Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

Tasty appetizers, Cocktails and Desserts
Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
Ranch Veggie Bruschetta
Chili Cream Cheese Dip
Shrimp Ceviche
Chicken Empanadas with Chili Cheese Dip
Festive White Wine Sangria
Beer Margaritas
Chocolate Fudge Cake
The Ultimate Coconut Cupcakes

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Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
This is a simple yet elegant appetizer and it is so delicious. Creamy brie is topped with sweet caramelized onions and then wrapped in a flaky buttery crust. The sweet onion flavor pairs really well the cheese and salty crust.

I used my brother's method for getting nicely caramelized onions. Make sure you slice your onions really thin (this will allow them to brown nicely and release their sugars quickly). And you'll need just a bit of olive oil and some brown sugar.
Drizzle some olive oil in a pan, add onions and sprinkle with brown (not white) sugar. Cook on low, stirring occasionally and sprinkling periodically with brown sugar.

For accompaniments, roasted garlic, slices of pear, grapes, raw almonds and jam all go really well with the brie.

This is a festive and tasty appetizer to serve over the holidays. You can dress it up anyway you like. Serve with crackers and enjoy.

Baked Brie with Caramelized Onions
1 (8 oz) round of brie
1 onion, caramelized
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400'. Cut onion thinly and caramelize as stated above, let cool. Unroll thawed puff pastry and place brie in center (I cut the rind off of mine). Top with the caramelized onions. Wrap dough around brie and onions and pinch to seal. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until pastry is puffed and golden brown. I checked mine at 20 minutes and brushed it with more butter, then let it brown for the last five minutes.
You can pair the Brie with whatever you like. Sliced fruit, jam, crackers, caramelized garlic, candied pecans, grapes, red wine...
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Chicken Empanadas with Chili Cheese Dip
This is always a party favorite!
Thin rounds of pie dough are stuffed with a delicious mixture of chicken, red pepper, jalapeno, cream cheese and spices and then baked until crispy and golden brown. I serve them up with my Aunt's easy and delicious chili cheese dip. These are bit time consuming, but can be made ahead and are well worth the effort.

Chicken Empanadas
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (I use whole cooked rotisserie chicken. It's quick and easy)
1 (8 oz) Pkg. shredded cheese
6 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (I used canned red and yellow peppers)
1-2 Jalapenos, seeded and chopped (1 small can of green chilies are tasty too. Add a little red pepper flakes for heat)
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
2 (15 oz) pkgs. pie dough

Preheat 400
Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts. Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 scant teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

*This makes a ton of filling, so three to four pie crusts are needed. You can cut the filling mixture in half and use two pie crusts if you want.
* To spice these up a bit more, brush an egg wash on the top and sprinkle with chili powder.

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My Aunt's Chili Dip
1 (8 0z) pkg. cream cheese
1 can Nalley's Chili (regular, with beans, no beans, turkey or veggie are all delicious)
1 small can green chile's
Combined all ingredients in a bowl and heat in microwave, covered for 2 minutes. Stir and heat mixture in 30 second increments until combined. You can also heat this mixture in a crock pot or a pan on the top of the stove.

Serve empanadas hot out of the oven with warm chili dip. Yum!

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Ranch Vegetable Bruschetta
1/2 Cup Ranch Veggie dip
1 loaf french bread, cut diagonally into 1-in slices
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 an english cucumber, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup red onion or chives, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush each slice of bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toast in oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Cool completely. Spread each toast with veggie ranch dip. Combine cucumbers, tomatoes and onion in a medium bowl. Spoon vegetable mixtures on top of ranch.
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Shrimp Ceviche
1 lb bay or salad shrimp
1/2 lb lump crab
1 small container pico de gaio, drained
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 - 1 jalapeno, diced fine
1 tsp. diced cilantro
Juice of one lime
salt and pepper to taste
cumin to taste
Any other spices you like

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and enjoy. Serve with crackers or thin slices of toasted baget.
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White Wine Sangria
This drink is refreshing and delicious. Everyone always really enjoys this.

White Wine Sangria

1 Bottle of white wine (Riesling, Albarino, Chablis, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
2/3 cup white sugar
3 oranges (sliced) or may substitute 1 cup of orange juice)
1 lemon (sliced)
1 lime (sliced)
1/2 liter of ginger ale or club soda (ginger ale for those with a sweeter tooth!) * Pierre is also tasty.

Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the orange,lemon and lime into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving.If you'd like to serve right away, use chilled white wine and serve over lots of ice.

Addition ideas: sliced strawberries, peaches, handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, a shot or two of gin, brandy or rum, a cup of citrus-flavored soda pop.
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Too Much Chocolate Cake!
This fudgy chocolate cake would be perfect for any New Year's Eve Table. Decorate it with white edible pearls and set it on a pretty cake platter and you've got a delicious dessert and centerpiece all-in-one.

Too Much Chocolate Cake!

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips and they were perfect)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.
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Coconut Cupcakes
Moist dense cupcakes loaded with coconut and topped with a generous amount of delicious cream cheese frosting.
Coconut Cupcakes
Ina Garten
Makes two dozen cupcakes
3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 pound sweetened flake coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the dry ingredients together into a medium mixing bowl, and set the bowl aside. Break eggs into a small bowl, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. With the mixer running, carefully pour in eggs and vanilla and almond extracts. Mix in the flour mixture and buttermilk by alternating between 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup buttermilk; be sure to start and end with the flour mixture. Add half the coconut, and mix until just incorporated.Line a cupcake tin with paper liners.

Fill each cup with batter using an ice-cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity; the batter should nearly reach the tops of the cups. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the oven, and allow them to cool briefly in the tin before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes. Generously ice them with cream cheese frosting, and sprinkle with remaining coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 2 cups
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DirectionsPlace cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.
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Beer Margaritas
Delicious, Addicting, Deadly

Beer Margaritas

1 can frozen limeade drink mix
8-12 oz tequilia (depending on how strong you like it!)
12 oz water
1 can light beer
2 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

Stir limeade, tequilia, water and beer together until limeade is dissolved. Stir in ice and squeeze in a few lime wedges. Taste and adjust as needed. Garnish glasses with extra lime wedges.

1 comment:

learned the hard way said...

All the recipes are fabulous. I have had them all. But, watch out for the beer margaritas, they'll knock you on your a$$ and you won't get out of bed New Years Day until noon.


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