Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Savory Bites Cookbook

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

One of my catering chefs, Hollis Wilder, who also happens to be the only 3-time Cupcake Wars winner, just published this great new cookbook called Savory Bites.  She takes her delicious recipes (from years of catering the A-list Hollywood crowd) and formats them so that the meals are prepared in cupcake tins and then served in portion controlled sizes.  This method of serving food is great for those watching their calorie intake as well as for people who want a quick small bite on the run or pack a lunch for weekend picnics with friends.

I made the Crab Napoleon from the Savory Bites cookbook. I followed Hollis’s suggestion and instead of roasting the tomatoes, picked up a jar of pre-made roasted tomatoes in the market’s deli section and assembled the crab salad and sauce and then layered all ingredients into the cupcake tins. It took about 15 minutes to make and then I chilled them overnight.

Note, it is best to line the cupcake tins the short width with two pieces of plastic wrap and make sure that you firmly press the plastic into the wells to create the cups prior to assemblage. Leave at least three inches of wrap on all sides and don’t worry if your middle wells have overlapping plastic wrap.

Serving these Savory Bites was easy. I just took them out of the cupcake tins, garnished with lettuce and served.  Of course, I ate four (so much for portion control!) but what can I say, they were delicious!

What is also great about this cookbook is that you gain a recipe within a recipe. For example, I love crab salad but never thought to make it on its own. Hollis's recipe was easy to make and delicious and can stand alone as well. Once you have made the crab salad, you can then take a roll and make a crab salad sandwich or add it to a bed of lettuce.

Next time, I think I will add some thinly sliced cucumbers on the bottom of the Napoleons and garnish with lemon. 

Savory Bites cookbook includes recipes made in cupcake tins for breakfast, eggs and cheese, vegetables, meats, fish and pasta. Using fresh whole ingredients makes these cupcakes nutritional, and Hollis is always quick to recommend short-cuts for those chefs who have just a few more items to juggle then their kitchen knives. Click here for your link to Savory Bites and enjoy!

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


Citrus Chicken

Friday, November 30th, 2012

This easy roasted chicken recipe for citrus chicken is delicious and takes no time to make. All you need is:

1 orange cut in quarters

1 lemon cut in quarters and seeded

1 small onion cut in quarters

2 bay leaves

Salt, pepper and olive oil

For this easy roasted chicken recipe, stuff the orange, lemon and onion quarters along with the bay leaves into the empty cavity, drizzle olive oil on top and bottom of chicken and add salt and pepper to taste. Then  place the citrus chicken in a roasting pan, add some water and bake at 425 degrees Farenheit for about an hour and 15 minutes or a bit less. Make sure the chicken is cooked but not dry.

A helpful hint for this easy roasted chicken recipe, is to add to the water in the roasting pan some orange quarters and onions to flavor the water and add taste to the natural gravy created while making the chicken.

Place the citrus chicken on a cutting board, slice and serve.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


Great Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

One of my favorite foods is macaroni and cheese. When I had to go gluten free, finding a gluten free macaroni and cheese recipe was a high priority.  I actually just modified the recipe found in my book Budget Bash and it was great! Here is the recipe.

1 box of gluten free macaroni (about 2 cups, I used quinoa macaroni)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 small onion

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup of gluten free flour

2 cups of milk

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

3/4 cup of cheddar cheese

1/2 cup of Gruyere

1/2 cup of truffle cheese

1/4 cup of Parmesan

Truffle oil and salt and pepper to taste

The first step to this gluten free macaroni and cheese recipe is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On an oven top, cook the pasta per the instructions on the box.  Drain water and set pasta aside.

In a pan, melt the butter and sautee the onions and garlic. Whisk in the flour to make a roux and cook until mixture is smooth. Whisk in the milk and simmer until mixture is thick (about 15 to 20 minutes). I stirred the mixture as well to ensure it didn’t burn.

Once mixture is thick, then add the cheddar, truffle, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses along with the mustard and stir until melted. You might want to taste your cheese sauce and add some more cheese if desired. At this point, you can add the truffle oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Once your cheese sauce reaches its desired taste, add the macaroni to the pot and stir until well mixed. Pour the mixture into a 13″ x 9″ glass baking dish and sprinkle extra grated cheddar cheese on top.  Cook the gluten free macaroni and cheese in the oven until brown and crusty on top, at least 30 minutes. Serve hot.

If you wish to modify this gluten free macaroni and cheese recipe, you can substitute the truffle cheese for blue cheese and the Gruyere cheese for Jack cheese and leave out the truffle oil. You can also add a little hot sauce or red chili pepper flakes if desired.

