Wednesday, November 26

Entertaining Part II: 10 Commandments of Hors d'oeuvres

Ah the Hors d'oeuvres table, my favorite place at any party. I don't know if it is the tiny servings, the variety, or the fact that no one is really watching me make a pig out of myself, but I love appetizers. Therefore this is my favorite time of year. Sure Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful but oh that army of little bites that comes with these holidays is the icing on the cake. In Entertaining Part I, I wrote about how to entertain more often and have succeeded in doing just that. I hope to maintain that momentum. Have you aspired to entertain more often? Below are some useful tips I have used over the years when planning a heavy hors d'oeuvres style party. I am not a chef (only a good cooker according to my daughter) and would never make that claim, these are simply some of the notes from my own experience.

10 Commandments of Hors d'oeuvres
1. Serve an odd number of hors d'oeuvres: 3,5, or 7.
2. 1-10 guests/3 types hors d'oeuvres, 11-20/5, 21-30/7, being sure to double and triple recipes if necessary.
3. Choose one of each: savory, sweet, spicy
4. Choose from a variety of hors d'oeuvres: canapes, wraps, rolls, spreads, dips, cheese flight, sushi, bruschetta, pastry, crudités, and crackers.
5. Choose one of each: hot, cold, room temp
6. Include fresh fruit and vegetables.
7. Have some vegetarian choices.
8. It must be something that can be eaten in 1-2 bites, with one's hands, and is not messy.
9. Be sure you have a way to keep hot things hot and cold things cold.
10. Be sure that many of the items can be made ahead of time.

Last 2 Weeks In BRK

Click on the links below to see the recipes.

Bratwurst Sliders
The Thanksgiving Leftovers Solution: Pepper Jelly Ham
A Delicious Holiday Appetizer: Curried Cheese Ball
Miniaturize Your Casseroles: Corn Pudding
Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce
Awards and Meme
How to Jazz Up Your Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes
Tiny Brie Bites- You will see from one of the photos that I fixed my range hood!
Cranberry Salsa Black Bean Dip
Post Thanksgiving Football Weekend Taco Soup

Thanksgiving Leftover Turnovers

For the last three years after Thanksgiving I make hand pies or turnovers out of the Turkey Day leftovers. I keep a few sheets of puff pastry in the freezer for this purpose. I pull out all of the leftovers and everyone can pretty much pick what they want in their own pie. They bake up beautifully and are very delicious in a fancy schmancy way. My children love these as they can dip them in gravy or ranch dip. This year I mixed up some cranberry sauce with salsa and had mine that way. Very tasty indeed. To make these, defrost puff pastry, as much as you need. Cut into 4 inch squares. Fill with desired toppings; we like turkey and stuffing but I have also done ham and sweet potato. Try any combination that you like. Be sure to use a small amount of toppings, it does not take much. Fold the puff pastry over into a triangle shape and seal edges with a fork. Brush with a well beaten egg. Do not brush the pastry before sealing or it will not seal while wet. Bake at 425 for about 16 minutes or until golden brown and pastry's puffed and crispy. Serve with an assortment of dips, like gravy, cranberry salsa- one cup salsa with 1/4-1/2 cup cranberry sauce, ranch dressing, or anything you think would be tasty. I was stuffed with one but my children ate 2 each. I used Trader Joe's Puff Pastry. I have also used Pepperidge Farm's Puff Pastry with great success. And that is the BRK Thanksgiving Leftover Tradition!

Another Bake Sale

This past week in BRK, I baked 18 Pumpkin Cake Rolls, 16 for the bake sale at school and 2 for my own family, much to my children's' relief. When they see Momma bake they wonder if any of it will make it to their own bellies! 18 was a big production and from start to finish took 5 hours and 10 minutes. You will probably see more about that in a future post in Big Red Kitchen. My Bake Sale Partner, Sheila and her girls baked 30 pies for the sale. That's a lot of baking in that kitchen!

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!


