Viewing category ‘Holiday Entertaining’


Super Bowl appetizer idea: Boursin cheese-stuffed mushrooms

Categories: Cooking, Food, Holiday Entertaining, recipes

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The Super Bowl is coming up, and I consider it the official end of Appetizer Season, so it makes me a little sad. I love appetizers and I’m always on the lookout for something new, or at least “new” to me.

I’m fortunate to be able to take a girl’s trip to the beach each January with my friends. Aside from the obvious benefit of getting to go on vacation, I always end up with a few new recipes.

We cook at least one of the night’s we’re there, and this year we ended up just having an appetizer spread. I particularly like it when I learn about an appetizer that’s really quick and easy because we know I’m all about the quick appetizer.

I may be the last one to know about this, but I am in love with Boursin cheese-stuffed mushrooms.

Boursin Cheese-stuffed Mushrooms


  • Large, fresh mushrooms (as many as you want to make)
  • 6 oz. of boursin herb cheese spread (usually found in the refrigerated section with the fancy cheeses at the grocery)
  • Melted butter to brush on mushrooms


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Wash and de-stem mushrooms, brush lightly with butter

3. Spoon the cheese into the mushroom caps

4. Bake on a baking sheet at 450 for 15 min.

If you’re feeling especially fancy, you can finely chop the mushroom stems and add them and some Parmesan cheese to the boursin cheese and top with bread crumbs and butter and bake until lightly browned.

That’s all there is to it!

What are you taking to the Super Bowl party? Tell us in the comments below.

5 ways to prepare for Thanksgiving now

Categories: Entertaining, Holiday Entertaining, Meal Planning

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Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away, can you believe it? It’s been a few years since I’ve had to host dinner, but this year is my turn and I’m a little out of practice.

I stay pretty busy, so I feel like I should get started on it right away. I know cooking is the bulk of the work, it’s hard to do too much about that right now, but there’s plenty of other things you can do to begin to get ready for Thanksgiving ahead of time:

1. Plan the menu - Deciding what to cook isn’t brain surgery, but take some time now to find any needed recipes and solicit special requests from your guests. I like to create a detailed shopping list from the menu I write down. Sometimes I buy all at once, and other times I see what’s on sale and buy as I go. Now’s a good time to see if you have enough staples like butter, flour and sugar already in your pantry.

2. Plan the table - What tablecloth, napkins, plates etc are you going to use? Go ahead and dig them out and wash them if they are stored somewhere. Will you need to borrow chairs? Be the first caller to that friend who always seems to have extra. When we have a lot of people, our table space is limited, so I also mentally assign a serving dish to each menu item and estimate how much space they will use.

3. Make room in the fridge - A couple of weeks before a holiday, I try to cut back on any bulky items from my regular shopping so there will be room to store all the things I’ve prepared. Also, the day of reckoning is here: clean out the refrigerator.

4. Clean the house - If you’re like us, the house doesn’t stay clean long, but now is a good time to straighten a guest room, stay on top of the laundry or vacuum a little-used dining room. If there are any chores you can take care of now, you’ll thank yourself when you don’t have to do them AND cook at the same time.

5. Plan the leftovers - Our dinner guests are family, and I have one brother-in-law who is known for taking leftovers. He’s single and It’s just what he does and everyone plans accordingly and I just factor that into what I cook. He usually arrives with his own set of storage containers, but I try to be prepared with disposable ones that he (or anyone) can use if needed. This is also the time to match those pesky tops with the good storage containers for the food you keep at home for turkey sandwiches on Friday.

I’ve been trying to do a few non food-related tasks each day to get ready for Thanksgiving. However, I have no authority to tell you how to cook ahead of time, I’ve not mastered that part. I will be the one asking you about your fastest macaroni and cheese recipe at 2am on Thanksgiving morning.

However, my storage containers will have their lids.

Appetizers on the run

Categories: Holiday Entertaining, Lunches, Organization, side dishes


Hi, I’m Elizabeth, better known as Busy Mom around the Internet, and it’s nice to meet you! Chris is a tough act to follow here, but I’m really excited to be writing for Ordering Disorder. I’m married and have 3 kids, and I work full-time as a nurse, so I always appreciate hearing ways you create order in your life and I hope you’ll join in all our discussions here.

Enough of that, let’s get started!

My husband is a teacher, and I also tend to hang around teachers, and the warm weather and their relaxed summer schedules inspire parties and other evening gatherings.  I love to get together with friends, but my schedule in the summer is the same as it always is, so I sometimes find myself rushing to parties after work and changing clothes along the way so I don’t miss out on anything.

