Tag Archives: Appetizers

And the Oscar Goes to……Red Carpet Appetizers!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more Oscar worthy appetizers! What better way to celebrate the best movies and performances of the year than with your very own Red Carpet cocktails and appetizer party?

I absolutely adore going to the movies. When Chuck and I were first married we lived in Chicago, in the South Loop. Our apartment building was the home to 5 movie theaters (practically a mini Cineplex). We would just stroll downstairs and take in a movie, spur of the moment. Chuck would pop over to the concession stand just to buy popcorn on his way home from work. It was Heaven! Even now, whenever we have a rare window of opportunity, we race over to the movie theater. Frequently, the only time we’re not on the clock with work or the kids is on Saturday mornings. We’ve been know to sneak in a double feature at 10am. They’re going to love us at the retirement center. We’ll absolutely be ready for our cocktail and dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon!


I’m totally a theme girl. When I throw a party, I’m completely committed to authenticity, which is why I rolled out the red carpet; this weekend, we enjoyed a pre-Oscars feast! Tasty appetizers paired with a little something sparkly……..

  • Chopped BLT Salad Spears
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Shrimp and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
  • Hot Crab Dip and Crackers
  • Chicken Chili Wontons


To find my first three appetizers, please visit me at my website:


Hot Crab Dip and Crackers

1 – 8oz package of cream cheese, softened

3 green onions chopped

1 Tbsp milk

2 heaping tsp Dijon mustard

1 heaping tsp of horseradish

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

3-4 drops of hot pepper sauce

1 ½ cups fresh crab meat (I like Costco’s fresh crab meat  in a can, no mess!)

Pre-heat oven to 350°

With a hand mixer, in a large bowl, combine;

Cream cheese

Green onion


Dijon mustard


Lemon juice

Hot sauce

Crab meat


 Place in a shallow baking dish and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Can be prepared up to this point a day in advance

Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes

Serve with crackers

Chicken Chili Wontons

I always enjoy these at the home of my friend Mrs. Lilly. They remind me of a single serving nacho (and we like nachos!).

2 cups of cooked, chopped chicken (I used 1 package of 14oz chicken tenders and that was perfect)

½ tsp salt

1.2 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp chili powder (or less if you don’t like it hot)

3 cups of cheese (I used 2 Monterey Jack, 1 sharp cheddar)

1 can of diced green chilies

1 cup of ranch dressing

1 package of wonton wrappers (found in your local grocery stores produce department)


In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together, except for the wonton wrappers

All of this can be done the day before, just refrigerate until you are ready to use the filling

Pre-heat the oven to 350°


Coat a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray. Place one wonton wrapper in each cup

Cook for 5 minutes and remove from the oven

Spoon chicken filling into each cup

Cook for another 10 minutes or so

Remove, cool and serve


More awards, more great performances, more stars, more amazing appetizers…..
Hot and Spicy Crab Dip on FoodistaHot and Spicy Crab Dip

Chicken Chili Wontons

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Ring in the New Year with Family, Friends and Tasty Appetizers…

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more ringing in the New Year! It’s a night for nibbling, noshing, toasting, remembering and celebrating. The best part for me, however, is for us to be together as a family. It’s funny, when the kids were little, they would try so hard to make it ‘til midnight. Now, Chuck and I are nodding off, trying desperately to keep our eyeballs open. One way to stay awake is to look forward to a delicious appetizer buffet. I made two of my tastiest treats to share with you today. They are always a hit with my family and friends and will sure to become a favorite of yours as well.

Bite Size Crab Cakes:

You know my motto is more of everything is always better, which totally applies to appetizers. I made a double batch because if 24 are good, 48 must be better! The measurements listed are for a single batch.


