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Sunday, October 20, 2013

My kind of happy

My entertaining style is casual, to say the least (excluding small seated dinners and those are fairly casual but I do use wine glasses.) At gatherings of ten or more, I use plastic wine glasses, disposable plates, paper napkins--and urge my guests to wear jeans (which most know to do anyway).
I have new neighbors on the east--we share driveways and so, you might say, are intimately connected. I wanted to welcome them and introduce them to some of my great neighbors, so I decided on a happy hour with heavy hors d'oevres. The beauty of such events at my house is that my neighbors are used to bringing their own drink of choice and something to contribute to the meal. But still, as hostess, I felt obliged to provide some anchor foods, so I chose three old favorites?

Hot dogs in Crescent Rolls:
Everyone makes these, but I chose them because there will be three young children tonight. It's been my experience, however, that adults eat more than the children. With that, I put out a bowl of mustard next to the hot dog rolls (no one touched it). I did have some trouble that I may have to talk to Pillsbury about: I could not open the first can of rolls--the wrapping tore before I had a chance to pull it off. I finally used a knife to get into the package. With the second tube of rolls, I couldn't find where it unwrapped and consequently peeled off unusable hunks of dough. Talk about inept in the kitchen--if  you can't do Crescent Roll hot dogs, you're pretty hopeless. But I ended up with fifteen puffy golden rolls. Made them in the morning, refrigerated, and re-heated for serving.

Onion soup mix:
Another winner for kids, though they tend to eat just the chips. Still I put out mixed veggies, with a heavy emphasis on carrots (Jacob will get them for snacks this week). This doesn't do well made ahead, so I did it at the last minute.

Colin's queso:
I've posted this before, but it bears repeating. Everyone loves it, and it was my truly "heavy" appetizer. I call it Colin's because he still asks for it--specifically on his fortieth birthday. When my kids were at home, I made a batch, put corn chips in bowls, and ladled the queso over it. That was dinner.
I made this in the morning and put it in a crockpot on low.

1 lb. hamburger, browned and crumbled
1 lb. sausage, browned and crumbled--your taste dictates mild, medium or spicy
1 16 oz. jar Pace Picante sauce--again, you choose hot, medium or mild
1 can mushroom soup undiluted
1 lb. Velveeta
Combine all, heat in crockpot.

A note here: I avoid processed food as much as possible. For the hot dogs, I used Oscar Meyer Select chicken dogs--no preservatives, pure chicken breast meat. As to onion soup, Velveeta, and mushroom soup, I simply closed my eyes and overlooked my objections to preservatives. Generally I feed tidbits of Velveeta to my dog occasionally but do not eat it myself nor feed it to Jacob ( he of course adores it). I'm less worried about GMOs than I am about preservatives in our food. I used to eat a prepared tuna salad with a sell-by date two months out. Think about what's keeping it safe that long. Doesn't land on my tongue any more. I make my own tuna salad with my good tuna from Oregon.

The evening was a success, though I sent a lot of Colin's queso home with Jordan, along with chips, and I have some queso for me, some Crescent Rolls in the freezer to defrost for Jacob's snacks, lots of carrots, and some assorted veggies that will make a great stir fry. Isabella, the five-year-old from next door, did me the favor of eating all the bell pepper strips. The new neighbors are interesting--with varied and impressive backgrounds--and most pleasant. I fell in love with the children--Bella just had her birthday this weekend, and Grant is a year old, happy and adorable. We all are going to enjoy these new neighbors.

As usual, I got busy being a hostess and forgot to take pictures. But it was a pretty spread, with chicken salad, shrimp and red sauce, a sausage and cheese platter, and a cheese/bread appetizer added by neighbors. Neighborhoods like mine--throwbacks if you wish--are so comforting.


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