For other gluten free recipes as well as party planning tips and advice, click here.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!



Homemade Marshmallows

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Having to go gluten-free I have started to look at my gluten free dessert options. One of them is marshmallows and I have to tell you I made the best homemade marshmallows and thought I would share the recipe. They are so easy!

Click here for the recipe. It is from the Barefoot Contessa. Just one note on these homemade marshmallows. I used a glass pan and cut the marshmallows while they were still in the pan.

Some options for this gluten free dessert is to add mint for mint marshmallows or coco powder for chocolate. Be sure if you make chocolate marshmallows to dust them in coco, not powdered sugar.

Another great thing about these homemade marshmallows is that they travel well. I went clear across the country with this gluten free dessert and they arrived perfectly in their individual packages.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!


Delicious Chocolate Cake Recipe

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Just in time for your holiday entertaining, this delicious chocolate cake recipe is a simple chocolate cake and takes no time to make, yet everyone loves it and can never get enough.  Here are the ingredients and instructions.

8-ounces sour cream

½ cup canola or vegetable oil

½ cup water

4 eggs

1 box chocolate cake mix with pudding in the box

1 small box instant chocolate pudding

12-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cocoa powder for dusting the cake pan

Powdered sugar to dust the cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and flour (use cocoa powder not flour) a bundt pan.

Blend with a mixer the first four ingredients.  Then add the cake mix, then the chips and the pudding last.  Do not over-mix once you put the pudding in.  Then quickly transfer to the bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.  Insert toothpick to check cake is thoroughly baked and remove from the oven and let cool.

When the pan is cool enough, flip out this simple chocolate cake onto a baking rack and continue cooling.  When completely cool, dust with powdered sugar and serve.  This delicious chocolate cake recipe is a no fault recipe and the cake comes out perfect every time.

An alternate idea to this delicious chocolate cake recipe is to substitute mint chips for chocolate chips to give the simple chocolate cake a minty cool taste.

Enjoy the holidays and until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Grilled Swordfish Recipe with Pineapple, Mango and Papaya Mint Salsa

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Here is a simple grilled swordfish recipe that I recently made.  It took only minutes to prepare and tasted delicious.

Prior to cooking your fish, prepare your salsa.  Use about 4 oz each of fresh and ripe pineapple, mango and papaya. If you decide to use canned fruit for this grilled swordfish recipe, just make sure to drain the juice prior to mixing the fruit together.

Cut the fruit into small squares and stir together with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped mint.  Place the salsa in the refrigerator for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld.  Take the salsa out about 20 minutes prior to serving to ensure it is at room temperature.

For each swordfish serving, consider one 6 to 8 oz swordfish steak per person.

Take your swordfish and brush both sides of the steak with extra virgin olive oil and season it with salt and pepper.  Place the fish on the grill, either stove-top or BBQ,  and grill until opaque, about 8 minutes in total.  It is important for this grilled swordfish recipe to continue checking the fish so that you don’t overcook it.

Once your swordfish is cooked, top it with the salsa and serve.  For added garnish, grill some papaya and place it on the plate as well.

Enjoy this easy-to-make grilled swordfish recipe and for more quick yet impressive recipes, click here.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Wild Rice with Cranberries Recipe from a Los Angeles Event Planner

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Just counting down to turkey day and wanted to share this easy-to-make wild rice with cranberries recipe.  As a Los Angeles event planner, I am always on the lookout for anything that will add glamor and flair to an event, even a simple recipe.

The recipe for the wild rice with cranberries is as follows:

1. Cook the wild rice per the package instructions.

2. Once the rice is cooked, add the dried cranberries.

3. Allow the cranberries to plump up and then add a tablespoon or two of orange champagne vinegar.

4. Make sure to sample the rice after each tablespoon pour, you don’t want the rice to be bitter or tart.

Being a Los Angeles event planner, I sometimes look to the obvious then give it a twist. Here is an easy-to-make table decor item that will add some style to your holiday table.

Gourds such as mini-pumpkins and squash can easily be turned into votive candle holders.  Not only do they take no time to make but you can pick them up at the market while food shopping!

Just take the gourd, cut it in half and hallow it out. Then place the candle inside and light!

I’m getting started a bit early on the Thanksgiving cooking.  Today especially, I am craving vegan pumpkin pie. Click here for the recipe.

