Monday, October 21, 2013

Fakin' It

As a working mama I some times have to "fake" it. By that I mean that I don't always have time to make something fully homemade for a party or get together. I sometimes feel guilty as I went to Culinary School and many times people expect a lot from me. I have learned that using short cuts like using a box cake(gasp) is a huge help. Even just displaying your food in a fancy or clever way really adds to a dish.

I recently had three different groups of people over in one week!!! It was so much fun. I felt like I was an Event Planner again. One night I had my girlfriends over for a craft night. I made Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup(minus the tortillas, sorry girls totally spaced it). I also made an easy pumpkin dessert. Soups are great because they just require a little bit of chopping and then it all goes in one pot and you are done. I knew that I would be working and they were coming over just an hour after I got off. So to make it a little easier I added a rotisserie chicken that was already cooked for me! I normally cook the chicken myself, but there was just no time. The dessert was super easy too. You make a pumpkin mixture, sprinkle a yellow cake mix on top and then some butter and pecans and you are all set to bake it!

The next night I had some of Scott's friends/clients over for dinner. I had leftover soup so I just added some more chicken stock to it and set out some toppings and in minutes had dinner for them. Then on Thursday I had a group of Realtors and Affiliates over to our house for appetizers and drinks. This was a little tricky as I needed to have a variety of appetizers but, nothing that took a super long time to prepare. I wanted it all to look really nice and wanted them all to enjoy what I prepared for them. I decided on Shrimp & Chesse Wontons from a great site I found through Pinterest called: High Heels to Hot Wheels. These took a little bit to assemble but since they were a little "fancy" I thought that was ok.

Take your wonton wrapper coat three edges with egg whites and put a tsp of the shrimp and cheese mixture in the center

Fold over, making a triangle and then press edges with a fork to seal in the filling. And then they are ready to bake. I forgot to take a picture after they baked but if you go to the like you can see how they look baked:). Yum!  

Next I decided to make a cheese platter. I love cheese platters! I think cheese is beautiful on its own but then when you add salami, crackers and grapes it can look really elegant. It only takes minutes to put together and everyone always enjoys it. I add some rosemary to fancy it up even more!

Next I needed some veggies. Veggie platters can be beautiful too. They don't take a whole lot of time to put together either. I know a lot of people like the pre-made platters but I prefer the real deal.  To make it a little more festive for the fall season, I carved out a hole in a pumpkin and took out all the seeds. I used a sour cream container that I made my dip in and used the lid as my guide to cut the hole. Once I was done carving the hole I dropped in the container and had a cute dip container.

Finally I needed something sweet. I wanted to keep with something fall but didn't have time to bake anything. I decided on caramel and chocolate dipped apples. Instead of dipping a whole apple I dipped slices. It is easier for party guests to enjoy. I dipped some in just caramel and some in just chocolate. Others I dipped in both and some in chocolate and chopped peanuts!

With a little cheats and box help I managed to pull this all off and was able to enjoy my company. It is always a joy to be in the kitchen. Fall usually means a lot more baking which makes this girl happy!

***Note I add 1 red bell pepper chopped and a jalapeno, chopped and de-seeded to the garlic, cilantro and onion mixture. I also add a can of corn and black beans when I add the chicken in. You can crumble some tortilla chips on top or if you have a bit more time I like to julienne corn tortillas and fry them in oil. Sooo goood!