Hors d'œuvre

Christmas & New Year’s Dinner Menu Ideas

December 17, 2013


Christmas & New Year’s Dinner Menu Ideas

Whether you’re having a cocktail party or preparing dinner, the holiday season is the time to gather with friends and loved ones and reflect on the year gone by, and talk about the year to come.  Whether you plan to celebrate with a traditional menu this holiday or take a few chances, here are some great menu ideas. 

Cold Hors D’Oeuvres

Brioche Sliders (Individual Brioche Sandwiches)

Assorted Tea Sandwiches: Prosciutto & Mozzarella, Smoked Salmon With Cucumber & Butter, Grilled Vegetables With Goat Cheese

Smoked Salmon Rounds: Smoked Salmon On Top Of Cucumber, Dill, Cream Cheese & Pumpernickel

Brioche Buttons: Roast Beef & Horseradish Cream On Mini-Brioche

Asparagus, Melon, or Fresh Figs: Wrapped In Prosciutto

Poached Shrimp With Cocktail Sauce

Buttermilk Biscuits With Turkey & Chutney

Apricot & Currant Scones: With Ham & Honey Mustard

Chicken Wrap Pinwheels: With Sun-Dried Tomatoes And Basil

Gorgonzola & Black Olive Phyllo Triangles

Caviar With Brioche Toast Points

Crudité Platter

Sliced Fruit Platter

Cheese Platter

Antipasto Platter

Mediterranean Platter: Olives, Hummus, Goat Cheese, Caponata, And Red Pepper Dip

Antipasto Platter: Smoked Meats, Grilled Vegetables, Artichokes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, And Bocconcini

Tortilla Chips With Salsa, Guacamole, And Black Bean Dip

Imported Cheese Platter

Hot Hors D’Oeuvres

Tandoori Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce

Buffalo Wings With Blue Cheese Dressing And Celery Sticks

Grilled Shrimp

Mini Potato Knish

Seafood Wontons With Cilantro & Green Onion Dipping Sauce

Pigs In Blankets

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Roasted Vegetable & Goat Cheese Tartlets

Bite-Size Potato Pancakes With Applesauce Or Caviar

Shrimp & Basil Wrapped In Phyllo

Duck A L’Orange Turnovers

Wild Mushroom Strudel

Smoked Southwestern Chicken Strudel

Baby Crab Cakes With Spicy Red Pepper Sauce

Vegetable Wontons With Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce


Roasted Free-Range Turkey

Roast Duck

Orange Glazed Cornish Hens

Whole Glazed Baked Ham

Beef Wellington

Roasted Leg Of Lamb

Crown Roast Of Pork With Cornbread & Dried Fruit Stuffing

Standing Rib Roast With Roasted Potatoes

Salmon Filet With Roasted Vegetables

Herb Crusted Filet Mignon

Red Wine Marinated London Broil

Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Herb Crusted Tuna Filets

Beef Tenderloin

Side Dishes

Winter Vegetable Medley: Mushrooms, Parsnips, Carrots, Turnips & Haricots Vert Sautéed In Butter & Herbs

Glazed Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions

Green Beans & Roasted Garlic

Sage Roasted Beets

Celery Root & Leek Puree

Creamed Spinach

Herb Roasted Potatoes

Sweet Potato Puree

Grilled Vegetables: Zucchini, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Tri-Colored Peppers & Onions On A Charcoal Grill Or Under The Broiler


Holiday Traditions

Buche de Noel: Rich Chocolate Cake, Panache Filling, And Buttercream Frosting All Rolled Into A Beautiful Yule Log

Fruit Cake

Stollen: Traditional German Holiday Cake, Studded With Raisins And Almond Paste

Gingerbread Loaf

Panettone: An Italian Rich And Yeasty Cross Between A Bread And A Cake. Packed With Raisins And Candied Citrus.  Have It With Coffee In The Morning Or Champagne Later In The Day.

