The Life of the Party

Bananas Foster 


Are you looking for a perfect dessert recipe for the holidays? Well I found one easy one for you…bananas foster. This classic and delicious dessert is a favorite amongst everyone. 

Who doesn’t like bananas and some rum?! Anyways, here’s the recipe below and the ingredients you’ll need. Most of them you should have at home as well. Enjoy! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur 
  • 1/4 cup dark rum 
  • Dash of 151 rum 
  • Dash of cinnamon 
  • 4 firm bananas, sliced 
  • Vanilla ice cream 

Steps to make the bananas foster: 

Melt the butter in a skillet. Stir in the brown sugar. Cook until melted and well blended. Add the banana liqueur, dark rum, 151 rum, cinnamon and bananas. Cook until the bananas are warm and softened; do not let bananas get mushy. 

Scoop the ice cream into dessert bowls and top with hot banana mixture. Serve immediately. 

Capture the Coast

Fish and Bubbles Party Mix


It’s that time of year again, when the birds start chirping and the smell of summer lingers in the air. This is personally my favorite time of year because the weather is perfect and there are plenty of birthdays and events to celebrate. My Birthday is in May and since it is around the corner I want to share this amazingly fun and easy recipe with you.

Now I don’t know about you, but I often have great intentions of channeling my inner ‘Martha Stewart’ and making a fabulous dish, only to find myself in the checkout lane 5 minutes before the party. Well, if you can relate, then this is the perfect recipe for you. It is super fun and easy. Plus kids love to help make it and everyone enjoys diving in to devour it. So the next time you need to whip up a quick snack, try this party favorite. You can find this recipe in the Tampa Bay Junior League’s very own, Capture the Coast cookbook, on page 47. Enjoy!

Capture the Coast, pg 47

5 cups crispy corn and rice cereal, such as Chex

3 cups Cheerios

4 cups fish-shaped cheese crackers

2 cups fish-shaped pretzel nuggets

2 cups “M & M’s” Chocolate Candies

1 cup peanuts 1 ½ cups pecan halves or pieces

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Combine the cereals, crackers, pretzel nuggets, peanuts and pecan halves in a large bowl and mix it well.  Bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan.  Boil until frothy, stirring constantly.  Pour over the cereal mixture and toss to coat.  Spread evenly in a large roasting pan.  Bake for 10 minutes and stir.  Continue baking for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice.  Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.  Add the chocolate candies and toss well.  Store in an airtight container.

The Life of the Party

White Truffle Mashed Potatoes


Good evening! A great way to end your weekend is with this amazing white truffle mashed potato recipe. It takes some time to make but is worth every minute of it. You can find this lovely recipe in the Junior League of Tampa’s Life of The Party cookbook, pg. 67. 

What you’ll need: 

2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, cubed 

1 cup of milk or half and half 

3 tablespoons of butter

Salt to taste 

Pepper to taste 

3 tablespoons of white truffle oil 

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water in a saucepan until tender and easily pierced with a fork; drain. Spoon into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and butter. Beat until very smooth. You may add more milk if necessary for the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the truffle oil. Serve immedietly. 

To prepare in advance, spoon in a baking dish and let it cool. Chill, covered, until ready to bake. Add a small amount of additional milk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until heated through. Refrigerate after opening. 

Yields 8 servings 

This was my first time making these potatoes and I can’t wait to make them again! One mishap, I forgot to peel them but the recipe still turned out just as yummy. 

Savor the Seasons

Melon Manchego Wraps


Melon Manchego Wraps

Do you need a quick appetizer that is both delicious and impressive? Melon and prosciutto is a classic Italian treat, but add in some Manchego and its even more delicious.

This recipe is easy and there’s no cooking involved! Simply cut the fruit and cheese to size and wrap with the prosciutto.  A couple tips, however: I found that the Manchego cut to ½” slices was still overpowering the melon, so I’d suggest thinner slices if your knife skills can handle it.  Additionally, I’d suggest wrapping just the middle of the melon/cheese with prosciutto, which means you need a skinny piece of ham.  I used larger pieces, which covered the whole melon slice, and it would look much prettier if the other layers are visible.  Personally, I don’t enjoy dates, so I left the dates out of some of my wraps and they were especially delicious with just the ham, melon and cheese.

This recipe is a great option if you need a quick appetizer- and it would travel well! It would also be ok to assemble ahead and leave at room temperature for a couple hours.  Try them and enjoy!

The recipe:

 

Melon Manchego Wraps

Savor the Seasons, page 32

 

“This refreshing summer treat brings together savory prosciutto and manchego cheese with sweet melons. Substitute the melon with sliced dates and apples or other seasonal fruits of your choosing.”

