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Love Is The Best Ingredient

Happy Monday folks! 

I don't know how I managed to start this week off tired, but man! Wait yes I do know how it happened...I had a fantastic weekend!
Cirque du Soleil was in town on their Michael Jackson Immortal tour. FABULOUS-NESS!!! It was my first Cirque show and I was very favorite scene was the contortionist on the pole...go figure LOL. It was full of color and SPARKLES!!! I think they really did a terrific job of capturing MJ and his essence. I left feeling like I need to go buy something shiny and take dance lessons! We bought tickets on Leap Day and got them discounted and when we arrived at the Colonial Center we were informed that the nosebleed section was closed and they gave us closer seats (awesome). I was brought close to tears and I don't think I realized how many Michael Jackson songs I actually knew the words to. Awesome night. We weren't supposed to take pictures so I didn't...I didn't want to get kicked out :)

So, after the show, I got to go home and prep food for my best friend's promotion party. I'm so proud of her. And the fact that I was up til the wee hours of the morning proves my love LOL! She was recently promoted to a manager position and has her own office and everything now! She is one of my biggest fans and I am one of hers. When she first got the promotion, my plan was to just have everyone meet for dinner. But that thought quickly went out of the window. That's not our style. We like to have music and room to move around. Intimate experiences. So, since it has been a long while since I've hosted anything at my house, this was the perfect opportunity. My theory on making great food is to do it with a spirit of love. That makes anything taste better! Love is always the best ingredient.

Pepperoni Pasta Salad

Taquitos (out the box)...I know, classy!


Red Velvet Cake Balls on the left Amy's Rocky Road Brownie Bites on the right

Marinated Mushrooms and Sriracha Sweet/Spicy Wings


Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

Creamy Tarts with multiple toppings

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats and Salted Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes from Bitten ~by design~
Crack Punch. My new name for it LOL! Mildly Addictive

Chicken Salad by Grandma the cutest pot I've ever seen

I wanted to make some of her favorites that she doesn't have too often and I'm glad that she was pleased. We had an amazing time laughing, joking, and just enjoying one another's company. So Chicken, just know that we all love you and we are extremely proud of you! Keep up the good work!

Pepperoni Pasta Salad
(to make this large size)
2 boxes of tri-colored Rotini pasta (prepared according to box directions)
1 can slice olives-drained
2 cans diced tomatoes-drained
1 large cucumber-peeled and diced
1 bell pepper
1 yellow onion 
Italian seasoning-to taste
Salt and Pepper-to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 package of pepperoni-chopped
2 bottles sun-dried tomato dressing (or your favorite vinegar/oil based dressing)

Mix all ingredients and chill for a few hours to let the flavors combine. Mix before serving. If you want a smaller size, I usually use only 1 box of pasta and keep all the other ingredients the same. Play with it and make it your own...grilled chicken breast or shrimp would be yummy.

Cheese Ball

1-1/2 packages (12 oz) cream cheese
1 small can crushed pineapple (well drained)
powdered sugar (to taste- approximately 2-3 Tbsp.)
green onion (optional-to taste, approximately 2 Tbsp.)
chopped ham (optional-to taste, approximately 2-3 Tbsp. I used deli meat ham)
chopped pecans (about 1 cup worth)
Combine all ingredients together.
Mash into a ball and chill.
Roll in crushed pecans.
Refrigerate until served
I served with Zesty Salsa Wheat Thins and Ritz Crackers

Red Velvet Cheese Balls
I will never make these again! They were a pain in the arse! But I used Bakerella's method. Box Red Velvet cake mix and candy melts. You can find the torture here I used the Wilton White Candy Melts in place of the bark. Not as easy at it looks. I won't do this to myself again!

Marinated Mushrooms
I found this recipe in Retro Luau: Planning the Perfect Polynesian Party when I had a luau for my birthday party a few years ago. Check your local library for the book.

1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp brown sugar
20 to 30 fresh mushrooms

Boil all ingredients (except mushrooms) together for 3 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool overnight. I usually leave them on the counter in a Pyrex bowl with lid. If you place them in the fridge, it solidifies. I doubled the recipe.

Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Wings

4 pounds chicken wing drummettes
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup Sriracha Thai hot sauce
¼ cup ketchup
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup honey
1 cup Sweet Orange Marmalade (used: Smucker’s)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled & minced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes, zest and juice
¼ cup rice wine vinegar

Place drummettes in a gallon size Ziploc bag. In a medium bowl whisk together all marinade ingredients. Pour over drummettes in bag. Press out most of the air and seal bag. Carefully toss drummettes with sauce in bag and place in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Pour chicken and all of marinade into baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring half-way through.
*This can also be done on the grill or smoker. Keep an eye on it and watch for flare ups.

1 big bag of appetizer meatballs (sorry don't remember the bag size) found in the freezer section
1 bottle of GV (Walmart) Original BBQ Sauce
1 Cup Cattleman's BBQ Sauce

Combine in a pot on medium-low heat. Stir and let warm through. Easy peasy.

Deviled Eggs
Umm..It was almost 3 in the morning when I made these. I just scooped and mixed. No measurements! I usually never make the eggs because I can't boil a good egg! But I found this method and it is perfect!

Boiled Eggs
Dill Relish
A few dashes of hot sauce
Season All
Salt and Pepper

Boil eggs, remove shells and cut in half. Scoop out the yolk and place in bowl. I pulverized the yolks in a mini food processor and then added the mayo, relish, hot sauce and seasonings. It's really to your preference how you want the consistency of the eggs to be. Once mixed, fill the cavity of the eggs and top with jalapenos. Sprinkle season all or paprika over eggs to finish.

Creamy Mini Tarts

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 (1.9 oz.) boxes mini fillo shells

BEAT cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla until blended. Spoon about 2 teaspoons into each mini shell. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
I had a variety of toppings to choose from:
Strawberries, blueberries, crushed pineapple, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and sprinkles. Let guests customize their own and it's so much fun. These were a hit! I thought the filling would be more like a no bake cheesecake but that wasn't the case. They were still good though.

Crack Punch

This was my second time making this punch...and it was a hit. Awesomely delicious! Before adding the ice this time, I scooped some of that ugly foam out. I haven't figured out how to not have that foam...As it vanishes you still have that residue around the punch bowl...a raspberry got caught in the spout so we ended up scooping toward the end. So you may want to use just a regular punch bowl...which I don't own one.

1 can frozen pina colada concentrate, thawed (Bacardi makes a good one)
1 can frozen orange pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
4 liters of diet lemon-lime soda (That’s two 2-Liters for the mathematically challenged.)
1 bag of pebble ice (You can buy it at Sonic Drive-In or at most grocery stores in the deli or meat departments.)
1 bag of frozen raspberries

And now for the directions:
*Pour the thawed concentrates into your punchbowl and stir.
*Use one of the empty cans and fill it with water four times and add it to the mixture. Stir.
*Add your diet soda to the mixture. (You can use regular sugar-filled soda if you want, but I think it gets too sweet and you will also feel guilty when you fill your glass for the sixteenth time. Which you WILL.)
*Next, add about half your bag of pebble ice.
(NOTE: Please do not insult The Punch by using crappy ice cubes from your freezer. The Punch will hate you forever.) (ANOTHER NOTE: Please do not screw up the order and add the ice before the soda. You will get an ugly foam at the top of your punch bowl.) (ONE MORE NOTE: I’m sorry if it seems like I’m micro-managing this recipe. It’s just that I have already suffered bad punch experiences so that you won’t have to. I micro-manage because I care.) Let’s see….where were we? Oh, yes. We’re ready for the crowning ingredient…
*Add your frozen raspberries to the top.

Order those delicious cupcakes and Rice Crispy Treats from Bitten ~by design~ 
My friend Amy made the brownie bites so I don't have a recipe for them and Tamiko's grandmother made the chicken salad so I don't have that one either (sowie)!

If you try any of these recipes be sure to let me know if they are a yay or nay! I also realized this weekend that if I'm going to be hosting parties, I need some serve ware! So if anybody wants to give me gifts... :-D



  1. Can I LIKE this post? I love, love, loved the Pepperoni Pasta Salad... I will be attempting that one... And as always, the marinated mushrooms were awesome!

    1. Thanks doll! It's always a pleasure to share food with someone that enjoys food as much as I do! :) **Still dreaming of salted caramel rice crispy treats!** MUAH

    2. This may be a repeat. I just said that I was so proud of you for all that you have put your hands to do....and well! I see you girl, and I believe in you!!


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