Celebrate the End of Summer

September 6, 2010

That is what Vanessa Nunley, a blogger who calls herself the More is More Mom, says as Labor Day marks the traditional end of summer. A great party starts with great appetizers, Vanessa adds. "I find that while the ladies like snicky snacks, the fellas prefer something a little heartier," she says. "To satisfy the tastes of everyone at your party, I have selected four recipes to share with you: Steak Crostinis; Bacon, Chicken and Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps; Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Ginger Dipping Sauce, and Roasted Red Pepper Dip. Enjoy them one at a time, or all together, for a wonderful celebration with family and friends."

For More Recipes, Entertaining Tips and Life Style Ideas visit Vanessa's website: http://moreismoremom.com

About Vanessa Nunley, the More is More Mom

A professional mother, Interior Designer, Life-Stylist and blogger, as the More is More Mom (R), Vanessa conveys her passion for gracious living and "creating meaningful life experiences.

The sole proprietor of Vanessa Nunley Designs, she brings twelve years of Interior Design expertise to her clients in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. "My goal is to help my clients develop and interpret a personal style that reflects the way they live," Vanessa says. "However, the way our homes look is only one component in our quest to live a gracious life. Another is the way in which we use our homes to create experiences with our family, friends and guests."

Entertaining guests in your home should be an event, Vanessa adds. "One of my passions is throwing fabulous soirees, which is the perfect blend of my individual philosophy about being a hostess with my personal style as an Interior Designer. I share my theories about entertaining, developing party menus and designing gorgeous tablescapes and buffets in seminars that I present to Chicago area organizations and groups," she adds.

Vanessa's interest in raising a family, interior design and entertaining led her to write a book that is ready for publication. She shares her thoughts on these subjects daily at her website; http://moreismoremom.com. She is also a daily contributor to the on-line Triblocal, and she is featured twice monthly in the Triblocal's print edition. She writes about motherhood, family life, personal style, entertaining, cooking, recipes and slice of life stories.

Contact Vanessa at moreismoremom@gmail.com

Steak Crostinis

The tender steaks and creamy topping are such tasty goodness! I love that this recipe is so simple and can be largely prepared in advance.

Please note that each strip steak will provide 12-15 appetizers.

In a mixing bowl, combine;
¾ cup mayonnaise
3 heaping tsp horseradish
6 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
Mix well, until nice and creamy, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This can be prepared a day in advance.

Slice nice crusty baguette bread approximately ½" thick for manageable, bite size pieces.
Depending on how many appetizers you are making, you may need more than one loaf of bread. My preference is to slice the bread in advance and store it in an airtight container or a re-sealable baggie (Ziploc's my favorite. This is not a paid advertisement…yet). Put aside until ready to toast and serve.

The New York strip is a very nice cut of meat. The marbling gives it a little extra flavor.
Sprinkle steaks on both sides with salt (I love sea salt) and pepper (I am highly in favor of cracked black pepper on everything).
Depending on your preference, you have two choices.
Option 1: Pre-heat your grill to medium. Cook each side for approximately 4-5 minutes for medium-rare. Let stand for 10 minutes. Trim off any uneven edges before slicing ¼" pieces.
Option 2: In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. . Let stand for 10 minutes. Trim off any uneven edges before slicing ¼" pieces.
Toast Crostini while steaks cook.
Finely chop 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley.

Arrange toasted baguette slices on a platter.
Place a small dollop of topping on each slice of bread.
Put a slice of steak on each Crostini.
Top each slice of steak with another dollop of the creamy topping.
Generously sprinkle with parsley.

Bacon, Chicken and Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps

A delicious mouth full! Again, like the Boy Scouts, my motto is…Be Prepared. You can make everything in advance and assemble right before you are ready to serve. What could be more beautiful and easier than that?

This recipe will produce approximately 24 appetizers.

Who doesn't love bacon? You'll want to cook about 10 slices of your favorite flavor (I like a smoked bacon); 6 to mix in to the salad and 4 to chop and sprinkle on top when you're ready to serve.
You can certainly fry the bacon in a skillet, but I love to bake it in the oven on 350° for about 30 minutes. You can cook a lot of bacon in a short amount of time that way. I make 2 lbs at a time and store in the fridge in an air tight container. Then you can just warm it up in the micro as needed. It's so easy to simply line a lipped baking sheet with aluminum foil, evenly place the slices so they are close, but not quite touching, cook and toss the foil in the trash when you are finished. Wipe the baking sheet with paper towel and wash out the pan. Cinchy!

