Category: gluten free

Popcorn & Vintage Candy Bar! Fun for all…

 

Guests both young and old will love this fun festive popcorn and vintage candy bar!


Over 3+ decades of catering, I did many a party of every description… for young and old alike!  When my friend Jim called me to throw a surprise 50th for his wife, we talked about several themes, and ended up doing a variety of fun stations and bars, each features local and NC products.  There was a hot dog bar, hot and cold corn on the cob station, pickle tub, pimento cheese and field pea caviar area and for dessert… a blueberry and strawberry shortcake bar too.  Since there was a bunch of kiddos coming, he wanted something fun for them, so I did a great big table of old fashioned candies, peanuts and all sorts of popcorns with spicy shakes for those who wanted theirs spiffed up a bit.

Shake your popcorn…

Since Sunday was “National Business of Popping Corn Day”  (and forgot to post this then), I figured this would be a good time to share this popcorn bar!  With the holidaZe on the way and gatherings of friends and family, this would be a fun, budget-friendly and quick idea for your entertaining… 

Folks of all ages love popcorn and vintage candies.  Just keep it simple… pop corn or buy it in a big old tin… add some kettle, caramel and candied corns.  See what you have in your spice cabinet, or pick up some fun salts and seasonings. I’m a big fan of Savory Spice Shop and shop often at the Raleigh location, but they have other stores all over.  Or you can just shop online and have goodies sent right to your door!

Throw a sheet of burlap or something festive over a table… sit boxes of various heights up under there so you can put your containers at different levels on your table!  If it’s in a dark corner, don’t forget to sit a lamp on the table.  The light will give your display a “pop” and draw folks to it. 

TIP:  Do that with all your tables!  Lighting creates beautiful ambiance for your food displays, not to mention, it helps your guests see what they are getting in dimly lit areas. 

It’s also helpful to make little folded cards to sit by your foods for that same reason.  You can make with stickers right onto notecards or any number of ways.

Pick up some festive “take home bags” for folks to take a goodie bag with them so you’re not stuck with leftovers…

Enjoy your holiday season, and have FUN!  If you do a popcorn (or any other) bar, please do snap a picture and send me!  I’d love to share your ideas here with others.

Blueberry BBQ Sauce …for that tired turkey!

Serve this easy sauce over pork. And it’s especially tasty over leftover turkey and dressing!

It surely is hard to believe it, but Thanksgiving is on our doorstep!  There always seems to be some of that bird leftover… and many enjoy eating it with leftover dressing, as is, for days on end, while other are looking for ways to reinvent it.  One of my social media clients is a blueberry farm, with all sorts of blueberry goodies (jams, salsa, juice, syrup) and honey too. I’m sharing this recipe that is going out in Creekside Farm’s newsletter this week. You can use fresh or frozen berries, or even mix some blueberry jam with the BBQ sauce instead.
(excused the poor quality pics… these were from long ago!)

So as you prepare your grocery shopping list for the holiday, pick up some blueberries so you can stir together this sauce… really quickly!  It’s soooooo good over turkey and pork too.

Gobble! Gobble!  Get your turkey ON.

 

Blueberry BBQ Sauce

This is a sweet and savory sauce that is great on grilled chicken, pork or fish… or leftover turkey and dressing. It’s simple and quick to make, and can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for up to about 2 weeks.

Course: Main Course, Sauces
Cuisine: Farmers Market, Grilling, North Carolina Goodies, Southern
Servings: 1 pint
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup favorite thick bbq sauce
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • several sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 cup honey
Instructions
  1. Put the berries, bbq sauce, vinegar and thyme into heavy bottomed sauce pot. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to slow boil, stirring frequently. Cook until the berries have popped and the sauce has cooked down and thickened. Whisk in honey.  

Honey Kissed Rosemary Sesame Chicken

Your crowd will love this simple honey roasted chicken… seasoned with a hint of rosemary and sprinkled with the toasty goodness of sesame seeds.

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Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Throw together this no-cook chicken salad in no time for a tasty meal on a hot summer’s day.

Well here we are, in the dog days of summer!  In my neck of the woods, it’s been the monsoon days of summer. Rain! RaiN! RAIN!  But hopefully, we have a little break in sight for that and can now “look forward” to good old hot.humid.days.of.August!  And who wants to turn on anything that will add to that heat?  Ummmm, nobody.  This recipe for Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes was first published last summer in Carolina Country Magazine and a frequent go-to for me.  We all love to grab a cooked rotisserie chicken now and then… we can do so many things with one… not to mention throwing the skin and bones into the crock pot overnight after pick’n for the BEST flavorful chicken broth. You DO do that don’t you?  Oh there’s so much flavor in those bones and skin (if you don’t eat it) and all you have to do is cover with a quart or two of water, turn on low, and head to bed.  By morning time, you’ll be waking up to the aroma of tasty broth to use for soups, cooking veggies like greens and butterbeans or just to sip. You can throw in some herbs on the front end, or simply cool and freeze and season on the back end depending on how you’ll be using it.  I freeze in pint-size containers and it’s great to be able to grab and cook a little pot of butterbeans or collards with this deliciousness!

