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SUNSETS HAPPY HOUR! Easy Entertaining Ideas; Summer Charcuterie & Summer Sangria

  • Ahhhhh…Summertime!

Sunsets, cocktails, and little delicious bites. Here are a few quick ideas and entertaining tips to keep you out of the kitchen and enjoying your sunset guests!

how_to_make_a_legit_charcuterie_board_1Talk about simple! Try putting together a cheese tray or charcuterie board. It’s all about an arrangement of cheeses, fruits, meats (optional) nuts, dips and crackers or breads.Go to your local market and purchase a small assortment of your favorites or check out pinterest for ideas to copy! Pretty soon you will be starting a board of your own if you haven’t already!Add a little SUMMER SANGRIA to the party, and it’s hit!

SUMMER SANGRIA

summer sangria1 small carton of raspberries, cut up in small pieces
1 small carton of strawberries, cut in small pieces
1 lime
1 granny smith apples, cut up
1 bosc pear, cut up
1 serrano pepper (more if you are daring)
1 bottle of chardonnay or any white wine you love
1/2 cup of white grape juice
1/4 cup of sugar
1 can of club soda
Mint leaves for garnish
Layer all fruit in the bottom of a pitcher, dusting sugar between each layer.

Add the wine, grape juice and club soda. Garnish with mint and enjoy!

PINTEREST PIN When looking for ideas,  Pinterest is the place to find amazing recipes, inspirations for decorating, gardening, and just about anything!

Check out my Pinterest board 
for simple entertaining ideas. While you are there, visit my APPETIZERS & BITES board. It’s stacked with mouthwatering recipes.

PINTEREST is easy to use, filled with great ideas, and….careful…..it’s addicting! PINTEREST PIN

 PRODUCTS I LOVE…..

PERSONALIZED CUTTING BOARD

Personalized Engraved Cutting Board $35.00 FROM AMAZON

 

 

 

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THE SALAD BOWL

Salads are no longer considered ‘rabbit food,’ so I love the creativity in preparing and serving. After the first bite, Steve & I decide if its a ‘keeper!’

Here are a couple of our “KEEPERS!”

shrimp cocktail salad martiniSHRIMP COCKTAIL SALAD

This entre salad is filled with bold flavors and is a switch on the traditional shrimp cocktail appetizer. Combining the tangy vinaigrette with the shrimp, lettuce and tomatoes, makes this a perfect summer meal!shrimp cocktail salad martini

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE, WHISK TOGETHER & SET ASIDE:

1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1 T. ketchup
1/2 C. prepared horseradish
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. Worcestershire saice
1/4 t. kosher salt and black pepper
FOR THE SHRIMP, HEAT:

3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. kosher salt
2 T. Old Bay seasoning
ADD: 2 lb. peeled & deveined large shrimp & cook until pink, 3 min.
Transfer shrimp to a bowl of ice water, drain & toss in vinaigrette.
Chill for at lest 1 hour.
TO SERVE: TOSS SHRIMP, TOMATOES & LETTUCE TOGETHER BEFORE SERVING & ENJOY!

TACO SALAD WITH CHIPOTLE CHICKEN (serves 4)

This is an easy and flavorful salad served up with a little heat!

TACO SALAD WITH CHICKENTACO SALAD WITH CHICKEN

First, layer the salad in a platter or individual bowls, and put in the fridge:

1 large head chopped romaine lettuce
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 sliced jalapeno
1 C. halved tri-color grape tomatoes
1 C. sliced scallions
1 avocado cut in thin wedges
1 C. corn kernels (frozen & thawed, or fresh and blanched)
1 lime cut into wedges.

FOR THE CHIPOTLE CHICKEN:

COMBINE & SIMMER OVER MEDIUM HEAT ABOUT 25 MIN.

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
2/3 C. diced onion
2 T. chopped chipotles in adobo sauce
1 T. tomato paste
2 T. fresh garlic
1 C. fresh or jarred roasted red peppers
1/2 t. salt, cocoa powder, and cumin
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
Transfer the chicken to a plate, shred, and put back in sauce.
When ready to serve, remove platter or salad bowls from the fridge, top with warm chicken mixture, shredded cheddar cheese & garnish with lime wedges.

