|photos by Luci of Lucis Morsels|
The Super Bowl is right around the corner. I’m not a big sportsfan but I am a big foodfan and anywhere there is food and a party I am there! I created these super easy pizzas for hosts with little time. You could even have your guests put on their own toppings and pop these into the toaster oven. Just prep all the items and create a pizza bar.
If you are making a big batch, heat the oven to 400º F. Bake for 10 mins or until the cheese is nice and melty. For smaller DIY portions, I like to use the toaster oven set at the same temperature and people can just set the timer when they pop theirs in.
You can get very creative with the toppings but I kept mine simple. Here’s what I used.
low calorie sandwich rounds (you can also use English muffins or pita bread)
marinara sauce from a jar
sliced red onion
For a pizza bar, set up all the ingredients for the guests in different containers so they can easily choose what they like. I would include a few different cheeses like mozzarella, parmesan, and even goat cheese. A cream sauce would be a fun twist paired with the traditional marinara. Several meats like pepperoni, salami, shredded chicken, bacon, and prosciutto are good toppings. I love a good veggie pizza so include some vegetables like mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and herbs.
This is a fun meal even if you aren’t cheering for a team. Kids will love it and you will too! Which team are you cheering for?
I’ve been so busy lately with finishing up work before maternity leave and preparing for the baby’s arrival that I (almost) forgot that Thanksgiving was this week! If you are like me and have absolutely no time to make a full Thanksgiving meal take the Last Minute Thanksgiving approach. I’ll show you how!
I made the meal pictured above for my coworkers in 1 hour. This was a meal for 6 and we still had plenty of leftovers. You can shop for your items the day before or the morning of.
Buy ready-made items. Use the store to help you with this meal. Don’t stress yourself out! I bought 50% of the items pictured above and made the rest.
What to buy ready-made:
Buy the desserts, or better yet, ask your guests to bring a dessert. People are always willing to bring desserts because it’s the easiest thing they can grab from the grocery store and check out quickly.
Buy the protein ready-made. Those rotisserie chickens from the grocery are actually really good. They come whole and are the perfect size for a family of 4-6. Place in an oven safe dish and reheat in for 20 mins.
If you insist on cooking the protein, buy a chicken already butchered or just a turkey breast portion. When they are cut up, they cook much faster than a whole chicken. Season it simply with olive oil, s+p, and some herbs, then pop it into the oven first. It should cook at 425 degrees F in about an hour.
Buy semi-made items. Some boxed items help you skip several steps and do all the measuring for you. Some good items are stuffing, cornbread mix, and biscuits.
Add something special to make it your own. With the cornbread mix, I added jalapeños and cheddar. Cut up an apple and some sausages and mix it into the stuffing. Top the biscuits with any cheese you have in your fridge.
Don’t buy canned. Especially vegetables. This is something you should make fresh as it usually is less expensive and tastier. Some veggies that are perfect for your spread and don’t take a long time to cook are Brussels sprouts, potatoes, or green beans and carrots. Buy them already washed and cut so all you have to do is season and cook in a pan with some olive oil, or if you still have oven space, roast until fork tender.
Buy your cranberries frozen or fresh. Here’s a recipe that is so simple you can literally leave it on the back burner until it’s ready.
Gravy is simply equal parts butter and flour, cooked. Then slowly whisk in some chicken broth to your desired consistency and season with s+p.
Cook on the stove top. If you are reheating the bird, baking the stuffing, and roasting some veggies you need to make something on the stove top. Something you have made before and can do with one hand tied behind your back. Some of my favorites to make on the stove are mashed potatoes, stove top mac and cheese (skipping the oven part), and any vegetable dish.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Here’s a sample menu and timeline so you can get an idea.
