Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Potato Salad with Bacon

This is a pretty simple recipe, which I adjusted because I don't like mayo.  Hopefully the absence of it evens out the additional calories added by the bacon!

3 lbs cubed red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled
1 package bacon
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh chives (can substitute scallions if you can't find chives)
1 1/2 cups sour cream
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp salt

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover.  Season the water with a dash of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Drain and let cool.

Cook the bacon in a skillet until very crisp.  Drain on paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, red bell pepper, and chives.  Using a separate bowl, mix the vinegar, sour cream, garlic powder, sugar, salt & pepper.  Pour mixture over the potatoes, tossing gently to coat.  Once you have mixed it thoroughly, crumble the bacon over the potato salad and mix in.

Tips:  Add more sour cream if you like it creamier than this.  Many potato salads also have mustard and/or pickles, I've omitted those here but you can add those too, if that's what you're into!

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Threesome of Sliders

While preparing to have people over for a sporting event (the madness!), I wondered to myself, what is the perfect meal to serve sports enthusiasts?  I decided to make a trio of sliders (served throughout the day).

First, I made a pulled pork slider, which is one of my specialties (you can find the recipe on this site:
Next, I made a panko crusted buffalo chicken slider.  I did not post this recipe since it was really simple.  I used thinly sliced chicken, which I coated in egg and panko crumbs, then fried and dipped in a standard buffalo sauce.  I served this with a bacon potato salad (I did post that recipe).
Finally, I made a grilled hanger steak, which I seasoned with a variety of peppercorns, sliced thinly and served it on garlic toast with sliced gouda.
Many sandwiches were had by all!  This is a simple and fun menu to prepare.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Leah's Sweet & Tangy Pulled Pork

I know this violates the tenets of the Carolinas in regards to the vinegar versus sweet sauce debate, but personally I like mixing the two styles to create an intense flavor.  I serve this on tiny Hawaiian sweet rolls that you can find at your local grocery store.

1 pork shoulder or Boston Butt pork roast, 5-6 lbs
4-5 cups ketchup
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or plain vinegar if you can't find the cider one)
1/2 cup liquid smoke
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk sauce together in a large bowl until ingredients are combined, feel free to adjust the ingredients for flavor (smoke, sweet, sour, all are components here).

Place roast in a slow cooker.  Pour about 1/3 to 1/2 the sauce over the roast, just enough so that it has a sauce to cook in, and reserve the rest.  Cook the roast at low for 6-7 hours, or on high for about 5-6 hours, until the pork shreds easily (these times are not exact and will depend on the roast and/or your crockpot).

When the roast is ready to shred, pour off the sauce (which will be relatively greasy) and discard.  Place roast on cutting board for about 5-10 minutes, until cool enough to handle.  At this time, if desired, toast Hawaiian buns either in the oven or the toaster (they will hold up to the sauce better if slightly toasted).

Once the roast has cooled slightly, use a knife to cut it into several large pieces.  It should fall apart very easily, if it does not, it may need more time.  This is where it gets messy!  I've learned from years of practice that shredding the roast is easiest when done by hand (thus the term, pulled pork!).  Using your hands, pull the meat apart, discarding any strips or bits of fat that are attached to the meat.  Place the shredded pork back in the crockpot.

When you have shredded all of the pork, pour the reserved sauce over it, then mix and serve!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast

The combination of a bone-in roast and the salt herb crust make this an incredibly moist, flavorful roast.  Don't be frightened by the amount of salt - kosher salt is more mild than regular salt and does not sink in the same way. Because this roast has a natural curve with the bone beneath it, the cookie sheet will act as a roasting pan, and you don't have to worry about drippings as the meat retains almost all of the moisture!

  • 1 5-6 lb bone-in standing rib roast, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/8 cup fresh thyme leaves 
  • 1/8 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/8 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Place the rib roast onto a flat, covered cookie sheet. Combine the salt, olive oil, garlic, herbs, and pepper in a food processor and blend until they form a coarse paste.  Smear the paste all over the roast and massage into the meat with your hands.

