Recipes Archive

Nothing says I love you better than Fondue

Nothing says I love you like fondue except, maybe, fondue times two!  Why decide between a velvety Velveeta-free pot of cheese bathing in wine and a crock of rich dark chocolate decadence when you can have both?  And both are equally adored by little, big, male, & female taste buds alike.  

Fondue for Valentine’s Day is probably as cliche as the girls-only fondue dinner tradition that started one February 14th back in college.  Admittedly, I was a little mournful for the passing of said tradition when I met my husband and had reason to put on something besides expandable sweatpants for the holiday.  Not that I would trade in my happy marriage for cheese and chocolate, but…  Seasons change and, much like on New Year’s Eve, I now find myself back in said sweatpants, celebrating with both the big and little man in my life.  

Truth be told, I have moved the fondue tradition to the Oscars; perhaps I’ll make a heart-shaped meatloaf like my Mom routinely made this year.  I highly recommend you host a fondue party, however.  It’s the perfect way to celebrate those you love this month, be it your girlfriends, husband, children, or just yourself!  Have each guest bring their favorite accompaniment for each fondue and get dipping.     

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Super Easy Super Bowl Recipe

As far as the Super Bowl goes, you can fall in to one of two categories – “Football Fanatic” 0r “I’m just here for the food and halftime show.” I personally fall into the latter category, except that I do have an invested interest in the Falcons because you have to support your home team. That’s just good manners.  

If you are looking for a super easy, fail proof Super Bowl snack, I’ve got just the recipe for you! 

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Knock-Your-Socks-Off Whole Roasted Chicken

Chicken Prep 1

Yes, mamas… it’s that good — it sure as heck will knock your socks off. Whether you have two different pairs on or realize you’re wearing your husband’s, this crispy-skin chicken recipe is yummy and toddler approved. 

It is one of those easy meals that’s all prep and you can pop in the oven and forget about it! It also looks beautiful and would impress the socks off your friends too, if you served it while entertaining. It’s great for making ahead, which is why I usually prep during nap time. If you watch the sales, you can get a whole chicken really inexpensive. This one from Whole Foods was local organic and was less than $6 for the whole thing! 

I like to serve with Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice (this stuff is amazing — you place in the microwave and it’s done in 90 seconds!, but it would also be great with a salad.

(Current view of what my food prep usually looks like when baby doesn’t nap: dog cleaning up the Puff crumbs and baby scooting across the kitchen floor.)

Hollis

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Roasted Eggplant Dip with Pantry Gremolata

I love entertaining.  You would think I’d tire of it, since cooking for parties and events is my job, but I never do.  I love researching the perfect menu, making trips to five different stores for the right ingredients, and spending all day holed up in the kitchen preparing.  Dare I forget the moment, thirty minutes before anyone arrives, when you crack open a bottle of wine and start the celebration alone.  Except that you can’t really spend all day doing anything once you have a little one in tow. You generally end up frantic during the last minutes before your guests arrive, cursing the fact that nobody is home yet to help (ahem),  gulping down that glass of wine just to stay calm.          

 

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Entertaining as a mother is a double-edged sword.  On one hand it’s ideal because your child is obviously invited, can go to sleep at the proper time, and you don’t have to worry about driving home because hey, you’re already there!  On the other hand, said home is in a constant state of disarray. Every time something is put away it is immediately returned to the floor, sofa, dog dish. Use your imagination!  And you have to plan, shop for, and cook a nice meal.  Make that an especially nice meal, if it is what you do and want to continue doing for a living.       

 

After one too many transformations into a party prepping grump,  I have admittedly scaled back on the elaborate meals I prefer to serve at dinner parties.  One fortunate evening, the stars aligned (aka my son napped for an extra hour) and I found myself with copious time to sneak in an appetizer for the upcoming event!  Since I hadn’t actually planned to make anything, I scoured the pantry and thus, this eggplant dip came to be.  Not to worry, it doesn’t require much hands-on time.  While an extra hour can seem comparable to hitting the jackpot these days, there’s still that play mat to puzzle back together.

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A Classic Southern Summer Wedding Appetizer

A few years ago, one of my very best friends was married at an old plantation in south Georgia.  The wedding was everything a southern summer wedding should be.  Hot, loud, fun, full of family – and most of all – loaded with fabulous food.  

Along with a few of my fellow bridesmaids, we found our way to the chocolate fountain, but before that, we finished off the best appetizer I’ve ever had in my life.  I truly believe this amazing concoction was liquid gold in a pan.  I’ve never had anything better on a cracker and know I never will.  

The night ended in a cheese fog and I knew I had to have this heavenly recipe.  The Bride sent it to me – I was too elated to ever ask where this most amazing recipe came from, but in my book, it was delivered straight from Heaven.  

While the wedding was fun and memorable, of course, it is with great affection I remember the most amazing dip I’ve ever had or will have.  My family makes this for everything – football Sunday, holidays, birthdays, for no reason at all – because it.is.that.good!  

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Pecan-studded Pimiento Cheese Sliders

Football season is upon us and, with it, and endless supply of Saturdays devoted to sports watching.  If the daddy of your house is anything like mine, he truly believes that sports do not fall under the television category and are totally appropriate to play all day, meanwhile teaching the little man of the house to yell “Touchdown!” and “Go!”  I’m pretty sure most southerners believe these to be very valid life skills and ones that cannot be learned at too young an age, but I’ve always been more into the aesthetics of it all.  Sign me up for the snacks, beer, and brightly colored dresses!

If the mommy of your house is anything like me, she’s spending her “game days” in the kitchen and entertaining.  What better excuse for some grown up conversation, even if it is interrupted by child-like screams and cheering.  If you’re going to be entertaining, however, it’s nice to have something that can be mostly made in advance and that pleases big and little tastes alike.  

This recipe hails from my mother-in-law who was born and bred here in Georgia.  I love the addition of pecans for local flair and crunch.  She serves it the traditional way, on rye toasts, but I wanted something a little different and more portable to use in my catering business.  The apples really complement the pecans and cheddar and, together on a bun, make you feel like you’re eating a semi-balanced snack.  If you really want to splurge, I recommend trying it with candied bacon, but country ham works well too.  You can even put together a platter with all three and let people build their own slider.     

Here’s to the return of GameDay and a touchdown addition to your snack repertoire!  

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Homemade Gnocchi with Blackberry Ricotta

If you have ever wanted to experiment with homemade pasta, gnocchi is a great place to start!

Gnocchi is a dumpling but technically falls into the pasta category too. It comes from the Italian word for “Knuckles,” or some say it translates to “Lumps” (should be Delicious Lumps, if you ask me!). It’s made from a mixture of flour and potatoes. It’s a fairly easy food to make, and while it’s not super time consuming, you’ll feel like you accomplished something major when you’re eating this delicious dish!

My whole family loves this, including the 4 and 2-year old picky eaters. The buttery, chewy gnocchi topped with blackberry ricotta has a nutty, fruity, sweet and salty bite that everyone loves. My husband is not a ricotta fan, but he loved when blackberry preserves were mixed in – it becomes a borderline dessert when something sweet is added! 

If you want to get even more exploratory, you can experiment with making your own ricotta. But for this recipe, I kept it simple and used store bought. Make a veggie along with this, and you’ve got yourself a nice weekend meal!

Gnocchi Finished

 


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