Sombrero Chicken Salad

We had a guest blogger try out a Life of the Party recipe for us recently as we promote our new available e-book! Thank you, Cyndi!!
As spring is starting to blossom and summer is inevitably around the corner, I wanted to make a nice refreshing salad. I am a sucker for pasta salad, so when I saw “Sombrero Chicken Salad” in the Junior League of Tampa’s, “Life of the Party” cookbook, I knew I was going to get just what I was looking for! Most of the ingredients I actually had on hand, so I grabbed just a few things that I needed at the store and was excited to get the chicken marinating in the delicious cilantro/lime based dressing. It was simple and took no time at all.
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As the chicken marinated I finished some of the daunting spring cleaning and before I knew it the chicken was ready to be grilled. I chopped up the spicy jalapeno, green onion, and tomato, then got the beans and corn ready. Pasta was cooking as I was chopping, so I strained it and added it to the big bowl. Using the extra marinade I tossed it in as a dressing and mixed it up thoroughly. The recipe called for me to throw the chicken on the grill, but I am not much of a grill-smith, so I used my stove top grill pan instead. The key here is to cook it nice and slow, just like the grill does, you don’t want it to cook the outside too fast.
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Once the chicken was done, about 7-8 minutes on each side. I sliced it up into bite size pieces and tossed it in with the salad. I couldn’t help myself but to dive in for a bite, the chicken is so juicy and flavorful. I can’t wait to be invited to a BBQ this summer so I can add this to my list of favorite items! Thanks Junior League for a delicious and easy recipe to bring me just what I needed! 
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The Life of the Party is available now through Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and iBooks!


Grilled Scallops in Coconut Curry Sauce

Grilled Scallops in Coconut Curry Sauce

It’s that time of year again when some of us are looking for dinner options for meatless Fridays.  I knew I would find just the right option in one of my Junior League cookbooks. I came across this dinner option in Every Day Feasts and it didn’t disappoint. This is a wonderfully flavorful recipe without being too complicated…my kind of recipe! I paired my kabobs with Jasmine rice as an entree but this recipe can easily be used as an appetizer as well!

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Grilled Scallops from Every Day Feasts

1 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1 pound sea scallops

Coconut Curry Sauce

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons minced shallots

1 tablespoons curry powder

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dried crush red pepper

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

For the scallops, combine the orange juice and basil in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the scallops and turn to coat. Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning once. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning. Remove the scallops and discard the marinade. Thread the scallops onto the skewers and grill over medium to high heat until firm and opaque, turning once.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until softened. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute or until the aroma from the curry is released, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the basil, salt and red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

Yield: 4 main-dish servings or 8 appetizer servings

First-Ever Junior League E-book

The Junior League of Tampa Publishes First-Ever E-book

Women leading change, move popular cookbooks to a new digital platform.

It was more than 50 years ago when The Junior League of Tampa, Inc. published its first cookbook as means to fund their programs and projects. Now, advancing with new technology, The League has released its first-ever e-book—The Life of the Party.LOPiPad

The Life of the Party cookbook, originally published in 2003, is Volume I in a series from The Junior League of Tampa’s Culinary Collection. This colorfully unique body of delicious recipes, embraces the attitude that less is more; less time spent in the kitchen and more time with your guests. It’s with that same theme, that the evolution of Life of the Party to an e-book came about.

“We are very proud to be the first Junior League to publish an e-book cookbook,” said Ashley Hoff, Cookbook Co-Chair. “We’ve done the research and realize that to keep up with the busy nature of people’s daily lives, we need to offer our books in a fresh, new way that makes it easy to access and appeals to all audiences.”

This e-book cookbook is a welcomed addition to the award-winning cookbook series, which also includes The Gasparilla Cookbook, EveryDay Feasts and Savor the Seasons.

For 88 years, the Junior League of Tampa has been committed to community service and volunteerism. In that time, The League has leveraged cookbooks, as a fundraiser and a way to spread awareness throughout the community. Since its humble beginning, with 22 women, The League has grown and transitioned to more than 700 active members and devotes more than 60,000 hours of service to the community each year, while spending more than $250,000 annually on projects.

The e-book is available for download on more than 50 digital stores including the Amazon Kindle Store, iBooks, Kobo and the Barnes & Noble NOOK Bookstore. It retails for $10.99. Proceeds from the sale of this cookbook will be reinvested in the Tampa community through The League’s projects and programs.


eBook Picture

JLT President, VP of Finance and Cookbook Chairs download the e-book at a 1920s themed Life of the Party celebration.