Place the rib roast into the pre-heated 450 degree oven for 30 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and roast for an additional hour to an hour and a half. The internal temperature should read 135 degrees when removed from the oven for a nice, medium-rare roast.  Remove from the oven and let the roast rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing.

This is great served with a simple au jus and mashed potatoes!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Speakeasy Party

I decided to host a murder mystery party. The game I purchased was by the brand "How to Host a Murder", and the theme was the 1920's, in Chicago. This is the game - How to Host a Murder: The Chicago Caper
For most of these murder mystery games, you have to have an exact number of attendees (in this case, 8). The game came with invitations and envelopes, so I sent them out. In this day and age, receiving a physical invite in the mail is kind of a big deal, and people responded accordingly, probably guilted into RSVP'ing by the effort I had put into buying stamps.

I created a sign for the door, "Torchy's Gin Joint - Password Required for Entry.  Please check guns at the door."

Then I moved the furniture around and decorated my apartment like a speakeasy. I got a bunch of fun signs and cut-outs at the party store, and purchased silver and black decorations to hang from the ceilings and over the doorways. I also purchased some cheap silver tablecloths and used them to cover the blinds, giving the whole place a glitzy, dance hall atmosphere.
I filled the bathtub with water and threw in some food coloring and ginger ale, then placed a sign, "Torchy's Bathtub Hooch - Drink at your own risk!"

My friends all showed up dressed in appropriate 1920's costumes.  The characters (described in detail in the game) were all assigned in advance, so everyone knew what their attire should be like.  I was playing Torchy, the seductive lounge singer and gin joint owner.
Next, I planned a dinner menu suited for the 1920's. In retrospect, it probably would have been smarter to just make appetizers, as it was kind of a hassle to serve a sit-down meal in the middle of the game, but everyone enjoyed it. I also served period appropriate cocktails (look for the dinner & cocktail menus in the menu portion of this site).

My guests took the evening quite seriously, and when they first arrived, spent time mingling while in character, introducing themselves and elaborating on the stories they already knew about their characters.
One mistake I made was serving way, way too many drinks before we started the game. I would recommend starting the game shortly after everyone arrives, or you may have drunk party guests that lose their concentration frequently, causing the game to go on way too long. Not that my friends would ever let that happen to them...
Another word of advice - if you serve cake, try not to let the entire table burst out laughing as one guest proceeds to choke on it. Yes, it's very ironic that someone could choke on cake, but sometimes the ensuing hilarity can cause one to forget to apply the proper life saving measures. Mike did not actually die that night, but it was a close call, and he certainly didn't deserve to be mocked for getting some dessert stuck in his craw.
created a 20's dance mix, filled with the most popular jazz hits of the time. It gave an authentic feel to the evening, having those catchy tunes playing in the background. I also printed out instructions for dancing The Charleston, The Foxtrot, and other famous dances of the decade
Reportedly, this entire outfit came from a thrift store, but it's hard to believe considering the perfect fit and panache it took to wear it.
Kyle got this flashy teal shirt at the Salvation Army for a dollar.... the hat came from the party store, also a dollar.

If you overserve your guests, this is what they may look like by the end of the night.
By the time the evening was over, we had discovered the murderer amongst us, stuffed ourselves to the gills with food and alcohol, and danced the Charleston. All in all, a great success!
A footnote:  We bought an authentic bottle of moonshine for the occasion. A couple of days later, Kyle decided to try to finish the bottle off. After a number of shots, he fell on the floor, declared that he had gone blind, and began to laugh.  That laughter soon turned to tears.

Kyle now states for the purposes of this blog that he will never drink moonshine again. I've posted this public service ad below, to warn of the dangers of this enticing and potentially toxic elixir.

Speakeasy Cocktail Menu







Speakeasy Dinner Menu

Check out the party ideas section to see how I used this menu for a speakeasy party.