8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature

¾ grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup for the filling, ½ cup for the crust

1 large egg

¼ cup sour cream

1 tsp orange peel, grated

½ tsp lemon peel, grated

6 tsp chopped chives for the filling, another 2 Tbsp for the crust

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

8 ounces fresh lump crab meat (I love the 16 oz container from CostCo)

1 cup panko (Japanese) breadcrumbs

½ stick butter, melted

Plus extra butter for greasing the mini muffin tins

The filling can be prepared the day before. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Grease mini muffin tins generously with butter

For the filling:

With an electric mixer, beat;


Cream cheese

Mix until creamy and smooth


Parmesan cheese



Sour cream

Orange peel

Lemon peel

Chopped chives


Cayenne pepper

Beat until well blended and smooth

Gently stir in crabmeat



Set aside

For the crust:

Mix together;

Panko breadcrumbs

Parmesan cheese


Melted butter

Toss until evenly moistened


Press one tablespoon of panko mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup to form the crust



1 tsp crab mixture for each cup

Top each cup with a teaspoon of panko mixture

Bake the mini crab cakes for approximately 30 minutes, until they are a nice, golden brown


Cool for 5 minutes

To remove, slide a knife around the edge of each cup and remove carefully from the pan

Plate and serve

Everybody’s Loves ‘Em BLT Cups

One batch makes about 36 appetizers. Feel free to double and triple…. I like to make this the night before my event. I go so far as to get the dough in the tin and fill it with the bacon mixture. All that’ll be left is to pop them into the oven.

8 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped (approximately ¾ cup)

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (approximately ¾ cup)

½ small onion, chopped (approximately 2/3 cup)

1 ¼ cup grated Swiss cheese

½ cup mayonnaise

1 ½ Tbsp fresh chopped basil

2 cans of flaky biscuits, such as Hungry Jack

Pre-heat oven to 375°


In a mixing bowl, combine;





Swiss cheese




Stir until well mixed


Separate each flaky biscuit into two

Press a disc into the bottom of the each muffin cup

Fill each cup with a heaping teaspoon of bacon filling

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until a nice warm golden brown


Plate and serve

Your guests will be delighted to ring in the New Year in style!

More tasty morsels, more time together, more celebrations…..

Mini Crab Cake and Blt Cup Appetizers


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October 21 – Part 1: Hostess Gifts and Appetizers

As the More is More Mom, I am all about….more hostess gifts and appetizers! I live for manufacturing opportunities to celebrate life with our family and friends. While I love to play hostess, sometimes it’s nice to be a guest too. As someone who entertains frequently, I truly appreciate the amount of thoughtfulness, time, effort and expense that my host incurs when throwing a fabulous soiree. That is why it is important to be a good guest!

This past weekend, Chuck and I were invited to our friends for cocktails and appetizers. Yay! Snicky-snacks and Splishy-splashes….. I insisted on bringing an appetizer that I’ve been dying to try (so many recipes, so little time). The one thing I personally HATE as a hostess is for a guest to bring a dish to share that needs to be prepared upon their arrival. How irritating is that? Like your hostess isn’t up to her eyeballs in work, and then someone shows up with more work. Just awful! No, the only way for that to ever be acceptable is for the item to arrive prepared (other than a quick trip through the microwave) and with its own serving dishes. The hostess should never be bothered with inane questions like, “Do you have a platter? A bowl? A Crock-pot (I was actually asked that once)?” Even if you do bring along your own serving pieces, there is the matter of washing it up and bringing it home at the end of the night. What a total hassle.

The solution, however, is quite simple… purchase a lovely serving piece for the dish that you have prepared, and leave that new serving piece as your hostess gift.


There are so many possibilities to suit every price range. I like to consider several factors when searching for that perfect gift; the personal style of the hosts, the theme of the event and the season. Since I was making a dip that I would be serving with crackers, I knew I wanted either a small bowl and platter or two bowls. I searched my favorite spots first; HomeGoods and Target, but I didn’t find quite what I had in mind. I then zipped over to Kohl’s and found the perfect set of autumnal, nesting, leaf bowls. What I loved about them is that they are practical and pretty and made a lovely gift.

While a thoughtful and beautiful presentation is always high on my list, if I’m bringing some nibbles, they have to be tasty too. You have to try this dip.

Caramelized Onion with Smoked Salmon Dip:

You’ll want to make this a day in advance so the flavors have a chance to mingle to mouth watering perfection.

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, melt;

2-3 Tbsp of butter


2 cups of chopped onion

Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring frequently

Add the cover and cook for another 5-8 minutes

Uncover and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until they are golden and soft

In a mixing bowl, beat;

1, 8 oz package of whipped cream cheese


1/3 cup of mayonnaise

1/3 cup of sour cream

2 Tbsp lemon juice (I think bottled is just fine)

1 ½ Tbsp capers, drained

1 Tbsp fresh, chopped dill

Beat until nice and creamy



Caramelized onions

4 oz of smoked salmon, coarsely chopped

1-2 tsp cracked black pepper (for a little kick!)