 

8 dried pitted dates

3oz Manchego cheese, cut into 16 ½” inch thick slices

16 cantaloupe slices

8 slices prosciutto, cut into halves lengthwise

 

Cut the dates into haves lengthwise. Place a date half and a slice of Manchego cheese on each cantaloupe slice.  Wrap with a slice of prosciutto, securing with wooden picks.  You may substitute 2 Granny Smith apples for the cantaloupe, if desired.  Slice the apples into 16 wedges and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.

Yield: 16 servings

The Life of the Party

Life of the Party’s Sassy Salsa


Life of the Party’s Sassy Salsa (p. 40)

We’ve all been there. You arrive to your friend’s football watch party/girls night gathering with a heaping pile of cookies….that no. one. touches. In this day and age, oftentimes the men are even trying to count their calories!

Take heart! The Junior League of Tampa has the cure all for appetizer agonies. Sassy Salsa!

It’s healthy, easy to make, and did we mention, delicious? Read on for the quick secret for ALWAYS going home with a cleaned-out casserole dish.

Most of the ingredients for Sassy Salsa are already likely stashed in your pantry.

Start out with two cans of black beans, and a can of corn. Drain and rinse both…and add to a big bowl.

Fool proof, right?!

Alright…here comes the real leg work of the recipe. Break out that cutting board. Whew! Now, get to chopping! Chop up cilantro, green onions, red onion, and a few limes. Juice limes. (Strenuous activity like chopping may require wine…for hydration purposes, obviously).

Add all that gorgeous color to your bowl…along with some vegetable oil and cumin. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Now the best part, do some taste-testing! Add more lime juice, salt or pepper according to your taste.

If your party is later on…cover this bad boy with plastic wrap and forget about it till the last minute. If you’re heading out the door soon, read on.

You thought you were done with that cutting board (and wine). Not quite, domestic goddess! Dice up some tomatoes and one avocado. Add to that big bowl again (isn’t it looking gorgeous in there?!). Add one small can of chopped green chiles to add some depth to the flavor. Stir up everything…and if you’re feeling spicy…add some of your favorite hot sauce to the mix!

Get ready for it….that’s it! You did it! Just pair your Sassy Salsa with some tortilla chips…and prepare to really be the Life of the Party!

Recipe:

2 (15oz) cans black beans, drained, rinsed

1 (16oz) can  corn, drained

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon cumin

Salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1 cup chopped avocado

1 (4oz) can green chiles (optional)

Hot sauce (optional)

Combine the beans, corn, cilantro, green onions, red onion, lime juice, oil and cumin in a large bowl and mix well. Add salt and pepper. Chill, covered, for up to 24 hours. Stir in the tomatoes, avocado and green chiles immediately before serving. You may also add hot sauce to taste if desired. Serve with corn chips or crostini.

Yield: 6 cups (12 to 15 servings)

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The Life of the Party

Cajun Shrimp and Lemon Pasta


Cajun Shrimp and Lemon Pasta

Capture the Coast, pg . 78

Weeknight meals can be a challenge in our house.  With two kids running around and jobs and volunteer commitments to juggle it’s a major accomplishment to get ANYTHING on the table.  We have our staple meals and takeout places, but I do like to mix it up occasionally and I was feeling adventurous this week.

I’m always looking for something that can be prepped in advance and is easy to finish and when I saw this Cajun Shrimp and Lemon Pasta dish, I knew we had to try it! The recipe is very adaptable according to your taste and was a huge hit in our house. The kids even enjoyed the pasta by itself!

Cajun Seasoning:

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon oregano

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Combine all of the seasonings together in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Secure lid and shake well. *I used a small mason jar for this step.

Spicy Shrimp:

½ cup olive oil

1 garlic clove

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 pound large shrimp

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients with the Cajun seasoning.  Peel and devein shrimp and rinse and pat dry.  In a 9×13 inch dish, combine the shrimp with the marinade and toss to coat.  Marinate covered in the refrigerator for 1 to 12 hours.

When you are ready for dinner, preheat the over to 450 degrees. Discard the garlic clove from the dish and bake the shrimp for 7 to 10 minutes until pink, stirring occasionally.

Lemon Pasta:

½ cup olive oil

2/3 cup grated parmesan

juice of 2 lemons

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

1 lb spaghetti or penne

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

zest of two lemons

Whisk the olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving a ½ cup of the cooking water. Combine the pasta and the sauce and add the lemon zest and basil, toss to coat. Add reserved water a tablespoon at a time, as needed (I didn’t need to add any).  Top with the shrimp and serve.

Cooks notes:

  • We don’t care for parsley so I skipped that ingredient in the marinade.
  • You can use whatever pasta you want in this recipe! I only had gluten free penne in my pantry and it was delicious.
  • The recipe suggests that you can use parsley instead of basil in the pasta and also can add capers. I took them up on the latter part and we weren’t disappointed!