When I first started planning this blog,

I wanted to touch upon healthy living and healthy eating for many reasons. As we age, our metabolism slows down, and combined with less physical activity, the pounds creep on, and not in places where its attractive. Healthy eating tops my list; low fat, low carbs, and small portions seems to work. My next blog post: “DIET IS A FOUR LETTER WORD!”,¬†¬†we’ll grab some great ways to balance nutrition combined with exercise, for a healthy lifestyle. Today’s post focuses on the new main course: Salad!

The old adage: “Lettuce is rabbit food!” is just that: old. Looking at older cookbooks like “Cookin’ For a Cause,” (1995), ¬†which benefitted United Way, I found the salad section which I read with great amusement. Fruit salads, pasta salads, jello salads, and pretzel salads topped the list with ingredients sure to pack on the pounds. What caught my eye in reviewing these older cookbooks was the commonality of ‘plussing’ up the salads. It became evident to me that throughout the years, cooks, both home and professional, have been searching for ways to liven up this dish.

When Steve and I decided to eat a more healthful diet, he, 68 and me…60, we looked at salads as a main meal. The usual tossed, Caesar, Greek & wedge were great at first, but seemed boring day after day, so I went on a search to find & create salad menus that are fresh, colorful and bursting with flavor.¬†¬†We¬†taste with our eyes first, so it is important to serve salads that are ‘guest worthy.’ Thanks for swinging by today, and I hope you enjoy these delicious salad recipes. Also,¬†if you follow me, you will get regular updates!

Cheers!

Laura

PRODUCTS I LOVE…….

Click the link below the product for purchasing information.

Extra Large Aluminum Hammered Bowl with Stand $59.00 FROM AMAZON

SALAD SERVERS LARGE WOOD

Hand Made Large Olive Wood Salad Server Set – 2 Piece Wooden Salad Tongs Skillfully Designed & Crafted in South Africa $16.99

Elegance Hammered 6-Inch Stainless Steel Bowl $8.39 each from Amazon

 

 

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MORE MEMORIAL DAY MEAL IDEAS: BBQ Ribs, Romaine Salad with Pear, Bleu Cheese & Walnuts, Grilled Potatoes

PICNIC FOODS, HERE WE COME!

All of those delicious summertime treats remind us of warm sunny days spent outside grilling, gardening, swimming, baseball games and having cocktails on the porch with friends. I love seasonal cooking and summer foods are my favorite! BBQ chicken & ribs, especially baby back,  fresh salads and refreshing drinks make for the perfect meal.

LET’S START WITH THE RIBS!

Oozing with flavor, saucy, saucy meat, falling off the bone…yum. The messier the better. Everyone has their own special rub and sauce recipe. There are people who precook their ribs in beer, root beer, coke, and even Dr. Pepper, before putting them on the grill. Some like their ribs dry with well seasoned rub, while others like their ribs dripping with sauce.¬†Some like the¬†to cook them in the oven, some like to cook them¬†on the grill, but¬†I like a combo.. (this sounds like a Dr. Seuss book).

RUBBED & GLAZED RIBS!

Makes 2 racks

Reading the ingredients on most ready made bbq rubs and sauces from the store, not recognizing or being able to pronounce some, have inspired me to make my own sauces which are more amazing, flavorful and healthy.

FOR THE RIBS

BBQ BABYBACK RIBS

  • 2 racks baby back spareribs, about 7 lb.
  • 3¬†T. each brown sugar, chili powder, kosher salt & pepper
  • 1¬†T. each paprika, dried thyme
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Trim the excess fat, and pierce the meat between the bones using a fork.
  3. Place ribs on a baking sheet .
  4. Combine seasonings and rub on both sides of racks.
  5. Cover baking sheet tightly with foil & roast for 2 hours.
  6. While cooking, make the sauce.

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 1 C.¬†chopped onion
  • 1 C. ketchup
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 C.¬† apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. prepared mustard
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/2 t. siracha or Tabasco sauce (optional)
  1. Sauté onion  in oil in a saucepan over med. heat, 3 min. Add garlic and cook 1 min.
  2. Add vinegar and simmer 4 min. Stir in remaining ingredients & simmer 10 min.
  3. Season with salt.
  • Preheat the grill to med-high.
  • Remove ribs from oven & coat with sauce.
  • Grill about 15 min. total, flipping and basting with sauce.
  • Remove from grill, rest for 2 min. & slice between the bones.