I hope you enjoy the wild rice with cranberries recipe.  Having been a Los Angeles event planner for over 15 years, I have picked up quite a few party and entertaining tips for the holidays and other special occasions.  Click here to learn more.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Delicious Cupcake Recipe

Friday, November 4th, 2011

As promised, here is the delicious cupcake recipe for the caramel cupcakes I made last week.  The cupcake is cinnamon, then I dug out the center and filled it with caramel and then topped them with vanilla buttercream frosting. Yum!

Ingredients for these caramel cupcakes are as follows:

1 1/2 cup of flour

1 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon (I put a bit extra)

1 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

1/4 teaspoon of salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

2/3 cup of light brown sugar (I used half light and half dark)

2 tablespoon of sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup buttermilk

To start making this delicious cupcake recipe, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.   Then sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time and remember to continue scraping the bowl so that the batter is well mixed.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the applesauce and then the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Add the dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time until fully mixed.

Place cupcake liners into your cupcake pan and fill each one a bit more than halfway.  Bake for about 20 minutes and repeat with remaining batter.

Take the cupcakes out of the oven and let them cool completely.  Note, they may fall a bit.

Once the cupcakes are cool, start making them into caramel cupcakes by digging out the center with a small kitchen tool or spoon.  Be sure to leave the bottom of the cake.

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

Any recipe for buttercream frosting will work.  Here’s one that I varied a bit and used when I made this delicious cupcake recipe.

2/3 cup of butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1 heaping tablespoon of sour cream (optional)

3 to 5 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)

Cream the butter until light and fluffy.  (If you use the sour cream, then add it after this step.)

Gradually add the powdered sugar beating well after each addition.  Once smooth, add the vanilla and lemon juice.  Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

Prior to frosting your cupcakes, take caramel sauce and fill the hole you dug within the cakes.  Fill the hole just a tad below the cake line.  Then frost your cupcakes.

I like to use a pastry bag and pipe the icing onto the cakes.  This method gives your cupcakes a professional look and is easy to control.

Impress friends and relatives at Thanksgiving with this delicious cupcake recipe for caramel cupcakes with cinnamon flavored cake.  For more easy yet impressive recipes, click here.

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Delicious Cupcakes

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Check out these delicious cupcakes I made.  Cinnamon caramel cupcakes with buttercream icing.

In fact, the icing on these delicious cupcakes is a modification of Sprinkle’s icing. Mmmmm.

Watch for the recipe for these delicious cupcakes (will be posted soon, I promise!).

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

A couple of times this week I made this fabulous cauliflower pizza crust.  What is so great about this vegetable pizza is that it’s a gluten free pizza crust and it can also easily be made as a delicious vegan pizza recipe.

I first heard of cauliflower pizza crust last week while at a class learning how to make regular pizza crust. I had my doubts but after making it and there not being a crumb left I knew this was a winner, and so easy to make!

Ingredients for this gluten free pizza crust:

About 1/2 lb of cauliflower

1 egg – to make it a vegan pizza recipe use 1/4 cup egg substitute

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese (For the vegans, I used Daiya cheddar cheese in my crust and then the mozzarella cheese for the topping.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook the cauliflower until firm but not too soft. Let cool and then either grate it, blend it or place the cauliflower in a Cuisinart to finely chop it (also known as cauliflower rice).  Should come out to 1 cup of cauliflower rice.

Place cauliflower rice in a bowl and mix it with the egg or egg substitute, oregano and 1 cup of cheese or cheese substitute.  Note, I also chopped up some fresh spinach into the mixture to get a little extra vegetables!  Mix ingredients well and then spoon it onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

You want to pat down the mixture on the baking sheet so that it is about the same depth of a regular pizza crust and form your cauliflower pizza crust dough into a round pie shape.

Bake your gluten free pizza crust in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.  You want the top of the crust brown with the sides crispy. Start watching the crust after about 15 minutes to be sure it gets brown and crunchy without burning.

Let the crust cool and then remove the parchment paper by sliding the cauliflower pizza crust onto the cookie sheet. Note, if the middle of the crust is a bit soft, you will need to use a large spatula to help transfer the crust off of the parchment paper.

To finish your pizza, add your favorite pizza sauce and toppings.  (I used fresh chopped mushrooms, spinach and Daiya cheese to make this a vegan pizza recipe.)

Place the pizza back in the oven until cheese is melted and bubbling. Take out, plate and serve.

What I loved about this gluten free pizza crust is that it’s light and healthy plus you are getting your vegetables!

Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra:  make it simple, stylish, fun and economical for all!