Valentine'sYep, I definitely have a prejudice about Valentine’s … Must haves: My Guy’s Favorites, Hors d’oeuvres & Wine, Chocolate, Rich Desserts, & Roses. Oops, forgot Jewelry. I have four children and we do our Valentine’s Day cards and cookies but the night is mine. And hopefully it isn’t alone … a great Italian movie, in a pinch.

Italian Cuisine is most often my choice but I’ve made roasted turkey, brisket, prime rib, broiled chicken, or just had wine with hors d’oeuvres depending on the guy. lol It’s just fun to cook up something he likes.

Some great food ideas for Valentine’s. More … Decadent Valentine’s Desserts next Post.

Wine & Cheese


Salmon with Pasta

Italian Pantry Pasta


Blue Cheese Filet

Stuffed Mushrooms



Ribs and Garlic Mash

German Chocolate

Chicken Involtini

Game Day Drumsticks

Game Day Drumsticks

Don’t know about your guys but mine pull out all the stops for the Super Bowl. It’s one day we don’t worry about overindulgence. Yep, we pay for it the next day! Steve with his massive rock hard biceps looks pretty cute eating chicken wings. Don’t tell him I said that. Can you imagine the guys eating a few and being satiated! Me either. So, I just changed the chicken wings to drumsticks. You can still serve that special dip right along side.

This drumstick recipe is very simple and we call it Estrada’s Kitchen Chicken, our family’s favorite restaurant in the day. Their chicken was always praised and you’ll be surprised that the ingredients are nothing special. It’s in the cooking. If you feel it’s too plain for you just substitute a little, or a lot, of dry Hidden Valley dip ingredients to the flour. Just know you will need to step back on the salt (or that beer is going to go faster than you thought).


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Garlic Bread

In Search of the Perfect Recipe

Garlic BreadHave you seen the Garlic Bread on Crack Recipe! My photo version here. It’s buttery, garlicky & cheesy. And I love it! The problem is I love it too much. If served with a meal it becomes the meal. Yep, the pieces missing I ate while taking the photo. It’s true to its name. Oops! Check out the Recipe here if you dare.

Tom’s Garlic Bread Recipe
Garlic Bread

My vote for the Perfect Garlic Bread! Rich garlic butter taste with a crunchy Parmesan topping. Not too heavy with the richest of meals. Perfect! Thanks Tom! Hope I get the technique close to yours. Ann stated the taste is spot on.

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Mini Pumpkins Stuffed with Smoked Turkey

& Red Lemon-Butter Sauce

Mini Stuffed PumpkinsFrom one of my favorite restaurants right here in my home town. The Vintage Press has been around for many years. The food is 5 star. I love this family owned restaurant for so many reasons. Andy and I had our first date at the Vintage Press. Andy said he knew he was in trouble when I ordered the most expensive entree on the menu, haha. But in my defense (my husband was a prosecutor) we weren’t into wine in those days. Now I appreciate a wine that just might be more expensive than the entree. I have so much history here, Mother’s Day Brunches, a Wedding Reception, Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, and many dinners & brunches in between. The menu fluctuates very little except during holidays but what this means is the signature dishes are perfected. And the Chef shares many recipes! Who does that! I have to admit while my execution is very very good with this recipe the Chef has me beat. I changed the recipe up a bit and I will let you know where. I prefer turkey, in general, over chicken … just because. And I teased the idea of teaming the smoked turkey with provolone, there’s history there, but provolone just doesn’t work as well as Emmental or Jarlsberg. This is a seasonal dish at The VP. And I must say their pumpkins must be brought in special. They’re meaty not stringy. If you haven’t pumpkins this stuffing can work in acorn squash. And it goes without saying the Red Lemon-Butter Sauce is versatile as well. Enjoy!

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Japanese Eggplant Parmesan

Japanese Eggplant AppetizerThis friend of mine was telling me an easy way to roast Japanese eggplant on an electric stove top element … Followed by a dip in egg and…. She saved me a taste treat. And it was so delicious I couldn’t believe that’s all she did. So, as my son-in-law likes to say, a little R&D was called for. It was simple and successful even with my first attempt … and I added a little breading to my process to give it a bit of an Italian twist. I didn’t go as far as a drizzle of marinara and a sprinkle of Parmesan but could see this as a special addition.

Hope you too try and enjoy this simple but wonderful treat! BTW, if you frequently question whether you wish to try eggplant again because the outcome in the past has been chewy, tough or tasteless this Japanese Eggplant Appetizer will change your thinking.

Recipe in time for your Fourth Of July gathering!

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Steak Stuffed Bakes

Super Bowl Party Finger Food

Steak Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Finger food is a little misleading … You can easily and neatly eat these with your hands.

If you’re a meat and potatoes fan you’ll be so into these! What I like about this for a crowd … First, it’s amazingly delicious! Secondly, each provides a serving … It’s easy to calculate for a crowd. For appetizers a potato half for each guest.

Stephen, I know you’re gonna love these!

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Spicy Hot Chicken Dip

with (Your Choice) Red Pepper Sauce

Spicy Hot Chicken Dip




This is a great dip to make when you’ve left over chicken. You can make it taste like Hot Wings or if you’re into Sriracha add this sweet tangy hot sauce instead. An easy Super Bowl appetizer that won’t have you running to the grocery store if you’re missing an ingredient … very forgiving and easy to substitute.

Rich and a little goes a long way!

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Crostini Dinner

Endless Choices


You might think of Crostini as an appetizer but it hasn’t always been. And just as with pasta, crostini toppings are endless. In fact, these sauces and toppings are pretty much interchangeable. If you enjoyed my post Linguini with Puttanesca but have run out of linguini try Puttanesca as a Crostino topping.

Toast thin slices of a French baguette, yep in the toaster, or impress your guy or gal by toasting these little bites of bread in a skillet coated with a bit of garlic infused olive oil. Top. Pair with your favorite wine and you have dinner. Chianti for me. And BTW if you are allergic to garlic (often protested by friends or family who can’t do garlic but aren’t allergic) this post is all about this favorite Allium, garlic.


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Green Bean Bacon Bundles

An Appetizer All Will Enjoy

Green Bean Bacon BundleYou may have tried a similar recipe as a side dish but we’re having these as appetizers. A man pleasin’ vegetable everyone will enjoy! Yep, we’ve already popped the cork. Champagne is a breakfast drink, isn’t it?

If you like your green beans a bit crunchy just precook the bacon slightly. Otherwise, if you don’t mind a bit of browning and caramelization to your green beans, wrap without the bacon precooking and roast. That simple!

Happy New Year Everyone!

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