Robin Sue

Big Red Kitchen News' main page, for leaving comments and accessing newsletter archives.

Wednesday, November 12

Entertaining Part I: How To Entertain More Often

Thank you for welcoming me into your email box twice a month, I hope you find these updates helpful. I will use this space to rehash the last 2 weeks in BRK, give you an extra tip or two, show you some behind the scenes at BRK, or give you another recipe if I have one worth sharing. My wish is that you feel these newsletters are worth your time and worth passing on to your friends. Now let the inspiration begin!

Himself (my husband) and I love to entertain but like many we fail to entertain enough as we don't plan for it. Like the John Lennon song says, "Life is just what happens to you, while your busy making other plans." We are so busy making other life plans- school, kids, work, home maintenance, that our life is passing us by. Himself and I sit back and say, "Didn't we want to have so and so over this summer? Where did the summer go?" Do you find that you do that too? My family is in the process of creating our Life Plan and one of the top priorities will be opening our home more often to guests. So how does one go about accomplishing that goal. Purposeful Planning!

1. Decide how many times you want to entertain per month.
2. Make a list of people you would like to entertain over the next year.
3. Define your ideal party. Ex. Casual, formal, large crowds, intimate, kids/no kids, whole meals or just appetizers or dessert.
4. Set an entertaining budget. Some ways to stay in budget is to host potlucks or a dessert party.
5. Decide if you want to use paper products, real dishes or a mix of both.
6.Pick a theme for your parties. Ex- Game night; regular games, group games, or an icebreaker only, Cocktail party, Costume, Mingling.
7. Keep things simple. Simplicity encourages repeats!

The Last Two Weeks of Big Red Kitchen:

How I Handle Leftover Halloween Candy
Christmas Peanut Butter Candy
Thanksgiving Beets Part II: Beet Green and Harvard Beets
Thanksgiving Beets Part I: How to Roast Beets
Two Ingredients Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze
Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Good Ole Fashioned Cream Chicken
Economy Buster: How to Make Your Own Caramel Apple Kit
Super Easy Garlic Chicken

Behind the Scenes of BRK:

Look at that. A pitiful sight indeed. That is my vent shaft which is supposed to be covered in a stainless steel tube. But it is not. It has been like this for one year because of one little missing fuse and being a low priority around here. The little halogen lights blew the fuse causing a call to the repair man who placed in a wrong fuse and now it all has fallen into my own hands. I finally found the right fuse, hiding out in a warehouse in PA, so by the next newsletter my range hood will be back to normal. I am very happy. One job down, 20 more to go. Does it ever end?!

A Quick Tip:

Last week my son performed in a little show at school which was wonderful but the real hit was the Fruit Punch. Yes it is all about the food with me. The punch was made by my friend Sheila from Alice and the Mock Turtle. She blended grape juice and ginger ale, equal parts, and poured in a bag of mixed frozen fruit. It was delicious as well as very cold and refreshing. A few nights later I made this punch and served it in a pitcher which was not only pretty but very well received. Try it out.

The next newsletter will come to you around Thanksgiving weekend so I will include the Robin Sue Family Hot Pocket Leftover Tradition. Stay Tuned!


Robin Sue

Questions or Comments? Email me @ bigredkitchen [at] yahoo [dot] com

Blog Archive

Custom Search

Terms of Service

© Copyright 2008-2012 Big Red Kitchen LLC, All Rights Reserved.

You may distribute, transmit, or share any of my work following these rules:

Please DO NOT copy, distribute, or transmit any photos, text, or recipes from this site and all related Big Red Kitchen sites without written permission on to your own website or blog. After receiving written permission you may copy one photo, thumbnail-sized, with an attribution link to that specific post or a text link to that specific post. Do not cut and paste my recipes unless you have adapted them as your own with an attribution link saying "Adapted from Big Red Kitchen" with link to that specific recipe. You are not to copy the post in its entirety. Even small excerpts require attribution to the specific post. Not to be used for commercial gain.