Pack and Go: Picnic Foods

Ready to enjoy the sun? This calls for a spontane picnic! Check out these two yummy menus and be ready to have your little party under the sun…

Mediterranean menu
This menu is really summery. Fresh salad, bread and Mediterranean side dishes such as olives.

  • A bottle of rosé wine
  • A thermos can filled with water, ice blocks and fresh mint
  • Salmon salad (combine mixed lettuces with fresh pasta and smoked salmon, make a dressing of olive oil mayonnaise with capers and fresh chopped dill)
  • French bread
  • Tzatziki sauce
  • Fresh olives
  • Bread sticks wrapped in prosciutto
  • Cubed cheese
  • Strawberries and cream cheese

Fiesta menu
Many different tastes: salty from the tortilla chips and sweet from the tomatoes.

  • Mexican beer with lemons or limes
  • Tortilla chips
  • Fresh guacamole
  • Hot or mild sauce
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Serrano ham filled with cream cheese
  • Mini dried chorizos
  • Seedless grapes
  • Melon salad

Mix and Match Pancakes

I used to hate pancakes, but as I grew up I started developing love for them. Then I realized that what I don’t like are plain pancakes, so through time and experimenting I have tried some nice toppings or additions. If you want to entertain a crowd, just set out a griddle in the middle of a table with a good batch of pancake mix and all the goodies below so people can mix and match as they please. Don’t forget the butter!

 

  • any sort of nuts
  • peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • chocolate chips
  • chocolate sauce
  • cocoa powder
  • bacon
  • ham
  • breakfast sausages
  • marshmallows
  • marshmallow fluff
  • regular syrup
  • maple syrup
  • honey
  • powdered sugar
  • brown sugar
  • buttercream icing
  • cinnamon
  • whipped cream
  • creme fraiche
  • sour cream
  • condensed milk
  • any flavor custard
  • any flavour ice cream
  • Greek yoghurt
  • strawberry yoghurt
  • banana
  • any flavor jam
  • fresh berries
  • lemon curd
  • chopped peaches
  • chopped apples
  • applesauce
  • chopped pineapple
  • papaya chunks
  • goat cheese
  • cottage cheese
  • cream cheese

For Your Bread: Italian Deli Hams

For your bread, during cocktail hour or as a hearthy snack, the choice of Italian deli hams is always delicious and a crowd pleaser.

Salami Fiocco: is a salami with a fine taste made with fresh parts from Parma ham.

Salami Milano: is a spicy sausage with fine structure.

Coppa di Parma: has a minimum of three months to ripen and has a full delicate taste.

Mortadella: traditional ham from Bologna made of spiced pork meat and bacon.

Pancetta: this Italian bacon gets its specific taste through the long riping process and it is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Prosciutto di Parma: this ham is very naturas and contains very little salt and no spices.

I Love Appetizers

I love appetizers. Forget about big complicated dinners and just give me trays full of tiny morsels waiting to be eaten. I like that they are easy to make and take the guessing of which guests might have a food allergy or a diet restriction as there is always a bit for everybody. Here is my list of favorites…

  1. Thin slices of seared skirt steak or shaved honey ham on buttered bread
  2. Chorizo slices in red wine
  3. Pitted dates wrapped in bacon
  4. Meatballs, extra points if served with any sauce
  5. Breaded chicken bites
  6. Deviled eggs sprinkled with cayenne pepper
  7. Melon wrapped in prosciutto
  8. Mini burgers
  9. Individual servings of nachos
  10. Sweet chicken wings
  11. Hummus with lots of pita wedges
  12. Empanaditas
  13. Spanish omelette
  14. Wedges of quiche lorraine

Using Leftovers

It is time to clean the fridge after the holidays! Leftovers are the yummiest part for my family since a whole lot of dishes can be created out of them. What could you do with them? Here are some ideas…

  • Fill an omelet
  • Make a savory quiche
  • Vegetables and meats make wonderful wraps
  • And of course, the best of the best… make sandwiches!!!

Tapas y Olé

Here we are enjoying a lovely holiday in Spain before our baby arrives and adoring the availability of food at almost every hour of the day. Most of us have heard about tapas or have been at a party where tapas have been served. To those of you that haven’t here is a summary…

Tapas are a variety of appetizers and snacks in Spanish cuisine. They can be warm or cold and can be combined to make a full meal (what I have been doing in the last days).

Here are some ideas for your next party, so take out that sangría y “que empiece la FIESTA!”.