Holiday Mini Cupcakes

Coconut Mini Cupcakes

Shortbread Cookies

Gingerbread Men

Decorated Holiday Cookies


Lemon Meringue Pie

Fruit Pies: Apple, Blueberry Or Cherry

Pecan Pie

Almond Crust Berry Tart

Lemon Tart

Tarte Tatin: Apples Poached In Butter & Brown Sugar On Shortbread Crust

Meringue Clouds: Pistachio, Raspberry, Chocolate, Or Hazelnut

Coconut Cake: White Cake Layered With Lemon Curd With Coconut Frosting

Chocolate Cake: Single Layer Cake Frosted With Chocolate

Yellow Cake With Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Cake With Vanilla Frosting

Chocolate Layer Cake With Dark Chocolate Frosting

Assortment Of Mini French Pastries


Sliced Fruit Platter

Cheese Tray

Apple Pie 2

Chinese Egg Rolls

February 10, 2013

Chinese Egg Rolls

Egg rolls are often used as appetizers or you may use them as a main dish.  The pancake-like skins are available at many grocery stores, but especially at Asian specialty stores or you can make your own. 



1 Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Cups Water

2 Eggs

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

In a medium size bowl add the flour.  Gradually add the water and stir.  Beat in the eggs and kosher salt.  Grease a medium size skillet and heat over a low heat.  Beat the batter once more and pour 1 tablespoon of the batter into the skillet.  Let the batter spread over the surface of the pan to form a very thin and flexible pancake.  When it shrinks away from the sides turn and let it set on the other side.  DO NOT let it become brown or crisp.  Remove and repeat until you have cooked all of the batter.  Place in a dish and cover with a damp cloth until you are ready to use. 



3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1/2 Cup Chopped Celery

3/4 Shredded Cabbage

4 Chopped Scallions

1/2 Cup Diced Shrimp

1/2 Cup Diced Cooked Pork

1/2 Cup Chopped Water Chestnuts

1/2 Cup Bean Sprouts

1 Minced Garlic Clove

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon Grated Ginger

1/2 Teaspoon Sugar

In a large skillet or wok heat the oil over a medium high heat for 1 minute.  Add the celery, cabbage and scallions and stir fry for 1 minute.  Add the shrimp and cooked pork and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the water chestnuts, bean sprouts, garlic ginger and sugar.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  Place 4 tablespoons of the filling in the rectangular shape on the center of each pancake.  Fold up like and envelope.  Seal the last flap with a paste made of :

1 Tablespoon Flour

2 Tablespoons Cold Water

Deep fry each egg roll into a deep fat fryer heated to 375º F or use oil about 1 inch deep in a skillet and fry the egg rolls until golden brown.  Serve with Chinese Mustard, Soy Sauce or Sweet & Sour Sauce.  Makes 12 Egg Rolls.



Sweet & Sour Sauce:

Heat in a saucepan: 1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice, 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce, 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper and 1/4 Cup Mild Vinegar. Makes 2 1/2 Cups

Honey Boo Boo Pork Ribs

February 3, 2013

Honey Boo Boo Pork Ribs

Make sure that you take your Lipitor today because The Super Bowl screams out “eat ribs!”  I love ribs anytime, but I just can’t resist a great rib dish on the biggest game day of the year.


2 Pound Rack of Baby Back Pork Ribs

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika

1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Flakes

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

1 Cup Malt Vinegar

1 Cup Honey

1 Tablespoon Hot Pepper Sauce

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  In a medium size bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the ribs.  Set aside.  In a large skillet place the olive oil and sear the ribs over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes per side.  Remove from the heat.  On the bottom on a glass baking dish smear some of the sauce.  Place the ribs into the baking dish and pour the rest of the sauce over the ribs.  Bake covered for 1 hour.  Remove the lid and bake for 45 more minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm.  Serves 4

Hot Hot Wings

January 16, 2013

Hot Hot Wings

Why go to Hooters for hot wings when you can make them at home.  Never mind…I just realized that’s not why someone would go to Hooters.  Make my Hot Hot Wings at home and you’ll be a happy camper. 