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The Life of the Party

Hot & Spicy Spinach Dip


Hot and Spicy Spinach Dip

The Life of the Party, p.43

     Well it’s the start of college football and we all know what that means! Tailgates and watch parties. If you’re like me, the food is ALMOST as important as the game itself. I have a few “go to” appetizers that I bring to parties or make for my guests. The Hot and Spicy Spinach Dip is one of my favorites. It’s an easy prep and it makes a lot. I usually make mine the day of so its nice and fresh and I serve mine with blue corn tortilla chips. You can serve it with just about whatever but that happens to be my favorite. The dip itself is very flavorful with butter, spices, onions, and cheeses that all join forces to make your mouth water!

 

Be sure to try it out and let us know what you think!

 

½ onion, finely chopped

½ cup (1 stick) butter

2 (10 ounce) packages frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and 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 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 heat. Pour into baking dish. Top with pepper jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot with assorted crackers and bread slices.

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

The Life of the Party

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf


Good morning and happy Friday!! Can you believe it is already the end of August already? This year is seriously going by way too quickly. But hey at least football is around the corner and I have the perfect snack to make while watching a game. This lemon poppy seed loaf is super easy and quite delicious to bake for you and some friends.

It’s not messy which means it’s easy to clean up and that sounds like a pretty good deal to me when entertaining others. Anyways, here is what you’ll need in order to make this loaf!

Ingredients for the Bread:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

For the Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups of confectioner’s sugar

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For the bread, beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the lemon zest, flour, baking powder, salt and milk and beat at low speed until combined. Mix in the poppy seeds. Do not overmix the batter. Pour into a greased and floured 5×9 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

For the glaze, combine the lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Prick the top of the hot loaf with a fork. Pour the glaze slowly over the hot loaf. Wrap in plastic wrap and let stand for several hours to overnight before slicing to serve.

Yield: 12 Servings

Junior League of Tampa · Recipes · Savor the Seasons · soup

It’s not fall until you’ve tried Curried Pumpkin Bisque!


Fall is here! If you are looking for an impressive dish for a dinner party or an interesting starter for Thanksgiving dinner, try the Curried Pumpkin Bisque from The Junior League’s Savor the Seasons cookbook (page 50).  Start to finish, it only took 30 minutes, so it would work great during the week, too.  The combination of flavors was great and the rich, creamy taste would be wonderful on a cool fall night (although we enjoyed it on a warm fall night, it is Florida after all).

All of the ingredients are easily found, especially the pumpkin puree during this season.  I purchased lump crab rather than jumbo lump crab, as it saved about $4 per container.  The crab is a little pricy, but well worth it!  The directions were clear and accurate.  I noticed the soup thickened nicely from the cornstarch base.  Once assembled, it would probably hold well if left on low heat with occasional stirring.  I followed the recipe as written, but would probably use half and half or whole milk instead of heavy cream next time, just to make it a bit less rich.  We didn’t have cognac, so I used a bit of sherry instead and finished it with chives on top for a bit of oniony taste.  I imagine the cognac would be wonderful.

I wanted to keep things festive so I served it in a gourd, as was suggested in the cookbook.  It is really easy (I promise!) and looks quite fancy.  If you choose to serve the soup in a gourd, there are a ton of colorful and interesting choices available in stores right now- all types and colors of pumpkins, as well as squash of different colors and shapes, so get creative!  You basically just need something with enough space to hold a couple ladles of soup and the ability to flatten the bottom so it sits evenly.  I went with the standard acorn squash, which is generally available all year.  I thought the green skin was a nice contrast to the orange soup.

After scooping out the seeds, I thought the “bowl” should be a bit larger, so I used a pairing knife to carve out a larger and more symmetrical space.  The uncooked squash provides tons of carving possibilities.  If you are more creative and crafty, you could even carve out a shape (this was not in my skill set)!  And don’t forget some crusty bread for dipping!  We had a side salad with blueberries and almonds for some additional greens.  It was husband approved!

Curried Pumpkin Bisque

1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp curry powder
2 tsp ground ginger or 2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger  (I used ground)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 (16 oz) can pumpkin puree
4 c chicken broth
2 c heavy cream
2 c fresh lump back fin crab meat, flaked
salt and pepper to taste
Cognac (optional)
fresh or dried parsley (I used fresh chives)

Cook the onion, garlic, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg and Tabasco sauce in the butter in a stockpot until the onion is tender, stirring frequently.  Stir in the cornstarch and cook until thickened.  Add the pumpkin and broth and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the cream and crab meat.  Cook until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls.  Pour a splash of cognac over each serving and sprinkle with parsley.  Yields 8-10 servings.

“Out of your gourd”
For a gourmet presentation at your autumn dinner or Thanksgiving feast, serve Curried Pumpkin Crab Bisque in colorful gourds, such as acorn squash.  Slice a bit of the rounded base of the gourd to help it lay flat, and line the inside bottom with foil to ensure the soup doesn’t leak.  Garnish with small pieces of crab, a dash of cognac and fresh parsley.

butter, onions, spices

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