Stir until well blended

Cover and chill in the refrigerator over night


This dip is equally delicious on toasted crostini or even crackers. I preferred a hearty cracker, like a Triscuit, but that is entirely up to you.

When I got to my friends house, I gave her the nesting bowls and a hand written note thanking her and her husband for their generous hospitality. I then unwrapped the bowl, dished out the dip and crackers and added it to her autumnal buffet.

More delicious appetizers, more gracious hosts,, more evenings with friends…..

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More is More Mom Appearing Today on Chicago’s ABC 7, News at 11AM! Labor Day Appetizers…

Today I will be appearing on Chicago’s ABC-7, News at 11AM sharing my tips and inspirations for throwing for a great Labor Day party. As the More is More Mom®, I am thrilled to share these beautiful appetizers with you. I hope you can celebrate with your family along with ours!

I find that while the ladies like snicky snacks, the fellas prefer something a little heartier. To satisfy the tastes of everyone at your party, I have selected four recipes to share with you. Enjoy them one at a time, or all together, for a wonderful celebration with family and friends.

Steak Crostini’s:

The tender steaks and creamy topping are such tasty goodness! I love that this recipe is so simple and can be largely prepared in advance.

Please note that each strip steak will provide 12-15 appetizers.


In a mixing bowl, combine;

¾ cup mayonnaise

3 heaping tsp horseradish

6 tsp Dijon mustard

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ tsp salt

Mix well, until nice and creamy, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. This can be prepared a day in advance.


Slice nice crusty baguette bread approximately ½” thick for manageable, bite size pieces. Depending on how many appetizers you are making, you may need more than one loaf of bread. My preference is to slice the bread in advance and store it in an airtight container or a re-sealable baggie (Ziploc’s my favorite. This is not a paid advertisement…yet). Put aside until ready to toast and serve.  



The New York strip is a very nice cut of meat. The marbling gives it a little extra flavor.

Sprinkle steaks on both sides with salt (I love sea salt) and pepper (I am highly in favor of cracked black pepper on everything).

Depending on your preference, you have two choices.

Option 1: Pre-heat your grill to medium. Cook each side for approximately 4-5 minutes for medium-rare. Let stand for 10 minutes. Trim off any uneven edges before slicing ¼” pieces.

Option 2: In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook for 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. . Let stand for 10 minutes. Trim off any uneven edges before slicing ¼” pieces.

Toast Crostini while steaks cook.

Finely chop 1/3 cup flat leaf parsley.


Arrange toasted baguette slices on a platter.

Place a small dollop of topping on each slice of bread.

Put a slice of steak on each Crostini.

Top each slice of steak with another dollop of the creamy topping.

Generously sprinkle with parsley.


Bacon, Chicken and Potato Salad Lettuce Wraps:

A delicious mouth full! Again, like the Boy Scouts, my motto is…Be Prepared. You can make everything in advance and assemble right before you are ready to serve. What could be more beautiful and easier than that?

This recipe will produce approximately 24 appetizers.


Who doesn’t love bacon? You’ll want to cook about 10 slices of your favorite flavor (I like a smoked bacon); 6 to mix in to the salad and 4 to chop and sprinkle on top when you’re ready to serve.

You can certainly fry the bacon in a skillet, but I love to bake it in the oven on 350° for about 30 minutes. You can cook a lot of bacon in a short amount of time that way. I make 2 lbs at a time and store in the fridge in an air tight container. Then you can just warm it up in the micro as needed. It’s so easy to simply line a lipped baking sheet with aluminum foil, evenly place the slices so they are close, but not quite touching, cook and toss the foil in the trash when you are finished. Wipe the baking sheet with paper towel and wash out the pan. Cinchy!




Place one 6 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, cover slightly and poach until cooked completely through, approximately 15-20 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool until easy to handle. Cut chicken into bite size pieces.