So here’s to the versitile Rotisserie Chicken!!  Pick one up today and make this chicken salad twist… ooooh la LA, you’ll be glad you did.

While here, please subscribe to my “Table Scraps” newsletter (green box over there to the right)… an e-zine with great stuff for in, out and about the home!   Take a look at my contributors…

P.S.  Don’t forget to come follow along in my facebook world too…
classy with a bit of sass!!  

Italian Rotisserie Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Who wants to cook on hot summer days?  No need with this flavorful Italian chicken salad.... just pick up a rotisserie chicken, throw in a few ingredients and toss with the simple Dijon dressing, and that's it!  Except for a juicy ripe summer tomato you're going to stuff with this good stuff.  

Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skinned, boned & shredded (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sliced roasted peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garniish
  • 1 4 ounce carton feta cheese with basil and tomato, reserve 2 tablespoons
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 8 large tomatoes, cored and drained upside down
DIJON HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • crushed black pepper
Instructions
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Stir dressing into chicken to coat. Add all remaining ingredients (except the tomatoes) and mix well.

  2. Chill several hours or overnight. Stuff tomatoes and garnish with reserved feta cheese crumbles and parsley. Serve immediately
Recipe Notes
  • Don’t cut out too much of the delicious tomato — just enough to mound the chicken salad!
  • If you have fresh herbs... oregano, rosemary, basil, etc., use them instead of dried for more robust flavor!

#BlackboardBlurbs… a little teachable moment!
So what are capers?

Soup’s on! Blushing Turkey Soup


Well here we are, just like that ~ looking at Thanksgiving 2017 in our rear view mirror. Did your grandmas tell you too, that “the older you get, the faster the days and years go by?”

To be honest, I don’t have any leftover turkey at my house. This year, my little family decided to do pork instead… since we never have been big on turkey. And we aren’t even doing our Thanksgiving meal until tomorrow (Saturday). We even did something outside our box and went OUT to eat for early supper yesterday on Thanksgiving… at an Italian restaurant! And liked it. And decided we might keep up this new tradition henceforth.

They only offered a buffet, but goodness gracious, you cannot believe all the food on the tables! I declare, if folks couldn’t find something there to suit their fancy, they needn’t be eating. The word “bountiful” comes to mind as there were platters and chafing pans filled to the brim with Italian creations… right alongside traditional southern Thanksgiving favorites like dressing and sweet taters.

And there were seafoods, fishes, prime rib, ham and yes, turkey! I suppose they might have some sort of soups on their menu the next few days too, which is a great way to give lurking turkey (and whatever else) a new life!

Earlier this week, my friend Heather Overton at the NC Department of Agriculture asked if I had any last minute ideas for such to feature on their blog, and well, of course I do! Waste not want not around my kitchen, and not often is anything thrown out. I love the challenge of “repurposing” food… bones, scraps and trimmings. I can and will make soup from just about anything… no two pots ever the same. I gift most of the soups I make since I just can’t eat it all! As it turns out, this tasty soup can actually work as a dip as well and a really fast way to throw together a simple meal so you can enjoy more family time this weekend.

So plug in that crock pot and enjoy… feel free to “color outside the lines” of the recipe and add in leftovers you have that will add more layers of flavor to your soup… or adjust the seasonings for your taste. Serve with crunchy pork rinds or cornbread and you’re set to head into the Christmas season… ready or not!

Blushing Turkey Soup

Looking for a way to enjoy your leftover turkey after the Thanksgiving feast is over? Enjoy this recipe featuring leftover turkey, George’s BBQ sauce and pork skins.  If you don't have George's, simply substitute your favorite sauce to "blush" your soup.

Course: Brunch, Main Course, Soup
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 15 ounce can white beans (navy, northern, etc.), drained
  • 1 14 ounce can creamed corn
  • 1 11 ounce can Mexican corn
  • 3/4 cup George's Original or Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 cup George's Special Sauce
  • about 3 cups turkey or chicken broth
  • about 4 cups shredded turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 8 ounce cream cheese
  • 4 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • freshly chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Throw all ingredients through salt into crock pot. Heat on high until nice and hot, or if you’ll be out and about a while, just turn on low. About 20-30 minutes before eating, stir in cheeses and melt. Ladle into mugs or bowls and scatter with cilantro. Serve with skins, cornbread or dressing.


Recipe Notes

NOTE: If you want to serve this as a dip, leave out the broth to make it thicker. Add in small amounts until desired thickness. Scoop with skins or chips.