Yummy pesto pasta salad-hot or cold

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This is a really easy thing to make for a party, quick dinner or have unexpected guests.  This can be served hot or cold.

Pesto Recipe:

Big bunch of basil

Extra Virgin Olive oil– about 3/4 cups

1 cup pine nuts

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 garlic clove

Directions: in a mixer put basil and pine nuts and mix, then add the parmesan cheese and garlic clove.  While it’s spinning stream in the olive oil.  You will have a lot of pesto and can divide up into little containers that you can freeze for later use.

 

Different uses for Pesto:  On little toast for a quick hors d’oeuvres- add a sliced cherry tomato and a few pine nuts, it can be added on grilled chicken, fish or steak… it just adds a bit of flavor… you can even toss a spoon in soup.  The ideas go on and on-even a dollop on a caprese salad adds color and taste! I am using it as a simple pasta salad.

 

For the pasta salad:  Use a box of shapely noodles… it grips the pesto better.  Halve a bunch of cherry tomatoes, add cut basil leaves with your fingers or sissors, salt and pepper to taste and add a bunch of soup spoons of pesto—toss it all together.  You want the pasta to be really green and not too dry-so add in as many spoons of pesto as you think-depending on the amount of pasta you use.  You can also add olive oil for moisture. Serve hot or cold.  Add protein to this salad:  shrimp, chicken or scallops have worked well, but I prefer to add protein when I serve the dish hot, but if you serve it cold, chicken is always a good option.  You can make this a day in advance for your party, picnic or buffet if you are serving it cold!  YUM

 

49th Birthday party appetizers

I decided to host a birthday party for my friend.  At first I wanted it to be a surprise… well, I apparently can’t keep a secret.  I had asked Jill if she wanted to celebrate her birthday with me and Latifa at my place.  In the end she said it would be great but she’d love to have Wendy and Penny join.  I burst out laughing because I had spent the whole day spying on her facebook page to get contact names.  I basically told her I’d already invited them.  Later that evening I then blurted out more people I invited.  I decided not to cook as much for this party as I was busy working on other projects and didn’t have much time.  I ended up serving way too much food!  What you don’t see here are Jill’s favorite hot appetizers.  Olive balls.

 

Olive ball recipe:

40 green pimento olives drained

4 tablespoons of European style butter

3 cups of cheddar cheese

1/2 cup flour

Directions:  Drain the olives and set aside.  Mix with your hands or in the cuisinart all the ingredients until you get it shaped into a big ball.  Take a bit off each time and make a little pancake like shape.  Place an olive in it and then wrap it with the dough.  The best part about this appetizer is you can freeze them and always have them on hand for last minute get togethers.  The keep in the freezer for about 2 months.  Just bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so.  YUM

 

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I also made chocolate covered strawberries.  It’s super easy and a nice treat.  I usually buy a big bar of chocolate and use my make shift bain marie- a  steel bowl on top of a pot with boiling water.  You need to constantly stir the chocolate until it fully melts.  I used about 250 grams of chocolate for 12 huge strawberries.  I wasn’t in the mood to make a cake, so I cheated and bought the cheese cake.

Next I bought a great spinach dip that I placed in the red pepper cut out.

 

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A very easy and pretty appetizer is blue cheese, walnuts and endive…. this is so simple, break apart the endive, sprinkle a good blue cheese and little pieces of walnuts and voila!!!!!

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The evening was nice with lots of food to eat… I got every type of Italian cured meat at Perozzi’s Italian deli, in San Pedro! YUM

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