3 Pounds Chicken Wings

2 Tablespoons Chili Powder

1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Ground Cayenne  

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 Cup Chili Sauce (I Use Sriracha Chili Sauce)

1/4 Cup Honey

3 Tablespoons Malt Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoons Brandy

Dried Parsley For Garnish

Split the chicken wings at the joints and remove the tips.  Place the wings in a large zip lock bag.  Sprinkle the chili powder, oregano and kosher salt into the zip lock bag, zip up the bag and give a good shake.  Place in the fridge for 2 hours. If you need to use two bags then use two bags.  Remove from the fridge when you are ready to prepare. Preheat your oven to 375º F. Spread the chicken wings on 2 baking sheets covered with parchment paper.  Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until they are pretty crisp.  While the wings are baking prepare the wing sauce in a medium size pan.  Add the remaining olive oil and the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute over a medium heat.  Add the chili sauce, cayenne, malt vinegar, honey, soy sauce and brandy.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.  Turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan and let sit until ready to use.  When the wings are done remove from the oven and place into a large bowl.  Pour the chili sauce over the wings and dredge until all wings are completely coated.  Transfer to a serving platter.  Serves 6



Lamb Meatball Sliders

January 2, 2013

Lamb Meatball Sliders

These sliders are delicious.  If you’re having trouble finding slider buns then just use dinner rolls for the buns.  I like using a good potato roll.



4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/2 Diced Yellow Onion

3 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds

1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Rosemary

1 1/2 Pound Ground Lamb

1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs

2 Large Eggs

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper



1/4 Cup Olive Oil

1 Diced White Onion

3 Diced Garlic Cloves

28 Ounces Crushed Tomatoes

1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Teaspoon Oregano

1/2 Teaspoon Herbs de Provence

To make the meatballs heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for 4 minutes.  Stir constantly.  Add the fennel seeds and rosemary.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and transfer to a medium size bowl.  Set aside.  In a large size bowl add the ground lamb, eggs and breadcrumbs, kosher salt and pepper.  Add the onion mixture that was set aside.  Mix all of the ingredients with your hands.  Form the lamb mixture into 10 golf ball size meatballs.  Place the meatballs back into the large sauté pan and cook for 5 minutes on each side.  You will want the meatballs to be slightly browned on each side.  Remove from the sauté pan and place onto a large plate. 


To make the sauce heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium high heat.  Add the onion and garlic.  Cook for 1 minutes until soft.  Add the tomatoes and their juices.  Stir in the red pepper flakes, kosher salt, pepper, oregano and herbs de Provence.  Cook for 5 minutes.   Add the meatballs to the sauce and reduce the heat to low.  Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes until cooked through. 


To assemble the sliders just place 1 meatball on each slider bun or dinner roll and add extra sauce.  Place the top on and repeat until you have assembled all of the sliders.  Serve the extra sauce on the side.  Makes 10 sliders. 

Pineapple Guacamole

December 29, 2012

Pineapple Guacamole

If you’re having a New Year’s Eve party or needing to bring a dish to a party here is a great dip to bring.  It’s easy to make and the pineapple dresses up a basic guacamole.  It’s best to use fresh pineapple for this dip.


3 Diced Avocados

1 Cup Diced Pineapple

1/2 Cup Diced Onion

1/4 Cup Fresh Lime Juice

1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro

2 Minced Jalapeno Peppers

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Chop and dice all of the ingredients that need chopping and dicing.  Set aside.  In a large size bowl mash the avocados with a potato masher.  You will want the avocados to be somewhat chunky.  Add the salt, pepper, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, onions and pineapple.  Stir until just combined.  Serve immediately.  Serves 10

Horseradish Cheddar Cheese Ball

December 16, 2012

Horseradish Cheddar Cheese Ball

Along with serving your traditional cheese platter think about adding a Horseradish Cheddar Cheese Ball.  It is unique, but not overpowering.  It’s easy to make, but will look like you spent all day crafting it.  This cheese ball is great for holiday parties as well as a pre-dinner appetizer.  Serve with any type of crusty bread, vegetables or crackers that you prefer. If you are vegetarian then leave out the bacon crumbles.



