Tag Archives: cocktails

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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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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Cocktails and Appetizers on the Wild Side!

What could be a better way to celebrate summer than with cocktails and appetizers on your patio, deck, porch or balcony? Come with me, the More is More Mom®, as we take a walk on the wild side….

Always and forever, the very best parties start with a cohesive theme. Celebrating the holidays is a total gimme because the theme is readily defined; the food and décor fairly expected. Throwing a soiree just for fun however offers an opportunity that is completely open to interpretation. Inspiration is everywhere. It can be as simple as food from a favorite region or country or a combination of colors for your menu or décor. My best advice is that you immerse yourself in your theme to make it as authentic as possible.


The extreme summer heat was perfectly relevant to a Safari inspired party. I set up my bar at my cocktail table on my deck. In a round, zebra skin tray I placed tortoise wine goblets, highball glasses and a monkey statue in the center to kick off my theme. Behind the glassware, to add height and gentle softness, I placed a large pot of impatiens. To the right, I offered a variety of spirits and placed chartreuse and brown zebra print beverage napkins. Be inventive. I borrowed a brown metal dragonfly that sits in my Powder Room as a decorative weight to keep the napkins from flying away. To the left I showcased a tall African mask, various cocktail making implements and two crystals bowls, one with mixed nuts for snacking and the other with wedges of lemons and limes. On the ground, next to my cocktail table, I filled a tall footed, metal plant stand with ice and nestled bottles of white wine, beer, soda and water to round out my beverage offerings.

The warm weather beckoned a selection of delicious, cold appetizers;

  • Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices
  • Shrimp Cocktail in a tangy homemade sauce
  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears
  • Greek Salsa and Pita Chips


I set up my hors d’oeuvres buffet on my dining table outdoors. Setting up a pleasing arrangement is really quite simple; it should be bountiful and beautiful. I select platters and trays that compliment each other and my theme. I consider the number of serving pieces needed and how best to configure them for optimal reach. As a general rule, I like to use pedestals of varying height to create a display that is both user friendly and attractive.

In the center of the arrangement I anchored a pedestal on which I placed a glass cheetah patterned platter, which just screams Giorgio Armani, for the Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices. On an angle to the right, I used a leopard print tray to carry the martini glasses filled with the Shrimp Cocktail. To the left I filled an animal skin patterned platter with the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Spears. On the outskirts of the tablescape, you will find a cheetah planter filled with Pita Chips and a crystal bowl filled with the Greek Salsa. The rest of the buffet is filled in with potted flowers, pillar candles atop banana leaf holders, brown and cream zebra plates, more of the fun napkins from the bar and an urn holding utensils. The various heights and textures create a harmonious, gorgeous and generous feast.

The Prosciutto Wrapped Mango Slices couldn’t be easier and more delicious!

6 thinly sliced pieces of prosciutto, cut into 2-3 strips

2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced into spears

Handful of tender greens such as arugula or baby spinach

Handful of fresh basil leaves

Cracked black pepper

To assemble;

Stack 2 large tender green stems along with a 1 large, or a few small, basil leaves

Place a mango slice on top

Wrap a strip of prosciutto around the mango and greens

Artfully arrange on your platter

Sprinkle with cracked black pepper and serve

Your guests will be delighted with the sweet and salty freshness!

The remainder of the appetizer recipes can be found on July 29th at Trib Local on-line. For additional step by step photographs, please visit me at my website http://moreismoremom.com  If you have any questions, please email me at moreismoremom@gmail.com


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Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates…..Sort of.

Life is like a box of chocolates……sort of.

My book club is the best! There are eleven of us; all mothers from Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Grammar School. Between us, we have 30 children in grade school, high school and college. What we lack in diversity, we make up for in commitment to our personal ideals and perspective (most shared, many unique). We have read a huge variety; classics, pop culture, best sellers, controversial books and sleepers.

We have always met in the evenings for a few snicky snacks, cocktails and scintillating discussions. But motherhood is a tough and demanding profession. Evenings can be complicated with family commitments such as homework (if I can’t comprehend the material, I can certainly crack the whip!), sports (fans and transportation are always in demand), dinner (why are these people always so hungry?) and work (bringing home the bacon is nowhere near as much fun as eating it!). Some nights it’s simply impossible to squeeze it all in.

During the school year we’ve decided to try something completely new……luncheon meetings. Thankfully, we’re back to our summer evening hours, because too many cocktails at lunch seems kind of booze haggy. Cocktails in the evening feels completely social. Regardless of when we meet however, one problem still remains: while everyone attends the meetings, not everyone reads the book. Hmmmm. What to do?

My dear friend Julia had a delicious idea; if you haven’t managed to read the book, you are required to bring a box of good chocolates. Like truffles. While M n M’s are to die for, only decadent and luscious chocolates will suffice.

Well, we met Wednesday night for our first meeting since instituting the new bylaw. We enjoyed a great night full of love and laughter, thoughtful discussion and two beautiful and amazing boxes of chocolates…..How sweet it is!

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