Roasted Shrimp Cocktail


This recipe is a Barefoot Contessa recipe that was featured in the Food Network Magazine back in December 2011. The whole family loves shrimp cocktail but I had never seen it prepared this way. So I decided to give it a try (plus I love Ina, the Barefoot Contessa). This Roasted Shrimp Cocktail was great! The pepper and the fresh lemon zest gave the shrimp great flavor. The homemade cocktail sauce was good and gave the shrimp a big kick (and I didn’t even use all of the horseradish and Tabasco sauce that it called for). This makes the perfect appetizer for any party or get-together!

The ingredients are:

For the Shrimp

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 count) shrimp
  • 1 Tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (I used 2 T)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus lemon zest for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (I used about half this)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them in one layer. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  3. For the sauce, mix the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Top the shrimp with lemon zest and serve with the sauce.


Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa with Sugar N Spice Chips

My family gets together almost every single Sunday (unless the kids sports prohibits me from being there) for Family Dinner. It’s a tradition that has been going on for as long as I can remember. Nowadays we choose themes for our sunday meals and everyone brings a dish to go with our theme. On this particular Sunday our theme was summer/bbq foods. My mom brought this Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa and we all loved it! What says summer more than fresh, sweet, juicy fruit? This fruit salsa was delicious, light and refreshing. She got the recipe out of the Wholeliving July/August 2012 magazine.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries
  • 4 apricots or 2 large peaches (mom used peaches)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, chopped pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup organic light Agave Nectar or 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom couldn’t find Agave Nectar so she used Raw Sugar)
  • 1-3 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
  1. Dice strawberries, peaches and pineapple into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine all fruit and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice and Agave Nectar/Sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of chili powder (increase by teaspoonfuls to reach desired flavor); mix well.
  3. Add agave mixture, cilantro and mint to the fruit, tossing until combined. Serve immediately.

Sugar N Spice Chips

  • 1 bag (8.5 to 10.5 oz) corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom used raw Sugar)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Grease two cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Dip tortilla chips into melted butter. Using a pastry brush, remove excess butter to give each chip a thin, even layer of butter on both sides. Place chips on prepared cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and chili powder to taste. Sprinkle over buttered chips, and bake for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Oriental Fried Chicken



I was looking through my cookbooks for another book to try, when I came across this little spiral bound cookbook titled World Wide Recipes. I flipped through it a bit and decided this would be my next book. It is filled with all kinds of different recipes from all kinds of different ethnicities. I can’t wait to try so many of the recipes. The flavor combinations in this little book are endless. The first recipe that I tried is a recipe from Japan, for Oriental Fried Chicken. These little chicken wings had big flavor, perfectly seasoned. I’m not normally a chicken skin person, most of the time I peel it off. Not this time! The skin was deliciously crunchy and I ate every bit of it…. This recipe was very easy to prepare. Set aside the two hours to marinade (It doesn’t need any longer, the flavor was perfect), fry and serve. I made some sautéed veggies and white rice to go with the wings and we ate it for dinner, but you could also serve them as an appetizer. It says that it serves 8-10 people but there was only 5 of us and we polished off every single one.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • oil for deep-frying
  1. Cut off the tips of the chicken wings, then cut the wings apart, set aside.
  2. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl, mix well. Add chicken wings and marinate for at least 2 hours. Stir every so often.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan or wok. Deep fry chicken wings about 8-10 minutes, until outside is golden brown and inside is cooked.


Shrimp, My Way


Here is another recipe out of my cookbook, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. We all really enjoyed this shrimp recipe. The Cumin in this gave the shrimp a southwestern flare and I loved the chunks of garlic in it. The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 or 4 big cloves garlic, cut into slivers (I used 4, YUM!)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds shrimp, in the 20 to 30 per pound range, peeled, rinsed, and dried
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh spicy paprika (I had regular paprika so I used that)
  • Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish
  1. Preheat the broiler and adjust the rack so that it is as close to the heat source as possible.
  2. Very gently, in a large, broad ovenproof skillet or baking pan, warm the olive oil over low heat. There should be enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan; don’t skimp. Put the garlic in the oil and cook for a few minutes, still over low heat, until it turns golden.
  3. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir to blend and immediately place under the broiler. Cook, shaking the pan once or twice and stirring if necessary, but generally leaving the shrimp undisturbed, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly. This will take from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your broiler. Garnish and serve immediately.