8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

3/4 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Onion

1 Tablespoon Prepared Horseradish

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley

1 1/2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

3 Cooked Bacon Slices – Crumbled

1/3 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts


In a large size bowl mix together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, horseradish, crumbled bacon, parsley, Worcestershire, kosher salt and pepper.  Form the cheese mixture into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.  Chill in the fridge overnight.  Place the chopped walnuts into a medium size bowl.  Remove the cheese ball from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and roll the cheese ball in the walnuts so that it is coated evenly.  Serves 10

Grilled Bruschetta

December 12, 2012

Grilled Bruschetta

Holiday entertaining is fun, but can be a lot of work.  My Grilled Bruschetta is easy to make and looks beautiful arranged on an appetizer plate.  They make a nice little lunch as well. 


12 Thick Slices Crusty Italian Bread

6 Large Halved Garlic Cloves

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Chopped Tomatoes

1/2 Cup Chopped Basil

12 Teaspoon Kosher Salt


Preheat your oven to broil.  Place the bread pieces on a grill pan and place in the oven for 2 minutes per side.  Remove from the oven and rub each side with the garlic.  Drizzle the olive oil over each piece of bread.  Place the chopped tomatoes on top of each piece of bread and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Place back under the broiler for 45 seconds.  Remove from the oven and arrange on a serving platter.  Garnish with chopped basil and serve.  Makes 12


Ribs With Peaches

September 23, 2012

Ribs With Peaches

These ribs are great for dinner.  Just put them in the slow cooker in the morning and when you come home from work you and your family will have a delicious meal.  If you are having a party these ribs make a good appetizer. 


4 Pounds Pork Spareribs

1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1/4 Cup Ketchup

1/4 Cup White Vinegar

2 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

15 Ounces Cubed Cling Peaches With Juice

Preheat your oven to broil.  Put the ribs onto a foil lined broiler pan and broil for 10 minutes.  Cut the ribs into serving size pieces.  Place into your slow cooker.  In a medium size bowl combine the brown sugar, ketchup, white vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and cubed peaches with their juice.  Pour the mixture over the ribs and cover.  Cook on low for 10 hours. If you don't have a slow cooker then put them in the oven at 250° for 4 to 5 hours. Remove and transfer to a serving platter.  Serves 4

Cheesy Quesadillas

July 10, 2012

Cheesy Quesadillas

It’s hot out and who wants to turn on the oven.  Serve with my Chunky Guacamole and you’ve got a quick no-fuss dinner.  These quesadillas can also be served as an appetizer or a light lunch.  Easy to double or triple this recipe too. 



2 Large Flour Tortillas (8 Inches)

1 Cup Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese

2 Tablespoons Minced Jalapenos

Olive Oil

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt


Heat a large non-stick skillet over a medium heat for 3 minutes.  Put 1 tortilla in the skillet and cook for 2 minutes until soft and puffed slightly at the edges.  Turn the tortilla over and cook for another 2 minutes.  Remove the tortilla and place on a cutting board.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and 1 tablespoon minced jalapenos over half of the tortilla.  Make sure to leave about 1/2 inch boarder around the edges.  Fold the tortilla in half over the filling.  Press to flatten.  Brush the tops generously with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with the kosher salt.  Set aside and repeat the process with the second tortilla.  Place the quesadillas back in the skillet with the oiled side down.  Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat until crisp and browned.  Brush the tops with the remaining oil and sprinkle lightly with the remaining kosher salt.  Turn the quesadillas and cook for another 2 minutes until crisp and browned.  Remove the quesadillas and place back on the cutting board.  Let cool for 4 minutes. If you don’t let the quesadillas cool the cheese will ooze out when cut. Cut into quarters and serve with Chunky Guacamole.  Serves 4

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