Mashed potatoes (1 lb. potatoes, 1 quart heavy cream, 1 stick butter, s+p)
Roasted Brussels sprouts (bagged already washed sprouts, s+p, evoo)
Jalapeño and cheddar cast iron cornbread (2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix, 2 jalapeños, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, 2 eggs, 2/3 cup of milk)
Store bought pie
0:00 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
0:01 Half fill a large pot with water for potatoes and bring to boil. Add 1 tsp of salt
0:05 Bring out all your items and arrange by dish for organization
0:10 Reheat chicken in the oven
0:11 Cut Brussels sprouts in half and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with s+p. Put in oven
0:18 Cut potatoes in quarters and drop in boiling water
0:25 Chop jalapenos and grate cheese
0:35 Take bird out of the oven to rest
0:35 Follow directions on cornbread box, add grated cheese
0:40 In a cast iron pan or skillet, melt butter and saute chopped jalapenos. Pour cornbread mixture into the pan and insert in the oven. Take out Brussels sprouts if fork tender
0:45 Drain potatoes. Return the potatoes to the pot and mash in butter, cream, and s+p to taste
0:55 Place the chicken on the table with the Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and pie
1:00 Take cornbread out of the oven and place on table
That wasn’t so hard was it? Now that you know you can do Thanksgiving in 1 hour for 6 you’ll breeze through every other dinner. Keep things simple, and although it’s Thanksgiving, don’t try to be too ambitious. You’d rather spend the time with your friends and family than over the stove anyway. Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Christine
This past weekend, we had our baby shower, a Disney’s Up themed shower! I’ve been dreaming of it for a while and couldn’t have pulled it off without the help of my family and close friends who helped host. Here are some of the details.
Last weekend my friends and I threw a Toy Story themed baby shower for our good friends, Eileen and Brian, and their anticipated little boy. The couple are big Disney fans so it was only natural the theme had to derive from a Disney movie. The details were so cute that I had to share them with all of you!
|Mini cheesecakes from Sweet Embellishments, and cake by Abs of Cakes.|
|Cookies by Abs of Cakes.|
|Mr. Potato Head baked potato bar.|
|Lil Army men guard the diaper cake.|
|Toy chest full of photo booth props.|
The food was Western ’cause that’s what cowboys like Woody eat (in my best cowboy voice). We named all the food after Toy Story characters like, “Wheezy Mac-N-Cheezy”, “Lil Green Soldier Beans”, and “Rex Rib Tips.” My friend Abigail decorated the dessert table and designed the cake and alien cookies. The mini cheesecakes and mini cupcakes were from Sweet Embellishments Dessert Bar. The caramel apples were from California Snack Food. We also made a cast of Eileen’s belly and had people sign it as the guestbook but I didn’t get a picture of that =(
The mom-to-be’s sister was responsible for putting together the entire event of 70 guests! I was glad to be a part of it and help out. I think my friends and I are starting to get better at pulling parties together. It’s something we enjoy and I am happy to see the celebrants so excited. Congratulations Eileen and Brian! It’s a Boy Story!
Your Ultimate Thanksgiving Side Manual
Whenever I am making Thanksgiving dinner, I find it difficult to manage several casseroles and a big, giant turkey all taking up my oven real estate! There’s only so many racks and so much space. The more you are opening and closing the oven door – the longer it takes for that turkey to cook. The more things that are in the oven – the longer it takes for the turkey to cook. Changing temperatures for each side that goes in, as if it didn’t take long enough! Just leave the turkey to do it’s thing in the oven, and make all the sides on the stovetop. I’ve compiled a list of simple and easy sides to do up to a week before or on top of the stove to relieve the stress on your poor oven (and turkey).
Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese. You didn’t think I was going all veggie this holiday did you? I need carbs! Especially ones that are doused in gooey, creamy cheese. Save time and skip the baking for this casserole. I find it gooey-er that way anyway. Want a crispy topping? Pan fry panko bread crumbs in a little butter until golden brown and sprinkle on top.
Butternut Squash Soup With Cheesy Croutons. This recipe is almost exactly how I make mine (that’s how I know it’s good!) Adding a crunchy, cheesy crouton is genius. I usually just dollop some sour cream and chopped herbs. And instead of sugar I use honey. This can also be made up to a week ahead and warmed up on the stove before serving.