Like any good guest, I always volunteer to “bring something”. Now, I love appetizers, and when I offer, I truly mean it. But somehow, I never actually get around to planning ahead for what I’m going to bring, and I inevitably tell myself, “I’ll just pick up something after work”.

While that’s a good enough plan on the surface, more often than not, I end up wandering in circles in the store looking for “something” I can walk out with that doesn’t have to be prepared, and is presentable for a gathering.

My fallback appetizer, (mighty tasty, though not exactly revolutionary), is the tried and true Cream Cheese and Pepper Jelly:

1 8oz. block of softened cream cheese
1 jar of pepper jelly (red or green, your preference)

Spread the jelly over the cream cheese and serve with crackers of some sort (I like to use Wheat Thins)

Gather those ingredients, buy a fancy disposable plate or tray in the baking section, and you’re good to go straight from the store to the party.

Action shot (or proof you can go straight from the store to the party):

Appetizer on the run

Help me out, though. I need something new to add to my repertoire of, “Appetizers You Can Prepare in the Car” because, let’s face it, that won’t be the last time I run by the store after work to find something party-worthy.

Do you have a standby appetizer that you can pick up on the way to the party that looks like you made an effort, but is something other than chips and salsa from the gas station?

Do share!

Mini Cherry Cobblers — Picnic Perfect

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Food, Holiday Entertaining, Kids Cook, Uncategorized, summer living



I found these adorable ramekins at the grocery store a few weeks ago.  I am a sucker for this color blue and pretty things in general.  For only $1 each, I could not pass them up.  I knew that I would find something to use them for.  So far I have served grapes in them, hummus, dips of all kinds– the best part of course is that no one is concerned about double dipping since they all have their own individual ramekin.

I have yet to find the cure for the unparalleled horror of having a sibling breathing near your food, but should I discover the answer to that I will be sure to let you know. I am here for you, people.

So Fourth of July came and I had them setting out on the counter and I decided that I would make a red, white and blue treat with them. 

The best part? The recipe is so easy that even your youngest children can make this with minimal help.


To make 10* individual cobblers you will need:

2 21oz canned cherries
1 tube of biscuits
1T melted butter
2T sugar
1tsp cinnamon

*Why 10? The biscuits come 10 to a tube and the 21oz can makes 5. So, uh, do the math! Or better yet, make your child do the math and then pat yourself on the back for helping them keep their mind sharp during their summer vacation. Their teacher will be proud of your efforts!


Divide the cherries up evenly between your ten ramekins.


Whack your tube of biscuits open against your counter until you hear that satisfying pop. Then take the biscuits out, flatten them slightly, and stick one in each ramekin on top of the cherries.


Brush the top with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake in the 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

These taste delicious hot, cold, or any state of cooling from hot to cold. I have already made another batch today since it was easier than listening to the complaints that 10 is not evenly divisible by 7. (See, more summer math work! FTW!)

Italian Braided Easter Bread

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Food, Holiday Entertaining, side dishes


This bread was always a tradition in my house growing up. The Italian Braided Easter Bread. What made it particularly Italian, I do not know. I think the my step-father’s family liked to attribute everything that they did as being uniquely an Italian tradition.

And so even though I can no no longer eat bread, I carry on the tradition.

I do not, however, dye the eggs.

This is what happened the last time we dyed easter eggs. The child in the photo has just turned 11. I have yet to recover from the experience.


You will need:

6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter
3 eggs

4 eggs* for putting in the braids of the bread


Mix in a small cup:
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water

Brush this over the bread before putting in the oven to give the bread a nice sheen. This is optional and purely aesthetic.

Step One:

Put the milk and butter into a sauce pan and heat on low just until the butter melts. Do not boil it. If it gets too hot it will kill the yeast when you add this to the dry ingredients.

Step Two:

In your mixing bowl combine half the flour and the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix well.


(Not shown, my son turning the measuring cup upside down and pour most of the flour NOT in the bowl.)

Step Three:

Pour the milk/melted butter mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix well.

Step Four:

Add the three eggs to the mixing bowl. Mix until it is smooth.

Step Five:

Slowly add remaining flour until the dough forms a smooth ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You may need less than the full six cups of flour, or you may need slightly more.

Step Six:

Dump the dough out of the mixing bowl and knead it on a lightly floured surface.


Don’t afraid to really work the dough.


Dancing on a chair while you do it is optional, but seems to add something to the experience.

Make the dough into a nice round ball, and place it into an oiled bowl.


Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and put somewhere warm to rise.


You will know it is done rising when it doubles in size.

Once that happens you are going to beat the dough back down.


