Appetizer · Brunch · entertaining · main dish · Sandwich · Side dish

Around our Table

We are traditionalists on most holidays. The same foods are usually served each year on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But you know what? Sometimes it’s really fun to break out of that “mold” and do something completely different! That’s what happened this year.

My daughter hosted us for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and she and her sister did all the food. Not only did I not contribute to the meal, I wasn’t allowed to lift a finger. That was a gift in itself. They are the sweetest.

Here are the meals they planned and prepared.

Christmas Eve night, they had all appetizers. (BTW, This would make a great menu for New Year’s Eve, too!)

From Monte Cristo Sliders, Chicken sliders (something like these), Cocktail Wieners and Pizza Dip it was a delicious spread.

We had a mid-morning brunch on Christmas morning. The egg casserole Whitney made was a.maz.ing! It had all the brunchy feels to it and balanced out the sweetness of the Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls that Alli and her husband made! What a way to start the day!

Here was the menu for supper
Steak with Texas Roadhouse seasoning, and Crispy Onion Straws
Roasted potatoes with Blue Cheese
Caesar Salad

Learn from a 5-year old how to eat a cookie. Fill your plate with your favorites. Look carefully at the cookie to decide which corner to attack first. Then go in and nibble away until completely devoured!

After church yesterday we were blessed to host everyone for Sunday dinner. It was very impromptu, but I made a simple meal everyone loves – Soup beans and cornbread. I used the simple recipe I’ve shared here. This is such a great meal for ease and for comfort. I served it with roasted potatoes, cornbread, and cooked apples. Even our little guys love this meal.

All these meals were great, yes, but the best part was sitting around the table as a family, thanking the Lord, chatting, laughing, listening, watching, loving, caring and serving. That’s what mealtime is all about.

Plan something simple this week and invite others to join around your table. Eat slowly. Make conversation. Serve them. Love them. There’s nothing that tastes any better!

What kind of foods did your family share over Chrismtas?

Appetizer · Budget friendly meal · Main dish. · Pasta

Cheese Ravioli Appetizer/Side Dish

I have an old recipe for you today that can serve as either an appetizer OR a side dish. It can be served any time of the year, but because it’s served with a (red) marinara or spaghetti sauce, it makes a great accompaniment to a Christmas menu! This is also a budget-friendly recipe!

This Toasted Ravioli is super fast and easy, and is a true crowd pleaser. I discovered this recipe years ago in my Southern Living Cookbook. Being crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside, makes it irresistible! It’s a perfect finger food appetizer, but you can also serve it alongside a meal, as I did recently.

Toasted Ravioli

  • Packaged frozen Cheese Ravioli – Thawed
  • Seasoned bread crumbs
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • Cooking oil – Canola works well
  • Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce

Instructions:

  1. In a dish, combine seasoned bread crumbs and about half as much Parmesan cheese.
  2. In another dish, combine one egg and milk
  3. Dip ravioli in egg wash, then breadcrumbs.  Place enough oil in the bottom of a medium skillet. After it gets hot, add ravioli, a few at a time,  Toast until golden This will only take a couple of minutes.  Keep warm.  
  4. Serve with a marinara or spaghetti sauce.

I made this French Bread to go along with the meal. I broiled it until it was lightly browned and crisp. This has come to be one of my favorite breads to make because I can have bread in two hours from start to finish.

I hope you’ll add this ravioli recipe to your menu soon, then let me know what you thought about it!

Appetizer · Easy recipe · Fast meal · Fish

Mock Sushi Appetizer

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It’s crazy how our taste buds “grow up” as we do, isn’t it? I feel like I’ve ventured out a whole lot more in recent years, enjoying more spice than I ever would have tolerated. My husband has definitely branched out in his food choices. He grew up on the basic meat and potatoes diet, and then he married a girl who loves to try new recipes each week! He’s been so accommodating and has willingly tried everything I put on the table.

One area we’ve both grown to appreciate is sushi – him even more so than me. I love the fish – I don’t always love the additions. Knowing his love for sushi, I decided to venture out and try an easy “sushi” kind of appetizer for our Valentine’s dinner. Wow! We both LOVED it!

