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See the mess you left me with? Photo credit: Ioan Sameli

“A good time was had by all.” ~ Stevie Smith and years later, John Lennon

Well folks, I’ll say this about you . . . you know how to eat, drink, and dance on the ceiling. Thanks to your fellow bloggers, you don’t have to think about the menu for your holiday parties. Read and enjoy. As for what bloggers like to drink? Well, simply put . . . booze.

Heads up . . . On the Homefront and Beyond is hosting the next virtual cocktail party at her place on December 15th. Dress as your favorite author! Dibs! I’m coming as Dr. Seuss.

Mike Akin brought ~ Yankeefied Bean Chili

6 cans of assorted beans, 12 and 16 ounce size

½ onion

½ green pepper

1 large tomato

1 pound of ground beef

1 package of stew meat

1 package of chili seasoning mix. Mike likes mild. I like spicy.

Garlic salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash to flavor

Secret ingredient…1/2 cup of Pampered Chef Korean BBQ sauce

Brown the meat with half of the onion, minced of course. Cut the tomato and green pepper into small pieces of the size you want. Remember this chili is all about YOU!

Now take all of the rest of the ingredients and throw them in a large slow cooker and turn that bad boy on high and go shopping! (Robin’s note . . . Mike gave me his credit card girls! Let’s go shopping!)

PS…that secret ingredient really gives it a unique flavor. If you can’t find a Pampered Chef dealer, I’ll help you.

PS, PS…you can change the meat out if you like

Eagle-Eyed-Editor Brought ~ Tangy Meatballs

1 large bag Italian-style meatballs (frozen and precooked)

1 bottle chili sauce

1 jar Polaner grape jelly (or 10-12 ounces of another brand)

Combine all ingredients in 4-quart or 5-quart crock pot. Set crock pot on high. Heat for 2 hours, stirring at intervals until meatballs are thawed. Turn heat back to low and serve. (Robin’s note: chili sauce and grape jelly? Gotta try that!)

Maggie Myklebust Brought ~ Coconut Prawns

65g (1 cup) shredded coconut

40g (1/4 cup) plain flour

2 eggs, lightly whisked

Vegetable oil, to shallow-fry

24 green prawns, peeled leaving tails intact, deveined

24 small English spinach leaves

Tamarind sauce

2 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 long fresh red chili, seeded, finely chopped

80g (1/2 cup, lightly packed) brown sugar

125ml (1/2 cup) water

2 tablespoons tamarind puree

2 tablespoons fish sauce

To make the tamarind sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic and chilli, stirring, for 2 minutes or until soft. Add sugar, water and tamarind puree, and simmer for 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Stir in fish sauce. Set aside to cool slightly.

Place the coconut, flour and egg in separate bowls. Dip the prawns in flour and shake off any excess. Dip in the egg, then in the coconut to coat.

Add oil to a wok to reach a depth of 5cm. Heat to 180°C over medium-high heat (when oil is ready a cube of bread will turn golden in 15 seconds). Place one-third of the prawns in oil and cook for 3 minutes or until golden. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with remaining prawns, reheating wok between batches. Serve with spinach leaves and tamarind sauce. (Robin’s note: If I’m at your party and you serve this, please triple the recipe.) 

Maddie Cochere Brought ~ Hot Crab Spread

2 cans crab meat, well-drained

1 pound cream cheese, softened

½ cup mayonnaise

1 small bunch green onions, chopped

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Handful of slivered almonds

Mix all ingredients together well – except almonds. Place in baking dish. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with crackers. (Robin’s note: Maddie likes to serve Triscuits and isn’t opposed to using more crab than the recipe calls for. My kind of gal!)

Dianne Gray Brought ~ Feta Cheese Dip

180g (1 1/2 cups) feta cheese

60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

60ml (1/4 cup) milk

Place the feta, oil, and half the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until combined. Add the milk in a thin steady stream and continue to stir until the mixture is a thick, smooth paste. Set aside in fridge for half an hour. Spoon into bowl and enjoy with baguette or crackers. (Robin’s note: How easy is that!)

J. Keller Ford Brought ~ Cheese Straws

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon powdered mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2/3 stick butter (1/3 cup)

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon each celery seed and paprika

Sift the first 4 ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add butter and 1/2 cup of grated cheese and cut into a coarse crumb consistency. Add water and toss lightly. Shape into a ball. Roll to 1/8″ thick – sprinkle 1 side of the dough with 1/4 cup of cheese. Fold dough over and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Roll again to 1/8 inch thick and cut into 4″ strips that are 1/2″ wide. Sprinkle with celery seed and paprika. Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 5 dozen. (For other variations, you may substitute garlic powder for the celery seed and paprika, or leave plain. Serve with marinara. (Robin’s note . . . and a martini.)

Ella Dee Brought ~ Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters

These shots are fun to serve before dinner or for a cocktail party. To turn them into an entrée, serve 6 oysters with a shot of Bloody Mary for each person.

Makes 24

150ml (2/3 cup) vodka

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

10 drops Tabasco sauce, or more to taste

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 litre tomato juice

Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

24 freshly-shucked oysters

Combine vodka, Worcestershire, Tabasco, lemon juice and tomato juice, season well with salt and pepper and chill until very cold. Pour into shot glasses. Drop an oyster into each one and serve immediately. (Robin’s note: I’ll skip the oyster and go straight for the Bloody Mary, sans slimy, fishy, goo.)