Again, chair dancing while kneading is optional, but you only live once, so why the heck not. This is the fun that money can’t buy. Which is good, because who has extra money in this economy.


Break the dough into three equal pieces.


Form each of those pieces into a long (24″ maybe?) snake.


Loosely braid the three pieces together and form them into a circle. Pinch the ends together. Then tuck the eggs** into the spaces of the braid.

Now set it aside and wait while it rises again.


And wait some more. To quote Tom Petty, “The wai-ai-aiting is the hardest part.”


After it has finished rising, feel free to shout, “It has risen! It has risen, indeed!” Just to get into the Easter spirit.

You are then going to brush the top of the bread with the egg/water mixture. Unless after all that waiting you forget, like I did.

Put your bread into a 375 degree oven and bake for about 30 min. You will know your bread is done when it has turned a golden color and when to tap on it you hear a hollow sound.


Perfect for eating with your Easter ham.

*The eggs that you put in the braids of the bread can be dyed and hardboiled. Or you can just use raw eggs and they cook inside while the bread is baking. I have never had a problem doing it that way.

**I discourage eating the eggs that are in the bread anyway because the bread sits out of refrigeration for so long. Yes, my step father’s family always used to eat the eggs and they all lived to tell the tale, but they also gave all of us kids coffee to drink with shots of Zambuca in it and called it an Italian tradition. So, you know, use your own, probably superior, judgement.

Pumpkin Dip

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Food, Holiday Entertaining, Kids Cook


This is frighteningly good. It tastes like Pumpkin Pie without that pesky crust, or baking. Or time. Or any real effort. Are you the sort of person who remembers at 2:00 that you have a holiday party to attend at 2:30, and you still need to shower, dress, and bring a food item to share? Then this is the recipe for you.

Serve with Gingersnap cookies, or graham crackers if you prefer.

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Stuffed Jalepeno Pepper Poppers

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Holiday Entertaining, Uncategorized


These are so easy to make… are you beginning to sense a theme with my cooking? Yesterday I whipped up a platter of these and brought them outside to my sons’ friends that were hanging out in yard with him. Yes I realize teenage boys will eat anything, but they will also tell you if it isn’t good while they are eating it. They inhaled the peppers.

One boy picked one up off of the platter and said, very seriously, “Everything is better with bacon.” If I had a teenage daughter I would have immediately proposed an arranged marriage.
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Hearty Minestrone Soup — a.k.a. Christmas Soup

Categories: Cooking, Food, Holiday Entertaining


This has been coined Christmas soup by my family because it is red and green and white, making it Christmas in a bowl.


(photo of the vegetables being sauteed)

1 lb Italian sausage
1 red pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
4 cups beef broth
1 cup red wine for soup
3 cups red wine for drinking while cooking
16 oz can chopped tomatoes
16 oz can white beans
1 med zucchini, sliced
1 med potato, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups pasta shells (I use gluten free an no one is any wiser)

If you are using sausage links, you will want to remove them from the casings and cut them into chunks. I just used ground sausage instead and skip this step.

Saute the sausage over medium heat until it is browned on all sides, 5 minutes or so.

Add the chopped red pepper, onion, and celery and saute for an additional 5 minutes or so.

Add all of the remaining ingredients, except for the pasta. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25 - 30 minutes.

During this time you will want to boil up your pasta shells. Drain and rinse them, before adding them to the soup at the end. You can add them uncooked to the soup, but they will absorb so much water and I have always found that when you do it that way there is a really pasty taste in the food.

I have tripled this recipe and have it all set in a huge stockpot just waiting to turn it on tomorrow morning and serve it with our Christmas dinner.

Praline Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Categories: Cooking, Entertaining, Food, Holiday Entertaining, side dishes


For the month of November there is something fun happening over here at this little cooking blog. I asked some of my favorite bloggers to share a recipe that they will be making this holiday season. Whether it is a holiday specific recipe or just something they will be cooking for their families while they are in the midst of the rat race know as the holidays.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Metalia. Surely all of you are reading her blog? She is a working mom of two young ADORABLE children and she is hilariously funny.

When I asked her if she had a recipe she immediately told me about this praline sweet potato pie. She had already made it a few times, FOR PRACTICE, so that she would know how to do it for Thanksgiving. God, I love her. And now that I have read the recipe and seen the photos, I would practice making this pie and practice eating this pie for the entire holiday season. I do need practice eating stealthily in my pantry I think.
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Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Categories: Cooking, Food, Holiday Entertaining, Kids Cook



So, you carved your jack o’lantern, but what do you do with all of those seeds? If you are like the old me you just throw them away, along with all of the slimy pumpkin innards. But yesterday I decided to roast them up.
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