CORNISH GAME HEN (fresh innards available for two bits)


RIVERBED STUFFING (seasoned with Chicago river water)

BUTCH’S MASHED POTATOS (don’t ask what happened to Butch)

GREEN BEANS (fried hog added upon request)


GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE (not touched by actual Germans)


BLOOD ON MY CHOCOLATE (don’t ask whose blood)


Leah's Pineapple Right Side Up Cupcakes

I love pineapple upside down cake, and one day I thought, why not make it in cupcake form?  This is very easy and even looks pretty when it's done!


1 box of yellow cake mix
(plus ingredients needed on back, depends on the brand)
2 large cans of sliced pineapples, drained

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

1 cup butter

Prepare cake mix as directed. Pour equal amounts of cake mix into muffin pans or ready bake aluminum bake cups (the larger muffin size), filling the cups about halfway.

Mix brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle about a teaspoon over each cupcake. Then melt the butter in a microwave safe container, and drizzle a little bit of the butter over the brown sugar topped cupcakes.  Reserve any remaining butter for later.  Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for just about 10 minutes, or until the cupcakes start to rise.

Remove the pan from the oven and gently drop one slice of pineapple on top of each cupcake.  They should fit perfectly on top.  Sprinkle the rest of the brown sugar over the top of the pineapple.

Cook for about another 10-15 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes are slightly brown. After you remove them from the oven, some of the brown sugar may have sunk into the middle.  For those cupcakes, you may need to add a bit more brown sugar and drizzle with any remaining butter so that the brown sugar doesn't fall off.  Allow cakes to cool for at least 5 minutes so they can set.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Patatas Bravas

This is one of my favorite things to order when I go to a tapas restaurant.  It took me a couple of tries to get it right, the most important thing is to get the potatoes very, very crispy.

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 large Russet potatoes, peeled, and cut to 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz) sour cream
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
The sauce:
In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft. Turn off the heat, and add the paprika, Tabasco sauce, and thyme, stirring well. Transfer to a bowl and add the tomato sauce and sour cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet, fry the potatoes in olive oil until cooked through and golden-brown, stirring occasionally. Take care when adding the potatoes to the saucepan because the oil will splatter due to the salt. Drain the potatoes on paper towels, check the seasoning, add more salt if necessary, and set it aside.

Mix the potatoes with the sauce immediately before serving to ensure that the potatos retain their crispness.

Tips: Make sure to cut the cubes small and get the oil really hot, so that these get properly crisped.  Also, if you so choose you can make this a bit hotter by adding more tabasco.  I've also seen this with the sauce served on the side. Enjoy!

Cake Balls (yes, that's really the name!)

The name is unfortunate, but the dessert is delicious! It does take a bit of work, see my tips below for ways to make this more efficient.

1 (18.25-ounce) boxed cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box
1 (16-ounce) can prepared frosting
Almond Bark Coating
Decorations (your choice!)

Bake the cake according to package instructions. While warm, crumble the cake into a bowl. Mix in frosting to make a paste, using 3/4 to a full can of frosting, according to taste. Then, chill the mixture for at least 2 hours.

Using a melon baller or your hands, form the mixture into 1 ½ -inch balls. Place the balls on wax paper and freeze at least 6 hours.

Melt almond bark in microwave, being careful to stir or it will scorch. Heat until just melted. Working in small batches, remove the balls from the freezer and dip into warm, melted coating, using a fork to manipulate the balls. Place on wax paper to harden.  God, this is sounding sexy...

For decoration, fill a narrow-tip squeeze bottle with a contrasting color of melted coating and paint stripes over the balls, or sprinkle on rainbow sprinkles, colored sugar or finely chopped nuts.

Tips: Don't bite off more than you can chew! The first time I made this, I decided to make three different flavors of cake. I didn't sleep for days. Three sets of balls is a lot for one lady to handle.

Pre-dipped cake balls can be kept frozen for weeks. Dipped balls will keep at room temperature, but if you refrigerate them, they will sweat. Also, you may need to double dip if you are using white chocolate, or if the balls crack or have imperfections.

