Living in Florida allows us to celebrate Spring early and enjoy the outdoors to its fullest before the heat sends us back indoors. I took advantage of the weather today before another “cold front” sets in and planned a lunch menu over my morning coffee. I ran to the store to collect my ingredients and since my genius planning was last minute I begged my Mom to join me, who was an easy sell because I knew she’d say yes to sipping a cocktail while I cooked her lunch.
Knowing I only had one guest, I picked a quick, light and fruity cocktail so I wouldn’t be the Mixologist and Chef. I chose the Champagne Lime Cooler from Capture the Coast; she never knew all I did was dump everything in a pitcher. It was delicious! I then lead her outside to enjoy the weather with her grand-pups.
When I was searching for recipes, I scoured all five Junior League cookbooks I own. I wrote down every item’s book and page number I was interested in creating and in a weird coincidence, all three I decided on came out of Savor the Seasons. Everything I made was so easy. My timing was somehow impeccable and everything flowed smoothly (completely unplanned). I surprisingly had a nice portion of the ingredients at home before I hit the store. A trick I always use when cooking multiple items is choosing a menu that shares similar ingredients. I do this to cut down on the cost of groceries and do without half-cut food chillin’ in the fridge and then, feeling guilty for throwing it away a week later. I cut all of these recipes in half since there were only two of us, sans the cocktail, but we still could have fed 4-6 people. I started with the Toasted Brie Chicken Tea Sandwiches because chicken salad is a go-to lunch staple from our southern roots.
When bread is involved in a menu, I know I can survive on finger foods… I tried the Hot Shrimp and Avocado along with the Crab and Brie Dip with Artichokes with whole wheat crackers. The ingredients I shared between these items were the onion, mayonnaise and brie; about a $10.00 savings. The dip asked for a sweet onion but I borrowed half of the regular white onion used for the shrimp dish since I was cutting the recipe in half.
We became stuffed quite quickly with our bellies full of champagne but enjoyed every bite. The leftovers worked out perfectly because I had snacks to peruse while watching TV Sunday evening! Now that I have a list of recipes I didn’t choose for today, I’m well planned ahead for the next nice sunny Tampa day!
All of the recipes in this blog can be found in The Junior League of Tampa’s Cookbook Collection, available for sale at http://www.jltampa.org/cookbooks.