Download Life of the Party E-book Today!

If you live in Florida you know that spring means two things; outdoor entertaining and strawberries!

The produce section is brimming with beautiful red berries and special prices that assure you strawberry season is in full effect.

The Life of the Party cookbook is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year and is now available in e-book form through Kindle, Nook, and soon to be available in iTunes! I can’t think of a better way to welcome spring and celebrate the Life of the Party than with this Strawberry Festival Salad. Refreshing, bursting with flavor, and so light that you can still feel fantastic in your swimsuit! Cheers to The Life of the Party!

More on our release coming soon!

Bacon and Swiss Tarts…. did someone say BACON?

Jane, from our cookbook committee, tried a new appetizer from our Culinary Collection!

I chose a simple recipe from Savor the Seasons to try for the first time. Bacon and Swiss Tarts sounded like the perfect savory treat for us. There are few ingredients and it isn’t the kind of recipe that keeps you in the kitchen forever.

I gathered all of my ingredients, chopped my tomatoes and mixed up the filling for my tarts. After that, I greased my mini muffin pan and started placing the biscuit dough in each hole. The recipe was perfect to fit into all of the 36 of the muffin spaces on my baking pan. Because the biscuits will rise when baking, be careful not to overfill your tarts. I had a few that were over filled and they turned out a little lopsided. The baking time of the recipe was spot on with my oven and, as you can see in the pictures, they are colorful on the plate to serve. They would make a great brunch recipe, as well as, a starter for your meal.

My husband and I really enjoyed these. I am a southern girl, so I love anything with biscuit dough! If you want to try these at home here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Bacon and Swiss Tarts

1 (10-count) can flaky biscuits

8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped

½ small onion, chopped

3 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

½ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon basil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each biscuit into thirds and press into greased miniature muffin cups. Combine the bacon, tomatoes, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil in a bowl and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cups. Do not overfill. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.


Twist on a Popular Dip: Hot and Spicy Spinach Dip

Amy shares on of her pre-party secrets for last minute get togethers!

No matter the occasion…. March Madness, St Patrick’s Day, or just because, this dip will be a party favorite anytime of year. It’s warm and creamy with a “kick”. Short on time? Make this ahead of time, as I did here for an impromptu party. Follow the recipe as instructed below but don’t bake the dip but freeze it instead. When you’re ready to use it simply pop it in the oven before your guests arrive. They’ll never know! Serve with crackers, chips or bread of your choice…or all three.

Hot and Spicy Spinach Dip

The Life of the Party, pg 43

½ onion, finely chopped

½  cup, (1 stick) butter

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained

8 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 (14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, chopped

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese

Sauté the onion in the butter in a large skillet until tender.  Add the spinach, cream cheese, sour cream and parmesan cheese, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper; remove from the heat. Pour into a baking dish. Top with the Pepper Jack Cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. You may also microwave on high for 4 to 5 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot with assorted crackers and bread slices. Yields 12 servings

Pork Chops a la Margaret

We recently exhibited at the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic expo featuring all of our cookbooks and fielding quite a few questions about The Junior League of Tampa and our mission. Thank you to everyone who came out to pay us a visit and try one of our tasty recipes!


One of our committee members, Lauren, tried one of our Gasparilla cookbook recipes and shared her own addition to the meal below.

I made one of the recipes found in the Gasparilla Cookbook for dinner last night…. PORK CHOPS A LA MARGARET!

It was dee-licious!  The only change I made was to use Heinz Ketchup (I am from Pittsburgh!) that has jalapeno peppers in it.  It gave it a bit of a kick.  I served it over linguine noodles with a side serving of zucchini. I sliced the zucchini lengthwise, arranged them on a baking sheet, brushed them with olive oil, topped the slices with a mixture of finely chopped onion, Panko breadcrumbs and dry Ranch Dressing mix, and then topped that with shredded cheese. I then put the zucchini under the broiler until the cheese is melted, the zucchini is tender and the topping is slightly browned.
Pork Chops a la Margaret
The recipe was really easy to follow and tasted really great! If you are looking for something different to make tonight, I highly recommend the Pork Chops a La Margaret!
Pork Chops a la Margaret
Gasparilla Cookbook, page 117
8 pork chops
1/2 cup catsup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
Brown chops on both sides. Place in casserole dish or oven-proof platter. Assemble sauce and pour over pork chops. Cook in 325 degrees over for 1 1/2 hours. Serve over hot noodles. Serves 8.