Place one 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover slightly and poach until cooked completely through, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool until easy to handle. Cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Pre-heat oven to 400°
In a large mixing bowl, toss;
4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp olive oil
¾ tsp salt (kosher or sea)
¾ tsp cracked black pepper

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil
Evenly spread potatoes
Roast until golden and tender, approximately 30-40 minutes
Cool slightly and transfer to a large mixing bowl
In the large mixing bowl with the potatoes, add;
6 slices of bacon, chopped
Chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onion (your choice; red, Vidalia, scallions)
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Optional: 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (depends on how much you like cheese)

In a separate bowl, combine;
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 sage leaves chopped
Mix until smooth and creamy

Dressing to bacon, chicken and potato mixture. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In order to get 24 appetizer size portions of lettuce, you'll need about 4 heads of Bibb lettuce. This doesn't have to be a waste at all; chop or tear the leaves that are too big for the appetizers into bite size pieces. Store in a re-sealable baggie lined with paper towel and serve as a salad another day. Separate the leaves you are going to use, wash and store the appetizer portion size leaves in a re-sealable baggie lined with paper towel until ready to serve.

On a decorative platter, arrange lettuce leaves.
Scoop a generous portion of salad mixture into each lettuce leaf.
Sprinkle portions with additional 4 slices of chopped, cooked bacon.

Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Ginger Dipping Sauce
There is sooooo much flavor packed into each cube of meat, not to mention the dipping sauce, it will leave your guests wanting more (and this is just an appetizer!).
One pound of pork tenderloin makes about 15 skewers (with 3 slices of meat on each).

In a re-sealable baggie (so much less mess), combine;
1 cup sliced green onion (green and white parts)
½ cup of vegetable oil
7-8 cloves of minced garlic
1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (bring on the heat)
1 Tbsp chopped, fresh ginger (Heavenly aroma)
2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 large pork tenderloin (approximately 1 ½ lbs, cut into 1" cubes)
Marinade for at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight

Over medium heat, heat up a saucepan.
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup red onion, chopped
Cook until the onion is tender, approximately 4 minutes
1 heaping Tbsp chopped ginger (sooooo fragrant)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Cook for a minute or so (until delightfully aromatic)
1 – 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, do not drain
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Bring sauce to a simmer for 10 minutes, over medium-low heat.
Pour sauce into a blender, puree until smooth.
Keep warm until ready to serve.
Garnish with chopped scallions

Soak skewers for 30 minutes.
Remove pork cubes from marinade.
Thread 3 cubes on each skewer, allowing a little space between each cube, for even cooking. Discard marinade.

Option 1: Pre-heat grill to medium. Add cubed pork skewers and cook 5-8 minutes per side.

Option 2: Pre-heat grill pan on cook top over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add pork skewers and cook 3-5 minutes per side.

Arrange artfully on a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip
This dip is delicious with veggies, pita chips, or perhaps even on a Panini sandwich….. In a blender, place;
2 - 7 oz jars of roasted red sweet peppers, drained
½ cup oil packed, sun dried tomatoes, drained and snipped
1 heaping tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp honey
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic minced
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Blend until smooth
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve

Blanch Vegetables:
Blanching brings out the beautiful color and flavors of your favorite veggies.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add kosher salt.
1 lb trimmed green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes
Remove and immediately place in an ice bath
When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water
1 lb peeled, trimmed and sliced carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes
Remove and immediately place in an ice bath
When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water
1 lb trimmed asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes
Remove and immediately place in an ice bath
When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water
3 squash, trimmed and sliced into spears in boiling water for 2 minutes
Remove and immediately place in an ice bath
When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water
3 zucchini, trimmed and sliced into spears in boiling water for 2 minutes
Remove and immediately place in an ice bath
When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water
1 lb of broccoli florettes in boiling water for 2 minutes
Remove and immediately place in an ice bath
When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water

When ready to serve, arrange veggies on a platter and dip in a bowl
Put pita chips (you can make your own or purchase the fantastic Stacy's brand pita chips) in a bowl

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.