Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Game Night

In January Alisha hosted a fabulous game night dinner for the whole group.  These fun invitations were delivered to our doors and we got extra points for completing them and bringing them with us to the party.

There was a scrabble tile banner and other decorative touches that set the tone for a fun night!

The place settings were perfectly coordinated to the theme with 
Scrabble tiles for place cards,  a score card for the evening, and some marbles on each plate.

The centerpiece was a giant sized chess board.  So fun and creative! 

We even got to play a few games during the course of the evening.  It was a great opportunity to get to know each other better.

The menu was a word search and we were all racing trying to figure out what sorts of deliciousness was in store for us! 

Buffalo Chicken Dip, Bleu Cheese Turkey Meatballs, Antipasti Bites, Rosy Cranberry Cider

Savory Spinach Bites, Garlic Mushroom Bruschetta, Mushroom Pizza Bites

Our host Alisha and her helper and daughter Reevkah

Kale Pomegranate Salad

Creamy Lemon Chicken Alfredo and Breadsticks on Skewers, a fun twist! 

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes, Mini Peanut Butter Pot de Creme and Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Carmel Frosting.

Top Row:  Mandy, Tori, Katie, Holly, Carrie, Tara (came for Tanya who couldn't make it), Alisha
Bottom Row:  Emily, Corinne, Alyssa, GG, Brenda, Brittany
This was Holly and Tori's last time with us and we will miss their yummy and beautiful dinners but much more having them with us!!

At the end of the night there were prizes for the winners of all the games that took place.  Such a fun treat!  Our take homes also fit the game night theme perfectly,  a marble necklace and some yummy cookies! 

*Ingredients with an asterisk are Wildtree Food Products

Rosy Cranberry Cider
serves 12
3 Quarts Cranberry Raspberry 100% Fruit Juice Blend (Costco)
4 Clementine Oranges
4 Cinnamon Sticks
*2 TBSP WT Mulling Spices (wrapped in cheesecloth or coffee filter, tied with thread)
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
In a medium stockpot, combine cranberry juice, cinnamon sticks, mulling spices, and ginger. Zest Clementine oranges into pot.  Cut Clementine oranges in half and squeeze juice into pot.  Heat over medium-high heat until simmering. Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes. Strain, and discard solids. Serve hot.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
serves 12
2 cups cooked chicken
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup red onion, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
*4 TBSP Blazin' Buffalo Blend
Stir all ingredients together and bake in a casserole dish at 350F for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve with your favorite Tortilla Chips or it's great with celery.

Savory Spinach Dip
serves 12
17 oz. artichokes, drained and chopped
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
*2 TBSP Savory Spinach Dip Blend
*1 TBSP Garlic Galore
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup Italian cheese blend (parmesan, mozzarella, whatever you like)
Stir all ingredients together, sprinkle with kosher salt, and bake in a casserole dish at 350F for about 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve with crackers, pita chips, vegetables, or use as a filling for stuffed mushrooms.

Bleu Cheese Turkey Meatballs
serves 5 as dinner, serves 12 as appetizers
1 lb. ground turkey
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 TBSP red onion, minced
*2 TBSP Blazin' Buffalo Blend
*1 TBSP Garlic Galore Seasoning
1/3 Cup Bleu Cheese Crumbles

Combine all ingredients except the bleu cheese together in a bowl. Divide into 25 equal pieces.  For each meatball, roughly form a ball, then place a few crumbels of bleu cheese in the center, then push the cheese to the center so it's covered by meat on all sides, and shape into a round ball.  Arrange meatballs on a greased cookie sheet or Silpat.  Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.  Serve as an appetizer with Buffalo Sauce, or on a sub sandwich for dinner.

Buffalo Sauce:
8 T. Franks Buffalo or regular Hot sauce
8 T. Butter
1 Garlic, minced
2 T. Rice wine vinegar
Dash of Worcestershire
Salt, pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on medium for five minutes.  Pour over meatballs.

Mushroom Pizza Bites
serves 12
12 mushrooms
1 cup pizza sauce
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c sliced black olives
12 slices pepperoni

Wash mushrooms and remove stems. Fill mushrooms with pizza sauce, cheese, olives, and top with a slice of pepperoni.  Place on a greased baking sheet or Silpat.
Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and browned.  Serve warm.
(Use large portabella mushrooms for a dinner size option.)

Antipasti Bites
serves 12
12 slices salami
4 oz. diced cheeses, variety
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Press salami slices down on back of inverted muffin cups in a muffin tin.
Bake 400F for approx. 10 minutes until salami is crisp
Transfer to a plate to cool
Mix all other ingredients together and spoon into salami cups to serve

Garlic Mushroom Bruschetta
serves 6
2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
*1-2 TBSP roasted garlic grapeseed oil
3 torta rolls, sliced in half
generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper
Heat a frying pan over a high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds, then throw in the sliced mushrooms.  Fry the mushrooms until they are soft.
While the mushrooms are cooking, drizzle the sliced rolls with a little oil and toast under a hot grill or on a griddle pan, until golden.
Place a generous amount of garlic mushrooms on each toast and season with sea salt and ground black pepper.

