In the January/February issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, our editor-in-chief Lauren Purcell dishes about all things dinner parties. “I’m deeply fond of theme parties,” she says, “But somehow, my theme-mania never translated to dinner parties. Until now!”
As the Queen of Cocktail Parties (she did write her own cookbook on the subject, in fact), it only makes sense that the first party Lauren wants to throw in the new year is an hors d’Oeuvres party: a small (and seated) group so everyone can be in on the same conversations, plus the festive feel you get from having a bite of this, a taste of that. Check out her three recipe picks below!
Goat Cheese and Leek Croustades
For the croustade cups
36 slices high-quality white sandwich bread
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
For the filling
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup finely chopped leeks, white and pale green parts (about 2 medium leeks)
8 ounces soft mild goat cheese
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Prepare the cups
Preheat oven to 350°F.
With a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out a round of bread from each slice. Brush one side of each round with the melted butter. Press the bread, butter side down, into the cup of a mini muffin tin. The bread will not reach the top of the cups.
Bake until the top edges are browned, 11 to 13 minutes. Remove the croustades to a wire rack to cool.
Prepare the filling
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. If the leeks begin to brown, lower the heat.
In a food processor, blend the goat cheese, olive oil, yogurt, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in leeks. Set aside.
Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat, shaking frequently, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
Return the croustade cups to the muffin tins and fill each cup with goat cheese mixture. Top with 3 to 4 pine nuts. Bake for about 5 minutes.
Makes 36 croustades.
Shrimp with Spicy Lime Dip
For the shrimp
1 pound medium shrimp
2 garlic cloves, crushed
For the spicy lime dip
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 scallions, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 small chipotle chiles in adobo, minced to a paste, plus 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime zest plus 1 tablespoon juice (1 lime)
Prepare the shrimp
Peel the shrimp and devein them, if desired. Put the garlic in a pot of generously salted water and bring water to a boil. Put shrimp in and cook until they’re pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes. (The water may not return to a boil in that time.) Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Prepare the dip
Prepare the dip: Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Makes 40 to 50 shrimp and 1 1/2 cups of dip
Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Dill Sauce
For the meatballs
1/3 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound ground lamb
1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices white bread, ground in food processor)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
For the sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
ground white pepper to taste
Prepare the sauce
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
Prepare the meatballs
Preheat oven to 450°F.
In a small, nonstick skillet, cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a big bowl. Stir in the salt, mint, allspice, and cinnamon. Add the lamb, bread crumbs, egg, cranberries, and sesame seeds and combine thoroughly (the easiest way is to use your hands).
Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. (Guests will be spearing them with toothpicks, so they should be no bigger than two bites’ worth.) Line up the meatballs on an ungreased baking sheet as you go (they can be close, just not touching). Bake just until no longer pink in the middle, 8 to 10 minutes.
Serve with the dill sauce alongside.
Makes about 32 meatballs and 1 1/4 cups sauce.
For more of Lauren’s recipes, visit her website here.
The holidays are all about luxury and indulgence, and the same should go for the cocktails you serve. This Coffee Mate is the quintessential cocktail to serve at a late night gathering around a fire. Your guests will think you’re a master mixologist when you tell them the secret ingredient: brown-sugar simple syrup!
2 oz. unsweetened plain almond milk
1 oz. cognac
1/2 oz. coffee liqueur
1/4 oz. brown-sugar simple syrup
To make the brown-sugar simple syrup, combine equal parts dark brown sugar and water in pot; heat until sugar dissolves. Cool. (Can be used in oatmeal, coffee and other fun holiday cocktails!)
To make the Coffee Mate, shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice until cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Makes 1.
More Holiday Cocktail Recipes
If you’re looking for some post-Black Friday fuel but can’t imagine fitting one more thing in your fridge, we’ve got a solution for you: Transform your Turkey Day leftovers into something extraordinary! From sweet potato casserole, to leftover turkey and green beans–to even the pumpkin pie!– there’s always a solution to remaking Thanksgiving dinner without repeating it. Try out some of these delicious recipes this weekend!
For a late breakfast or brunch: Sweet Potato Waffles with Turkey and Spicy Maple Syrup
Happy Thanksgiving! Tonight, come to dinner armed with these fun facts–your secret weapon for breaking up family tiffs, curbing chatty Cathys and rousing snoring uncles.
If you haven’t had time to plan your Thanksgiving dinner yet, drop the catering menu. We’ve got 5 easy and delicious recipes that can be on your table in just two hours, thanks to the help of the turkey breast and the microwave. Don’t believe us? Here’s a real-life testimony that proves it’s never too late for a home-cooked turkey dinner.
We couldn’t imagine a Thanksgiving day without a few tunes to help get us through the hours of prep, the overwhelming amounts of family members and the incredulous food coma. Whether it’s The Beatles blasting while you baste the turkey, or some low-key Nora Jones to help ease your indigestion, music is as essential to the holiday as the turkey. This year, music app Spotify is making our lives even easier with their Time for Turkey playlist creator.
Photo courtesy of Spotify
On the morning of, simply head over to the Spotify website, select the weight of the bird you’re cooking, choose whether or not you’re stuffing it and your favorite music genre. Spotify will create a custom playlist that is guaranteed to keep you motivated and last throughout the day and . It’s as easy as (pumpkin) pie!
We wanna know: What’s your favorite music to cook to? Tell us in the comments below!
Freezer aisle finger foods are the key to no-sweat holiday parties. With these quick, from-scratch upgrades, no one will guess you’re serving store-bought!
There are just two weeks until Thanksgiving and we’re in full dinner planning mode. But between the turkey and gravy, Grandma’s cornbread stuffing and Aunt Sue’s pumpkin pie, we have to find room for a cocktail! And that’s where the Double Orange Spritz comes in: This bright orange sipper is so simple to put together, you can even sneak away between hors d’oeuvres and turkey carving to make yourself another (no judgment!).
4 ounces chilled Campari
8 ounces chilled prosecco (or sparkling white wine)
4 ounces chilled orange soda or seltzer
Orange, sliced, for garnish
Divide Campari bewteen 2 ice-filled glasses. Top with prosecco and soda. Garnish with slices. Serves 2.
More Four-Ingredient Cocktails
For this year’s Halloween party, brew up some tabletop fun: Spray-paint plastic trick-or-treat buckets black, inside and out (flat-finish paint looks spookiest), to transform them into cauldrons. Coat flat-top wooden candle holders (available unfinished at craft stores) with the same paint and attach the cauldrons to their tops with hot glue. Now all that’s left to do is choose witch, er, which snacks to serve. (Not recommended: eye of newt.)
Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand of the popular site TheKitchn.com are famous for their tips and recipes — which is why we’re thrilled the October issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray features an exclusive sneak peek at their new The Kitchn Cookbook. It’s essentially a road map for organizing the busiest room in your house, stocking your pantry and implementing simple tweaks that will make cooking faster, more delicious and more fun. You can read the full story in the magazine — on newsstands September 9th. And in the meantime, you can whip up some of their bonus recipes they shared exclusively with us!