Brie Cherry Pastry Cups

This is the second appetizer I made last night for our families dinner night. These little pastry cups are delicious! I put them out on a platter to serve and they were gone in seconds (clearly I did not make enough, next time I will double the recipe). The cherry preserves are sweet, the brie is smooth and mild and tames down the sweetness of the preserves, and the chives give it that touch of savory that just pulls it all together into the perfect little appetizer. Everyone loved this recipe! The kids were watching me prepare these and they asked me if I could make some of them without the brie and chives because they didn’t like brie and chives. I did as they asked and guess which ones they were eating……… The ones with brie and chives! Not only were these delicious but they were very pretty and festive looking with the red and green colors. These would make the perfect Christmas appetizer!

I got the recipe out of an old christmas issue of Taste Of Home. They won first place in their appetizer recipe contest and I definitely know why!

The ingredients are:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 Cup Cherry preserves
  • 4 oz. Brie or Camembert cheese, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
  • 1/4 Cup chopped pecans or walnuts ( I did not use but will try with nuts next time)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced chives

Unfold puff pastry, cut into 36 squares ( I used my pizza wheel slicer to cut the dough, it worked great). Gently press squares onto the bottoms of 36 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, make a 1/2-in. deep indentation in the center of each. Bake 6-8 minutes longer or until golden brown. With spoon handle, press squares down again.

Spoon a rounded 1/2 teaspoonful of preserves into each cup. Top with cheese; sprinkle with nuts and chives. Bake for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Olive & roasted pepper bruschetta

I’m so excited! I tried two new appetizers last night for our families weekly dinner night and they both turned out fantastic! You know how it is when you try new recipes, you never know how it is going to turn out. That’s the risk we take right, but when something turns out great it makes all the wrongs worth it. Last night I had two successes! The first one is for an Olive & roasted pepper bruschetta. I was thumbing through an old December (2009) issue of Taste of home magazine when I came across these two recipes. They had an appetizer recipe contest and this recipe was one of the runner ups. You definitely need to like green olives to enjoy this recipe, which we all do. Even the kids liked them! Not to mention this was super easy to make. You could have these ready to go in 15 minutes. To save even more time you could make the topping ahead of time.

The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 Cup grated Romano cheese (I had Parmesan so I used that instead)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/2 Cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 16 slices French bread baguette (1/2 in. thick), toasted

Make sure that you have toasted your baguette slices. I almost forgot to do that. I put the slices on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients (I did not add the Parmesan cheese with the olive mixture because we have a couple of people who can’t eat it. So I sprinkled it over the tops of about half of them). Top each bread slice with 1 Tbsp. olive mixture.

I would definitely double this recipe next time. With our family they only lasted a couple of minutes!

( Thank you Taylor for being my hand model!)

Bacon wrapped smokies

Hello all! Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I sure did. Being around my family warms my heart an lifts my spirits……. Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, we now have Christmas on the horizon. More gatherings and parties coming up.

I wanted to share this recipe for Bacon wrapped smokies. It is the perfect recipe for an appetizer or as an addition to a brunch. I received this recipe from a family friend a few years ago and have made it many, many times since. This recipe is so simple with only 3 ingredients, you can whip it up in a flash. The brown sugar carmelizes on the bacon and sausage and the combination creates a wonderful sweet and salty taste. Everyone loves these bacon wrapped goodies and they are normally the first to disappear off of the buffet table.

This recipe is great for anyone. My Aunt who does not like to cook or to follow recipes called me and told me her neighborhood was getting together for a potluck and did I have any ideas for what she could bring. Knowing my Aunt I knew this would be the perfect recipe for her. She made them with no problem and everyone loved them….

The ingredients are:

  • 1 lb. of bacon
  • large package of smokies
  • Brown sugar (about 1 cup)
  • Toothpicks
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your slab of bacon into thirds.
  3. Place a smoky on the piece of bacon and wrap. Secure with the toothpick.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with brown sugar.
  5. Bake in oven for 35-45 minutes. The bacon should be golden brown.

I’m sorry if this recipe is vague. This is how it was explained to us and it has turned out great every time. You can adjust as needed. If we are having a large group we double this recipe. Enjoy!