Kale Pomegranate Salad
serves 6
3 cups baby kale, washed and thinly sliced
2 cups baby spinach, washed and thinly sliced
1 cup romaine lettuce, washed and thinly sliced
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup wild rice (cooked and cooled) ????
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup feta cheese
Toss altogether, drizzle with your favorite salad dressing, and serve
Breadsticks on Skewers
makes 16
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 TBSP dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
Stir together in a small bowl and let set for 5 minutes so yeast can activate.  Should be foamy on top.
In a stand mixer:
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
Pour yeast/water mixture slowly over flour, while mixing on low
Knead 5 minutes on low
Divide dough into 16 even chunks and roll each out into a long snake
Wrap each around a 12" skewer (or longer)
Rest on the top edge of a 9x13 pan and let breadsticks rise for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 450F

Stir together:
4 TBSP melted butter
*1 TBSP Everything Spice
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Brush over breadsticks before baking
Fill a cookie sheet with water and place on lowest rack in oven
Bake breadsticks for 15 minutes at 450F
(half-way through bake time, brush more melted butter on breadsticks)

Creamy Lemon Chicken
Serves 12
4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*2-3 tsp Herbes e Provence
*1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
*4 TBSP Zesty Lemon Grapeseed Oil
2 cups chicken broth
zest of 2 lemons
1 TBSP lemon juice
(add up to 1/2 cup heavy cream for richer sauce)

Rinse chicken, pat dry.
Slice into thin strips and then in half again. 
Sprinkle with Herbes de Provence & Cajun. 

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken on both sides (approx 1-minute per side)
Add chicken broth and simmer just until chicken is cooked through, 1-2 minutes.
Remove chicken from broth and set aside, covered to keep it warm.

(Meanwhile, Boil  fettuccini noodles, according to package directions.)

Allow chicken broth to simmer and reduce down for a few more minutes
Add Alfredo Sauce (recipe below) and lemon zest to skillet. 
Simmer 10-12 minutes or until sauce has reduced to desired consistency.
Stir in lemon juice and heavy cream (optional) and add chicken back to sauce.

Serve over Fettuccine.

Alfredo Sauce:
2 cups milk
6 oz. cream cheese
4 TBSP flour
2 tsp kosher salt
2 TBSP butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a blender, blend the milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt until smooth

In a large saucepan, melt butter on medium-high heat and add garlic 
Sauté for 30 seconds, stirring constantly  

Add the milk mixture to the pan

Stir constantly for 5 minutes, or until it comes to a simmer

Whisk the cheese into the sauce, stir until smooth

Add to the chicken broth mixture in the skillet and follow rest of the recipe (above)

Mini Cherry Cheesecake
makes 24 in a Demarle mini-muffin pan
1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed
1 cube butter, melted
Stir together until well combined
Scoop 1 TBSP of mixture into each mini muffin spot
Press down evenly using a rounder or other kitchen tool
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, just until the crusts are browned
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatine
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
Mix gelatin and sugar in a small bowl.  Add boiling water.  Stir 5 minutes or until gelatin is completely dissolved.
Beat cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy.  Gradually add gelatine mixture, beating until well blended after each addition.  Refrigerate 45 minutes or until thickened, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Scoop 1/4 cup filling over each of the mini crusts in pan
Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Store in refrigerator

2 lbs dark cherries, pitted
1/4 sugar
1/4 lemon juice
1/2 TBSP powdered gelatine
Place 1/2 lb cherries in blender and pulse with lemon juice and sugar
Pour 1/2 cup cherry puree into a small saucepan, sprinkle with gelatine and let it sit 10 min.
When gelatine is bloomed, place over medium to high heat and stir until dissolved.
Combine cherry gelatin mixture, reserved cherry puree, and whole cherries.
Spoon over mini cheesecakes, about 2-3 cherries per cheesecake.
Chill until firm, approx 3 hours

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pot de Creme
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 egg
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
Place the peanut butter and chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolks; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, milk, and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, whisking to dissolve all of the sugar.
Remove from heat.
In a very slow, steady stream, whisk half of the cream mixture into the eggs. Be sure to whisk constantly and pour slowly to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once combined, whisk in the remaining cream mixture.
Pour the mixture over the peanut butter and chocolate.
Let sit for 3 to 4 minutes, then gently whisk until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.

Divide the custard between 12 (3-ounce) ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting pan. Pull out the oven rack and place the pan in the center of the rack. Carefully fill the pan with enough water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins, being cautious not to splash or spill water on top of the custard. Place a piece of foil over the tops of the custard cups. You may need to cut it to fit inside the pan to lay on top of the ramekins.
Bake for  50-55 minutes, or until only a small circle in the center is still liquid.
Carefully remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for about 45 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours.
Once cooled, you can garnish with ganache, whipped cream, and/or mini peanut butter cookies.

Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 24
1 devils food cake mix
1 (4 serving) box instant chocolate pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Fill muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.  Pre-heat oven to 325F
Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl
 Blend with electric mixer 1 minute.  Stir down sides.  Continue to mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes Stir in chocolate chips
Scoop 1/2 cup batter into each cupcake liner
Bake 25-28 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean
Cool 20 minutes (or more) and then frost
Caramel Frosting
2 cups whipping cream (whipped), set aside
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. caramel extract*
1 1/3 cup brown sugar

Beat cream cheese, vanilla, extract, and brown sugar until smooth
Fold in the whipping cream
Refrigerate until ready to use
(*you can omit the extract if you don't have it--the frosting is still delicious without it.)