Pre-heat oven to 400°

In a large mixing bowl, toss;


4 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 Tbsp olive oil

¾ tsp salt (kosher or sea)

¾ tsp cracked black pepper


Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

Evenly spread potatoes

Roast until golden and tender, approximately 30-40 minutes

Cool slightly and transfer to a large mixing bowl


In the large mixing bowl with the potatoes, add;

6 slices of bacon, chopped

Chicken, cut into bite size pieces

1/3 cup diced celery

½ cup diced onion (your choice; red, Vidalia, scallions)

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

Optional: 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (depends on how much you like cheese)


In a separate bowl, combine;

½ cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp paprika

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

4 sage leaves chopped

Mix until smooth and creamy



Dressing to bacon, chicken and potato mixture. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


In order to get 24 appetizer size portions of lettuce, you’ll need about 4 heads of Bibb lettuce. This doesn’t have to be a waste at all; chop or tear the leaves that are too big for the appetizers into bite size pieces. Store in a re-sealable baggie lined with paper towel and serve as a salad another day. Separate the leaves you are going to use, wash and store the appetizer portion size leaves in a re-sealable baggie lined with paper towel until ready to serve. 


On a decorative platter, arrange lettuce leaves.

Scoop a generous portion of salad mixture into each lettuce leaf.

Sprinkle portions with additional 4 slices of chopped, cooked bacon.


Pork Tenderloin with Spiced Ginger Dipping Sauce:

There is sooooo much flavor packed into each cube of meat, not to mention the dipping sauce, it will leave your guests wanting more (and this is just an appetizer!).

One pound of pork tenderloin makes about 15 skewers (with 3 slices of meat on each).


In a re-sealable baggie (so much less mess), combine;

1 cup sliced green onion (green and white parts)

½ cup of vegetable oil

7-8 cloves of minced garlic

1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (bring on the heat)

1 Tbsp chopped, fresh ginger (Heavenly aroma)

2 Tbsp sesame oil

3 Tbsp lime juice

1 large pork tenderloin (approximately 1 ½ lbs, cut into 1” cubes)

Marinade for at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight


Over medium heat, heat up a saucepan.


1 Tbsp vegetable oil

½ cup red onion, chopped

Cook until the onion is tender, approximately 4 minutes


1 heaping Tbsp chopped ginger (sooooo fragrant)

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Cook for a minute or so (until delightfully aromatic)


1 – 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, do not drain

¼ cup rice vinegar

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce

1 Tbsp sugar

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Bring sauce to a simmer for 10 minutes, over medium-low heat.

Pour sauce into a blender, puree until smooth.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

Garnish with chopped scallions


Soak skewers for 30m minutes.

Remove pork cubes from marinade.

Thread 3 cubes on each skewer, allowing a little space between each cube, for even cooking. Discard marinade.


Option 1: Pre-heat grill to medium. Add cubed pork skewers and cook 5-8 minutes per side.

Option 2: Pre-heat grill pan on cook top over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add pork skewers and cook 3-5 minutes per side.


Arrange artfully on a platter and serve with the dipping sauce.

Roasted Red Pepper Dip:

This dip is delicious with veggies, pita chips, or perhaps even on a Panini sandwich…..

In a blender, place;

2 – 7 oz jars of roasted red sweet peppers, drained

½ cup oil packed, sun dried tomatoes, drained and snipped

 1 heaping tsp fresh thyme

2 tsp honey

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic minced

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Blend until smooth

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve


Blanch Vegetables:

Blanching brings out the beautiful color and flavors of your favorite veggies.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Add kosher salt.


1 lb trimmed green beans in boiling water for 2 minutes

Remove and immediately place in an ice bath

When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water


1 lb peeled, trimmed and sliced carrots in boiling water for 2 minutes

Remove and immediately place in an ice bath

When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water


1 lb trimmed asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes

Remove and immediately place in an ice bath

When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water


3 squash, trimmed and sliced into spears in boiling water for 2 minutes

Remove and immediately place in an ice bath

When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water


3 zucchini, trimmed and sliced into spears in boiling water for 2 minutes

Remove and immediately place in an ice bath

When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water


1 lb of broccoli florettes in boiling water for 2 minutes

Remove and immediately place in an ice bath

When cool, place on a paper towel to soak up the water


When ready to serve, arrange veggies on a platter and dip in a bowl

Put pita chips (you can make your own or purchase the fantastic Stacy’s brand pita chips) in a bowl


 I hope you have had a great Labor Day with your family creating….more memories!



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Labor Day Fun, Part 3; The Appetizers….

