Birthday Party Menu

I recently threw my husband a birthday party. Usually I don’t have problems with the menu, but this one has been a pain. I won’t be serving dinner, but need to have some substantial options to balance out any drinking that will be going on. I also had to keep the menu easy for me to make after a busy week while keeping it tasty.

I had gotten a variety of feedback on the menu and had a whole range of opinions. Some said not to order chicken tenders from a local restaurant because it was childish, while others liked the idea. Some said to go with a soup while others thought it would create too many dishes, and recommended cocktail meatballs or sloppy joes instead. After much deliberation, here’s what I ended up with:

 

Spread 4-1Crock-Pot Turkey Chili (Chili has gone over well at past parties, but I thought I’d try out a new one. Though it was a bit spicy for our taste, our guests made a serious dent in the double batch), served with tortilla chips and corn fritters

Corn Fritters (the one request from my husband)

Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms

Cupcakes with Bailey’s Icing

Assorted Cookies

Baileys 2-1

I also kept a stash of crackers & cheese and frozen mini-quiches in case I need to pull anything out, but we had more than enough food thanks to a couple friends who brought an extra appetizer and lots more cookies.

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Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

These were very tasty with my morning coffee and afternoon cinnamon tea. I’ve been dying to try the recipe for a while, but I only recently found cinnamon chips at a local store. I’ve made it both with and without the cinnamon drizzle (and never used the white chocolate drizzle that the original recipe calls for) and it’s wonderful both ways.

Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

Adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens*

Makes ~24 biscotti

Ingredients:

  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 2/3 c. (a 10-oz package) cinnamon chips, divided
  • 2 tsp. shortening (don’t use butter, margarine or spread)

Preheat oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt to butter mixture, beating until smooth.  Stir in 1 c. cinnamon chips.

Divide dough into 2 logs, each about 6 inches wide. Lay a log on each baking sheet, flattening slightly and shaping as needed.

Bake 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Using serrated knife and sawing motion, cut logs diagonally into ½-inch-wide slices. (I cut carefully, right on the baking sheet, but you can also transfer to a cutting board before cutting.) Place slices back on baking sheet, cut side down. Return to oven and bake 5-6 minutes. Turn each slice and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Remove cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the remaining 2/3 c. cinnamon chips and shortening. Drizzle over each cookie.

Note: This recipe and photos were updated in March 2011.

This recipe was originally found on Hershey’s website. As of January 2019, the URL was no longer good, and therefore was removed. I was no longer able to find the recipe on their site.

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PB&J Bars

These were quite yummy, especially when slightly warm. My favorite was is that they bars stayed soft, even after a couple days.

BB's PB&J Bars 2

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars

Source: Recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten

Makes 24 bar cookies

Ingredients:

nocoupons

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 c. creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy)
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. raspberry jam or other jam (I used blackberry preserves)
  • 2/3 c. salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350.

Grease a 9×13 pan. Grease and lightly flour the pan. (You can also lay parchment paper on bottom of pan, and grease & flour that.)

Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter. Mix until all ingredients are combined.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and gradually add to peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

BB's PB&J Bars 1Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared pan and spread over the bottom with a spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small bits of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. (Note: The original recipe said that the dough would spread in the oven, but mine did not.) Sprinkle chopped peanuts on top of bar cookies and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.

BB's PB&J Bars 3

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Rich & Easy Clam Chowder

I made this a couple months ago for some friends. I don’t actually eat clam chowder and have no idea what it tastes, so this was an experiment for me. The entire pot was gone, so I guess it went well!

 

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Rich & Easy Clam Chowder

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 5
Author Liz

Ingredients

  • 3 10 ¾ oz. cans cream of potato soup
  • 2 10 ¾ oz. cans of New England clam chowder
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 pint half-and-half
  • 2 6 ½ oz. cans chopped clams
  • 1-2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours.

Recipe Notes

The original instructions say to cover and cook on low for 2-4 hours. I found that it was ready in closer to 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

This recipe was adapted from the Fix It & Forget It Cookbook.

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Hello world!

Hello!

This is my first attempt at blogging. I’m going to share two of my interests – playing around in the kitchen and curling up with a good book. I’ll post favorites, and for recipes, share adaptations. I’d love to try at least one new recipe a week and read one new book a week – a great goal for a busy schedule. I’ll also add links to some of the blogs I’ve been enjoying (I hope nobody minds!) so that you can enjoy them as well.

Thanks for reading!

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