Finally, these are intended to look & taste like truffles, but with a cake-like texture. Be creative -you can add liqueur by drizzling about 1/4 cup of rum, Bailey's or some other tasty alcohol over the finished cake before you add the frosting. Or get creative with the cakes + frosting combinations. You can do anything with these cake balls - just don't do all the steps in one day, or there won't be any time or energy left for everyone's favorite type of balls!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Queso de Cabra

Toasted garlic bread dipped in creamy goat cheese and tomato sauce - this is a go-to recipe, delicious and easy!


3 garlic cloves, minced 

1/4 cup olive oil

Loaf of French bread, sliced

8 ounces goat cheese (plain, not flavored)

1 to 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
Salt & pepper


Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together garlic and olive oil. Spread over bread slices and lightly sprinkle with salt & pepper, then place on a baking sheet. 

Pat goat cheese into a 1/2-inch pancake and place in shallow baking dish. Ladle tomato sauce into dish to come up to top edge of cheese. Bake until sauce begins to bubble at edges and cheese is hot, about 25 minutes. During last 10 minutes of baking, toast bread until golden brown.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chocolate Eclairs

These are pretty simple to make and taste better than the ones at the bakery!


1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 1/2 cups cold milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 450. Grease a cookie sheet.

In a saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts. Reduce heat to low and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. Spoon dough onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.

Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 20 minutes more, until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling, combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl according to package directions. In a separate bowl, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding. Cut tops off of cooled pastry shells with a sharp knife. Fill shells with pudding mixture and replace tops.

For the icing, melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and drizzle over filled eclairs.

Tips - These are best when served still warm, with the warm chocolate drizzled over them!

Charter a Party Bus

Okay, I used the word "charter" to make this sound a little more fancy than it actually is. The truth is, party buses come in both ghetto and lavish versions.
The crappy ones are like trolleys, or school buses, with bench seating and open windows. The fancier ones are like limos, with big screen televisions, funky disco lighting, stripper poles, sound systems, leather seating, and multiple bar areas.

As you can probably tell from my adoring description, I've only rented the nicer ones.
These are great for birthday parties, pub crawls, or just a wild Saturday night!  A regular party bus seats about 20-30, depending on which one you get. Expect a tight fit if you fill it to capacity, but it really won't matter, because if you play the right music, it will erupt into a dance party pretty quickly.
Both buses I've been on had an Ipod dock, so make a great dance mix and you'll be set.

Meeting at a bar and having the bus pick you up there is the best way to do this - that will lubricate the way for the guests, who will feel more at ease jumping into the wild light show if they have already had a couple of cocktails.

The place I most recently rented from here in Chicago had the most luxurious buses around, so I would recommend them: Emperor Limousine

There were other companies that were cheaper, but after some research I learned that their buses were older and did not offer a lot of the same amenities (light up stairs?!  we needed those!).
A word of caution - negotiate! The advertised rate for a lot of these places is $250 or more per hour, but I ended up paying about half of that because I negotiated. Also, check to see if a tip is included for the driver. Most places have a "will match any price" listed on their sites, so they expect you to forward them quotes if you get a better one.  Create a bidding war!

As far as what to do once you are on the bus, that's up to you! A bar crawl is the most obvious choice, but you could also just drive around the city in your party on wheels.
If you do decide to do a bar crawl, I would suggest getting a megaphone to keep track of your guests. It's easy to lose a liquored up party guest, especially in a crowded bar. This was a smart purchase I made a few years back, and it has come in handy more often than you might think:

The bus will come equipped with soda, water, and ice, but you will need to bring your own booze. I would also bring extra cups for mixing drinks if your friends are as thirsty as mine.

Finally, here is an example of how not to leave your bus, if you want to avoid an exorbitant cleaning fee!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spicy Southwest Salad With Grilled Chicken

  • This recipe takes a little time because of all the grilling involved, but it is very tasty!


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cobbs of corn, husked
  • 1 cup of cooked black beans
  • 1/2 small red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut in half
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Cilantro sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tortillas, deep fried while pressed in a wire basket so it is a shell shape.


Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and a bit of olive oil.  Cook on a hot, oiled grill about 5 minutes per side. Let rest and then cut into strips. Add the corn to the grill and cook on all sides until tender and slightly charred - about 7-8 minutes. Dice the chicken breast. Drizzle the corn, scallions, tomatoes and tomatoes with olive oil and place on the grill until slightly charred. Slice the red onion into slivers and also grill. Grill the limes, cut side down on the grill also. 

Dice the grilled vegetables and shuck the kernels of corn off the cobb. 

Make the dressing by combining the sour cream with chipotle and adobo and grilled lime juice and mix with a fork. Add a little olive oil to make it nice and smooth.

To mix the salad: place the chopped vegetables and diced chicken into a large bowl and combine well. Dress the salad with a little of the dressing and mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

To serve, place spoonfuls of salad into tortilla shells and garnish with sliced avocado and fresh cilantro.

Tips:  If you're in a hurry, you can use canned corn and just grill the onions, chicken and bell pepper.  Also, if you're not a fan of chipotle, this is also good with a standard southwest style ranch.

Spicy Jerk Chicken

This is a really delicious recipe and is also pretty healthy, which is a nice bonus. I like to make this with chicken drumsticks or bone in chicken pieces myself, as cooking it on the bone makes it more flavorful, but any cut of chicken will work.

6 green onions, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (or leave seeds in for more heat!)
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 pounds chicken drumsticks (or thighs, breasts, etc)

In a food processor or blender, combine the green onions, onion, jalapeno pepper, soy sauce, vinegar, vegetable oil, brown sugar, thyme, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Mix for about 15 seconds.

Place the chicken in a medium bowl, and coat with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight. Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly oil grill . Cook chicken on the prepared grill 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear.

Tips - This is definitely better if you marinate it overnight, but I've marinated it for as little as 30 minutes and it was still good! This marinade is also great on shrimp.

Tropical Itch

1 oz. Vodka
1 oz. Light Rum
1/2 oz. Orange Curacao or Grand Marnier
3 - 4 oz. Passion Fruit Juice

Combine in a shaker with a cup of ice. Shake and then pour, with ice, into a tall glass. Top with additional passion fruit juice if needed and garnish with pineapple and/or cherries.

Tips - if you cannot find passion fruit juice, you can substitute passion fruit flavored vodka (instead of the plain vodka) and then use any fruit juice (orange or lime are good) for the juice portion of the recipe.


Chocolate Irish Cream Pudding Shots

These are super easy to make and delicious! 

1 (3 1/2 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vanilla flavored vodka
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 (8 ounce) container cool whip, thawed 

Whisk pudding and milk together.  Add vodka and Irish cream, then fold in the cool whip. Divide into individual servings in glassesPlace in freezer for 5-10 minutes, then serve (or reserve in freezer until serving). 

For the effect below, double this recipe, making one batch of chocolate and one batch with vanilla pudding.  Alternate the flavors, using a pastry bag to pipe the pudding inElegant, and simple!  Top with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate shavings, cocoa powder and/or sprinkles.  Cheers!

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms with Bacon

One of my all time favorite appetizer recipes - bacon, mushrooms, cheese, jalapeno.... How can you go wrong?
4 slices bacon
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup onion - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
1/3  cup sweet red pepper - finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper -- finely chopped
3/4  cup shredded cheese
(any cheese, I like cheddar but you could also use mozzarella or bleu cheese)
Cook bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet, drain on paper towels and chop.
Remove stems from mushrooms. Reserve and finely chop 2/3 of stems. Discard
remaining stems.
Cook mushroom caps in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water, 
then drain on paper towels.
Heat butter and add mushroom stems, onion, and garlic. Cook five minutes, add
peppers and cook three minutes longer. Cool, then stir in bacon and 1/2 cup of cheese.
Spoon into caps. Bake on baking sheet at 350º for 10 minutes. When taking the
mushrooms out of the oven, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and serve!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spanish Style Beef Kabobs

Another recipe for the grill -what can I say, I am a sucker for smoky flavor!  The sauce is the key here.


