Carol Mackey, Entertaining Expert
½ ounce Cointreau or triple sec
3 oz. cranberry juice
Top off with Champagne or sparkling wine
Garnish with DIY tinsel drink stir or skewered cranberries
9 cups old fashion oats (not quick cook)
11/2 cups mix of sliced almonds, walnuts and raw pepitas
1 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup maple syrup
¼ cup honey
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit
*optional for holidays 1/2 cup crushed peppermint and 1/2 cup chopped milk chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, cinnamon and coconut.
In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, honey, vanilla and oil. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl, let cool. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed. Great mixed with plain yogurt or milk. You should get about five 2 cup servings.
Smoked Salmon Rollups
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbls. chives
1Tbls. Italian Flat leaf parsley
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbls. capers; coarsely chopped
fresh ground pepper & salt to taste
8 oz. cold smoked salmon
Fresh dill for garnish-optional
In a food processor pulse the above (first 8) ingredients.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumber into thin strips (blot cucumber dry using a paper towel.. Spread the smoked salmon spread onto each strip and roll up. Served chilled. Makes about 30. Garnish optional; dill sprig.
Good Luck Black-eyed Peas Casserole
5-6 slices bacon; cooked and crumbled
¼ cup onion, fine dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups rice; cooked in chicken stock (I like Jasmine)
Salt and pepper
3 cups chicken stock – for cooking the rice (plus extra for casserole, if needed)
4 cups collard greens, stems removed and thinly chopped
2 cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup sliced green onion
Add the chopped onion to a pan with a little olive oil and sauté for about 2 minutes to soften. Add collard greens, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes then add garlic. Add ½ cup water, let cook/saute covered until tender about 10 minutes.
Transfer rice and collard mixture to a large bowl and stir in the black-eyed peas and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese. If your mixture seems dry, add an extra 1/4 cup chicken stock.
Transfer to a 9 x 13 casserole dish, top with remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, remove foil, add crumbled bacon and green onions and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
You can prep this casserole ahead of time if you want and then just bake it when you're ready to eat. Serves 6-8.
Strawberries Stuffed with Mascarpone Cheese
stuffs about 28 strawberries
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese for a substitution), room temperature
1 tsps. lemon juice
½ tsps. vanilla
2 Tbls. powdered sugar
chocolate shavings for garnish
Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl until well blended.
With a sharp paring knife, cut off the leafy bottoms of the strawberries to create a flat base. Cut a deep cross in the tops of the strawberries, down through the tip but not completely through to the bottom. Place the cheese mixture into a piping bag with a star tip (I used a 1M tip). If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a quart sized zip lock and just cut off a corner so the tip fits snugly through that. Pipe the cheese mixture into the strawberries. With a coarse microplane or cheese grater, grate chocolate over the cheese stuffed strawberries. Place the strawberries on a serving platter and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Year End Review Questions
- One Word to Describe the Year
- Best Thing You Did for Someone Else this Year
- Favorite Movie
- Most Embarrassing Moment
- What Day would you want to Relive from Last Year
- Favorite Place you Visited
- An Achievement You are Proud of this past year
- Time you Laughed the Hardest
- What Advice would you give Yourself on January 1st of Last Year
- Favorite Food You Ate