Lori DiNardi Brought ~ Cheater’s Focaccia Bread

1 package Bridgeford’s Frozen Ready-Dough

28-ounce canned whole tomatoes (or use fresh if you prefer)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper, and oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove two of the three loaves of dough from the package. Use nonstick spray on a deep round or rectangular pan (like a lasagna pan) and put the two loaves inside. Spray some plastic wrap and cover the dough with sprayed side. I personally like to let the dough rise overnight because it takes 8 to 12 hours. It takes especially long in the climate where I live.

Once it’s risen, press down the dough so that it goes up the sides of the pan.

Break up the canned tomatoes into small pieces and start dispersing them over the top of the dough. Once tomato pieces cover the entire top of the dough, drizzle 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil all across the top.

Sprinkle a liberal amount of salt, pepper and oregano over the tomatoes and dough. You can try other seasonings that may appeal to you as well. You may even like to try a light touch of fresh minced garlic.

After sprinkling the seasonings, press your fingers into the dough to make divots for the oil to sink in as below.

Put in preheated (400 degree) oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. It should turn a golden brown. While it bakes, be sure to wipe drool from the corners of your mouth as the aroma of seasoned dough permeates your home. (Robin’s note: My mouth watered while reading this recipe.)

Paula Acton sent ~ Roasted Stuffed Onions a la Jamie Oliver

4 tennis ball size white onions, peeled

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

4 sprigs fresh rosemary, lower leaves picked

8 tablespoons heavy cream

2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (approximately 2 handfuls)

Salt and pepper

4 slices smoked bacon


Boil the onions in plenty of water for 15 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove from the pan and allow to cool. Remove the top 1 inch of each onion and reserve. If need be, slightly trim the stalk end of the onion so that they sit flat on a roasting tray.

Cut about a heaped tablespoon out from the inside of each onion, keeping the outside intact. Finely chop along with the reserved onion top.

Pre heat the oven to 400°F.

Heat a frying pan and add a little olive oil, garlic, chopped onions and a little chopped rosemary. Fry for a couple of minutes then turn the heat down and add the cream. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and season to taste.

Wrap a rasher of bacon around each onion and secure with the sharpened rosemary twig or half a cocktail stick.

Place the onions on the roasting tray and spoon some of the filling inside each one. Bake for 25 minutes. Place the onions on a warmed serving plate, warm through any remaining filling and serve on the side. (Robin’s note: Paula couldn’t make the party because she is recovering from surgery. Hugs to you Paula!)

Cathy Ulrich Brought ~ Baked Brie with Fig Preserves

One 10 oz jar of your favorite preserves. I love Katz fig preserves: https://katzfarm.katzandco.com/branches-organic-black-mission-p-113.html  but they also make amazing blackberry, raspberry and strawberry preserves and meyer lemon marmalade. Their preserves come in 17 oz jars. I just use about half of a jar . . . enough to cover the Brie with a nice layer.

8-inch-diameter 32- to 36-ounce French Brie, packed in wooden box (reserve box)

2 French bread baguettes, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap Brie, reserving bottom of wooden box. Cut away only top rind of cheese, leaving rind on sides and bottom intact. Return Brie to box, rind side down. Place box on baking sheet. Top Brie evenly with preserves. Bake until cheese just melts, about 30 minutes. Transfer Brie in box to platter. Surround with baguette slices. (Robin’s note: Cathy and I came to blows at the party over who got the last bite of her Baked Brie.) 

Retired Ruth Brought ~ Smoky Cheddar & Tapenade Torta

½ cup chopped black olives, divided
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce chopped plus 2 T adobo sauce  (comes in  a small can)
1 cup green olives chopped, divided
12 ounces cream cheese softened
½ cup sliced green onions
¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped, divided
2 garlic cloves
8 ounces finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup sour cream

Chop olives, pepper, onions, cilantro, garlic and set aside

For green onion layer:   Mix  ¼ cup green olives, 8 ounces cream cheese, green onions, 2 T cilantro, one garlic clove, ¼ cup black olives.  Set aside.

For tapendade:  combine remaining green olives, remaining cilantro, remaining garlic clove, and ¼ cup black olives in a small bowl.  Mix well and set aside.

For Cheddar layer:  Combine 4 ounces cream cheese, cheddar cheese, sour cream, chipotle pepper and sauce in a bowl.  Set aside.

Use a small deep mixing bowl.  Line it with plastic wrap.  Spread evenly ½ cup of the cheddar layer, top with all of the green onion layer,  top with tapenade layer.
Spread remaining cheddar layer on top

Cover and chill 2 hours or longer.
Invert onto a serving plate.  Carefully peel off plastic wrap.

Top with more ripe olives or additional cilantro if desired.

Serve with baguette slices, crackers, or tortilla chips.    Makes 32 servings

1  T  = 80 calories, 7 g fat, 0 fiber (Robin’s note: Ruth . . . calorie count is a buzz-kill.)

And last, but not least, Robin Coyle Brought ~ Killer Bean Dip

1 can Frito-Lays Bean Dip

1 package taco seasoning, mild or spicy

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup sour cream

Grated cheddar cheese

1 green onion, sliced (optional)

Combine the bean dip, taco seasoning, cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Place in an over-proof casserole dish and sprinkle with cheddar cheese Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or til heated through. Top with green onion, if desired. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips.

Warn your guests to be careful when digging in because the dip retains its heat. Watch it disappear! The good news! This recipe is dietetic. Wink, wink.

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