SHORTCUTS THAT I   L-O-V-E !

tony romas ribs

Recently I was having last minute company with little time to prepare, so I ran across these ‘ready-made’ Tony Roma’s baby back ribs in the refrigerated meat section of the grocery store. They are also available at Wal-Mart. I¬†Recognized the¬†brand name and remembered¬† that I devoured these ribs at Tony Roma’s restaurant years ago, so I decided to try them. WHAT A HIT!¬†

These saucy, flavorful ribs come fully cooked & grilled,¬†and vacuum sealed in their own pan. Each pack contains 1 slab of ribs. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, peal the plastic & bake for 15 min. That’s it! Slice & serve! (& don’t forget extra napkins!).

Now for the sides:

GRILLED REDSKIN POTATO WEDGES

Makes 4-5 Cupsgrilled redskin potatoes

Super easy, tasty and makes great use of the other side of the grill. While the ribs are cooking, toss 1/14 lb. red potatoes cut into wedges with 2 T. olive oil & salt & pepper to taste.

Grill until cooked through, turning often, about 20 min.

ROMAINE SALAD WITH PEARS, BLUE CHEESE & WALNUTS

Serves 4

Salad with pears blue cheese & walnuts

  1. Wash and pat dry 1 large head of romaine lettuce.
  2. Tear into bite size pieces.
  3. Combine & put in a bowl:
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 C. crumbled blue cheese (about¬†1 oz.)

4. Mash the cheese with a fork & blend with the oil & vinegar.

5. Add & toss throughly

  • lettuce
  • 1/4 C. blue cheese
  • 1/2 C. coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved

Place in individual bowls, or a platter and garnish with:

  • 1 pear thinly¬†sliced into 8 wedges

This is a refreshing salad that you can make ahead, and serve chilled.

CHECK OUT THESE SUMMERTIME SERVING IDEAS THAT PLUS UP YOUR TABLE!

16 Piece Indoor/Outdoor Melamine Dinnerware Set RED

 4-11in. Dinner Plates, 4-8 5/8 in. Salad Plates, 4-3 1/4 in. dip bowls, 4-8 1/8 in. bowls

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  • 100% Melamine; Heavy weight with look and feel of ceramic
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Cambridge Silversmiths 20-Piece Flatware Set, Jubilee Red

Cambridge Silversmiths 20-Piece Flatware Set, Jubilee Red

 Set Includes: 4 salad forks, 4 dinner forks, 4 teaspoons, 4 tablespoons, 4 butter knives
  • Stainless Steel
  • Brushed Finish
  • 25 Year Limited Warranty
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Unbreakable Indoor / Outdoor Pinot Noir Wine Glasses, Shatterproof and Reusable. Set of 4. By Lily's Home
 

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Made from food-safe, Tritan plastic, BPA-free and FDA-approved material

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Don’t forget the Margarita!

THE FROZEN MARGARITA

marguerita

I don’t know how this happened, but yesterday I posted a delicious ceviche recipe, but forgot the margarita!! That won’t happen again….especially now that summer is on the way!

FOR THE MARGARITA…..

To salt the margarita glass:

  • Pour salt on a small plate.
  • Pour lime juice in a small bowl.
  • Dip the glass rim in the lime, then in the salt.

To make the margarita:

  • 1 can frozen limeade (12 oz.)
  • 12 oz. tequila
  • 1/4 C. cointreau
  • 4 C. ice
  1. Use 1/2 of the ingredients at a time. The reipe will make 2 batches.
  2. Place in blender at high speed.
  3. Pour into prepared glasses, or keep in the freezer.

PRODUCTS YOU MAY LIKE!

Click the product description to take you to the store.

Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker & No-Brainer Mixer

 

 Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker & No-Brainer Mixer

$188.58 with Free Amazon Prime Shipping

 

Artland Mingle 5 Piece Margarita Pitcher and Cocktail Glass Set

$59.99 with Free Amazon Prime Shipping