Wooden skewers

2 lbs steak (any decent steak that can be cut into cubes - round steak is fine, filet is better, but when isn't it?)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Paprika Dressing

2 teaspoons paprika
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Soak skewers in water.

Cut steak into cubes.  Combine steak, garlic, parsley, lemon, salt and pepper to marinade for at least 2 hours. Bring to room temperature and drain on paper towels before cooking.

Preheat grill to high heat and oil grill.  Thread meat onto skewers.  Grill kabobs 5 to 6 minutes, turning once.

Whisk paprika dressing ingredients together and drizzle over finished plated beef skewers.  Yum!


You can substitute chicken and/or add vegetables such as mushrooms, onions and tomatoes.

Jello Shots (not just for frat parties anymore!)

Let us stop for a moment to pay homage to the jello shot, that humble alcoholic concoction that has been around for so long.

Is a jello shot a cocktail or dessert?  Is it even food at all?  Is it true about the hooves?

And does it even matter when something tastes so good, and gets you so drunk?

See below for some variations on that old friend, jello.

Traditional Jello Shot Recipe
6 ounces Jello (large package of the flavor of your choice)
16 ounces Water (boiling)
6 ounces Water (cold)
10 ounces Vodka 

Mix the jello mix with the boiling water until the powder is fully dissolved and add the cold water and alcohol. Pour the cooling mixture into either plastic shot glasses or paper cups (can be found at the grocery or party store).  Paper cups are best as the drinker can squeeze them or turn them inside-out to gain faster access to the mushy goodness inside.

You can make jello shots with almost any type of alcohol, but you should adjust the proportions of alcohol and cold water to ensure that the shot still sets. The higher the proof of the alcohol, the more water that is required for it to set.

Here is a website that offers a wealth of knowledge on the subject:   The Jello Shot Diva

More Recipes:

Caribbean Blue Jello Shots

     6 ounces Berry Blue Jello
     16 ounces Water (boiling)
     10 ounces Water (cold)

Fuzzy Navel Jello Shots
     6 ounces Orange Jello (large box)
     16 ounces Water (boiling)
     6 ounces Water (cold)
     6 ounces Peach Schnapps
Green Margarita Jello Shots
     6 ounces Orange Jello (large box)
     16 ounces Water (boiling)
     6 ounces Water (cold)
     2 ounces Lime Juice
     2 ounces Tequila
     1 ounce Blue Curaçao 

 And for more jello related fun, try making Jello Jigglers.

By adding more gelatin to your recipe, you can make any jello shot recipe into a jiggler, which isn't quite as dirty as it sounds (unless you have a specialty shaped ice cube tray, and, perhaps you do).

You can serve your jello in cubes or use cookie cutters or molds to make shapes. Then serve the jigglers on a tray, in a bowl, or even a cocktail glass.

Jello Jiggler Shot Recipe

Start by boiling 3 cups of water and dissolve a large packer of jello (6 oz size).  If you have a large measuring cup, you can use it to mix all of the ingredients for easy pouring later. 

Next add your alcohol of choice. Add a total of 2 cups of alcohol. Stir well and pour into a 9 x 13 pan or ice cube tray. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Once it is set, cut the jigglers into the shape of your choice. While the easiest option is cubes, there is lots of room to get creative. Look through your cookie cutters and see if there is a shape that either inspires you or matches you party theme. When it comes time to serve, you can serve cubes in a large punch bowl or if you are serving shapes, you can arrange them on a tray, or in mini cocktail glasses.

Fancy Fruit 

If you are looking for a classier way to serve your jello shooters, consider using fruit. Citrus fruits are great candidates - just cut the fruit of choice in half, scoop out the actual fruit and pour in the jello. To keep it from spilling in the fridge, rest the rind in a muffin tin or small bowl until it's completely chilled in the fridge. It's best to choose a jello shot that compliments the flavor of the fruit that you chose to use. 

After the jello has had a chance to gel, cut into jello shot fruit slices and serve