Olives, Meatballs in tomato sauce, Garlic Mayonnaise served with slices of bread or grilled potatoes, Codfish sliced thinly and served with bread and tomatoesRings of battered squid, Slow-cooked beef, Chorizo sausage slowly cooked in wine, Croquettes, Turnovers filled with meats and vegetables, Prawns in assorted sauces, Potatoes in Mojo sauce, Spicy meat skewers, made of pork, lamb or chicken, Cured cheese with anchovies on top, Pork seasoned with garlic and parsley, Spanish omelette, Chicken filet wrapped in bacon, Slices of pork filet with caramelized onions, Melon wrapped in ham, Mini burgers, Ham rolls filled with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.

Sweet ‘Mallow

Part of my sweet pregnancy cravings have been marshmallows, so inspired by my sweet goodies, here are some ideas to feature marshmallows at your next party.

The favorite of many at the campsite, s’mores. Chocolate and roasted marshmallow sandwiched between two graham crackers.

Marshmallow lollipops, dipped in strawberry glaze.

Another of my favorites, mini marshmallows over hot chocolate.

Marshmallow slices as cupcake decoration.

Peeps marshmallow bunnies on lollipop sticks are inserted on a base of wheatgrass to make a spring centerpiece.

Marbled hand made marshmallows are presented on cellophane bags as favors.

Roasted marshmallows atop a very loved side dish: mashed sweet potato casserole.

Marshmallows dipped in chocolate with toppings such as coconut shavings, pistachio or cookies, serve as sweet appetizers.

Dippalicious

Here are some ideas for quick dips and what to serve with them…

Caramel Dip

Place about 50 caramels and 2/3 cup of half-and half in a heavy saucepan and cook on low heat until the caramels are melted and the mix is blended.

Serve with: cookies, cut-up fresh fruit, pretzels or angel food cake cubes

Cheesy Dip


Mix 15 oz. of cheese spread with 1 cup of sour cream until well blended. Microwave 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring every 30 seconds.

Serve with: assorted cut-up vegetables, nachos, pretzels or soft breadsticks

Pizza Dip



Mix 1 cup pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoni and 2 Tbsp. finely chopped green peppers in a microwave bowl. Microwave for 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds.

Serve with: wheat crackers, bread slices

Creamy Salsa Dip



Mix 8 oz. of cream cheese with 1 cup chunky salsa until well blended.

Serve with: tortilla chips

Fruity Dip



Place 1 cup vanilla yoghurt in a bowl and swirl 2 Tbsp. strawberry jam, jelly or preserves gently.

Serve with: cinnamon cookies, fresh fruit

Pop Me!

With the Oscars on the way, let’s celebrate the ocassion with a list of sweet, savory and whacky popcorn toppings.

  • Sweet
    caramel, cinnamon, honey, chocolate, maple syrup, brown sugar, raw sugar
  • Savory
    cheddar powder, garlic powder, paprika powder, chili powder, powdered parmesan, mustard, pepper
  • Whacky
    pesto, ketchup, chili sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, coconut flakes, curry paste, condensed milk, M&M’s, dried fruit, caramel nuts

Entertaining: the Buffet

I come from a culture that celebrates everything around food, be it self-made, a pot luck or store-bought. So on the next days I will post different ways to entertain. Today I will begin with the preferred method of my family: the buffet. Buffets are really fun and easy ways to entertain as the host doesn’t have to be in the kitchen the whole time and can enjoy time with the guests

 

There are two types of buffet:

– the lap service in which guests eat standing or seated at chairs or a sofa. This style is ideal so that guests can talk and mingle and it works better for small receptions or parties in small places, like a game or movie night.
– the sit-down buffet is more suitable for elaborate occasions such as holidays, weddings and dinner parties.

Here below are some buffet ideas for your next party:

International Buffet
Fresh Greens with Assorted Dressing, Chicken Piccata, Medallions of Beef, Salmon with a Dill Butter Sauce, Saffron Rice, Assorted Dinner Rolls, Assorted Mini Pastries

Italian Buffet
Traditional Caesar Salad, Cheese Tortellini in a Pesto Cream Sauce, Lasagna Bolognese, Chicken Marsala, Roasted Rosemary Potatoes, Focaccia and Garlic Bread, Assorted Italian Mini Pastries

Mexican Buffet
Fresh Greens with Assorted Dressing, Grilled Chicken and Steak Fajitas, Cheese Enchiladas, Southwest Rice and Black Beans, Warm Corn and Flour Tortillas, Traditional Flan and Cinnamon-Sugar Chips

Western Buffet
Three Bean Salad, Red-Skin Potato Salad and Coleslaw, BBQ Beef Brisket, Fried Chicken, Warm Cornbread, Apple and Cherry