As the More is More Mom®, I am highly in favor of…..more cocktails and appetizers! Why do they call it a cocktail hour? Do the powers that be really think 60 minutes is nearly enough time to imbibe and snack? I think not. Besides, if you’ve invited friends for dinner, they’re likely to be counting on an evening full of fun, and what better way to kick off your gathering than with a little something to wet the appetite?


Now, when we girls get together for Book Club, BUNCO or an in home demonstration with the likes of jewelry purveyors and the Pampered Chef, devising a menu is always pretty easy. The ladies tend to like snicky snacks that are crunchy, cheesy, garlic-y and salty. The men, on the other hand, prefer heartier fare. I find that most guests arrive hungry, which they should if they’ve been invited over for dinner. It can be tricky to strike that perfect balance; offering enough to nibble on, while not sooooo much that no one is hungry for dinner. Hmmm, what to do?  

For Labor Day, my main menu consisted of a beautiful Stacked BLT Salad, Summers Bounty Vegetable Pasta Salad and an Herb Marinated Beef Tenderloin (which can be found in my archives dated 8/31/10). Let’s face it, simply put, men like meat. So, I decided to make an appetizer with sausage and another with crab meat. Not too much, not too little. Goldilocks was happy because…..it was just right.

  • Sausage Lover’s Dip served with Frito’s Scoops (Who wouldn’t love that?)
  • Crab pastries (on a buttery biscuit!)
  • Fresh veggies (for the eternally boring and health conscious) 


Sausage Lover’s Dip:

And who doesn’t like a maple breakfast sausage? This recipe is a total bonus; there is only one ingredient to chop, and it can be prepared a day ahead and warmed up in the microwave. I serve it with the perfect food, a Frito’s Scoop, but it is equally as good licked off of a spoon (make that a tablespoon).


In a large skillet, over medium high heat, cook;

1 package of breakfast sausage (I’m a fan of the maple flavor)

Break up and stir constantly until cooked completely

Add 2 Tbsp of water, cover skillet and cook for another minute or so.

Remove the lid, reduce heat to low, add;

1-8 oz  package of softened cream cheese

¾ cup of sour cream

2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup of chopped green onions

1 -10 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained

1 -10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 tsp garlic powder


Stir until cheese is melted and well blended.


Either serve immediately (why would you want to do that? You’d have a messy pan to clean up) or make it in advance, put it in the fridge and warm it up in the micro when your guests arrive. You can serve it with anything, though I prefer the beauty of a Frito’s Scoop.

Crab Pastries:

There is something so indulgent and elegant about serving crab meat. It’s really no big deal. I buy it at Costco, in a container, ready to go.

This recipe is so easy.  It’s like making classy tuna or egg salad.

In a medium size bowl, combine;

1 -16 oz can of crab meat

1 ½ cups of grated Swiss cheese

1 cup of mayonnaise

5 Tbsp finely chopped, green onions

2 ½ tsp of lemon juice (from a container is fine too!)

1 tsp salt

Mix thoroughly,


I, myself, like to make the entertaining process as streamlined as possible. My preference is to use disposable, aluminum foil baking pans. Who wants to deal with messy pans when you’re entertaining? Efficient and tidy.

Pre-heat oven to 350°


2 Tubes of flaky crusty rolls (perhaps a Golden Layers Hungry Jack?)

Separate biscuit layers into 2-3 per disc

Place in a single layer on a baking sheet


1 Tbsp of crab mixture onto each disc

Bake for approximately 10 minutes until melted and bubbly

Cool, plate and serve to your guests delight!

Veggies to Dip:

Well, what more is there to say about rabbit food? Slice up your favorite vegetables. I am partial to carrots, cucumbers, red, yellow and orange peppers and snap peas (so sweet!). There is something wonderful about the pre-packaged gift of Ranch dressing. I like to top it with a few chopped scallions for a bit of homemade embellishment.

What else is there to say? Plate, serve and dip. Yum!


In addition to the few well chosen appetizers, I like to scatter bowls of party mix, roasted nuts and peanut butter filled pretzels to satisfy the crunch factor.

Light a few candles, turn up the tunes and enjoy your nearest and dearest.

Tomorrow, I can’t wait to share my recipe for the most fabulous, family friendly cookie ever!

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