This recipe is from one of my favorite food blogs – Skinny Taste. She calls this a Spicy California Shrimp Stack. It’s not wrapped in the sushi paper – instead, you pile each ingredient into a measuring cup, pack it in, then flip it over onto the plate. It’s then topped with a drizzle of soy sauce and Sriracha Mayo. If you don’t have Sriracha, don’t worry – I used hot sauce in its place and it was delicious!

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My stacks aren’t quite as pretty as hers, but my measuring cups aren’t straight sides – they’re sloped, so my are more like “domes” than stacks! It didn’t change the taste, and that’s all that matters!! Here’s the simple recipe and instructions I found on her site:

Spicy California Shrimp Stack – From Skinny Taste

  • 1 1/3 cups cooked brown rice – I usually always make extra and keep it in the freezer. So handy!
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 8 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled and tails removed
  • 1 cup diced cucumber, about 1 small
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup mashed avocado, about 1 medium
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise – I used light mayo
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce – I used hot sauce

Directions:

  • Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.  When rice is done, add rice vinegar and stir.  Evenly spread rice on a sheet pan to cool.
  • Cut shrimp into 1-inch cubes. In a small bowl, combine cucumber and chives. In another small bowl, combine mayonnaise and sriracha sauce.
  • Using a 1 cup dry measuring cup, layer ¼ cup cucumber, then 2 tablespoon of avocado, then ¼ of the shrimp, and 1/3 cup rice.
  •  Carefully turn the cup upside down to turn the stack out onto a plate, lightly tapping the bottom of the cup if necessary.  Sprinkle with Furikake and drizzle with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and sriracha mayonnaise.
  •  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

This was a great appetizer, but would be a wonderful lunch, too! I’m still dreaming about the way it tasted with that spicy mayo on top. Mmmm. I can’t wait to make it again!

Are you a sushi eater? If you like shrimp cocktail, I think you’ll love this recipe!

What food do you eat today that you wouldn’t have eaten in years past?

Appetizer · Bread · Mentoring

Homemade Pita Bread

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If you’ve read my blog for more than a week, you know I love bread!  I love eating it, making it and I enjoy trying to bake lots of different kinds!

When I was planning a dinner this summer that included Greek Chicken, I thought about trying to make my own Pita Bread. I know you can buy it, but the last time I did, I could NOT get the pocket to separate so it could be stuffed with fillings!  Also, they’re usually dry and tasteless!  So I set out looking for a recipe that sounded perfect and doable!

Well, friends, that search led me to the best tasting Pita Bread I’ve ever put in my mouth! Honestly, every time I eat one I feel like I’m eating a pastry! The little bit of honey added gives it just the perfect taste of sweetness! Continue reading “Homemade Pita Bread”

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Freshen Up Friday

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Whenever we have a special event at church like a shower or ladies’ gathering,  some incredible food is always involved!  One of those components is a serving dish full of a yummy, Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip.  It’s great on Pretzel Chips or tortilla chips (or even straight out of the bowl!).

At our recent Ladies’ Night during revival meetings this week, we served this and I had so many requests for the recipe, I decided to share it here to freshen up your Friday and your entire life!!!  This is so good, it could easily become your signature dish that you bring to events!!!

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
Ingredients:
2 (16 oz) packages of frozen chopped spinach
4 regular size cans (13 ¾ oz) artichoke hearts or ½ of a large jar of marinated artichoke hearts (found at Sam’s Club)
2 cups mayonnaise
1 (16 oz carton) sour cream
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
3 cups Mexican blend cheese or pepper jack cheese
4 tablespoons hot sauce (May use more or less depending upon preference)
4 tablespoons chopped garlic

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease casserole dish with non-stick spray
Heat spinach in microwave for 5 minutes. Squeeze spinach to remove all excess water and pat dry.
Drain artichoke hearts and coarsely chop them. (May use food processor)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl reserving ½ cup parmesan cheese.
Stir well and pour into casserole dish.
Garnish with remaining parmesan cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until done.
Serve warm with your favorite chips. Makes 10 to 12 cups of dip.

You could, of course, halve the recipe if you don’t need to feed a crowd, but then again, you might wish you had that huge bowlful once you taste it!  It’s SOOOOO good!

Hope you have a great weekend!  I have a fun activity planned in mine.  I’ll tell you about it next week!

Stay refreshed,

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