchini in a bit of olive oil on the stove for 7-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash cilantro and add to blender/food processor. Add lime juice, garlic, oil, broth. When jalepeno is done roasting, add that as well. Mix until liquid.

When kale & carrots are roasted and zucchini is browned, remove tortillas and assemble veggies in the tortillas. Drizzle with the salsa verde.

Happy eating!