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Appetizers/ Entree/ Game/ Lamb

Lamb Chops with Huacatay Sauce

I love these little chops!

What’s not to love about these cute little lamb chops; a very tender piece of meat, a beautifully Frenched bone and they look just like little “meat lollipops”. They make a perfect appetizer or several for a meal. For an appetizer these little lollipops can be eaten with your hands; no knife and fork needed. And, who doesn’t like eating meat off the bone?

When my mother use to fried bread pork chops or pork steaks, my favorite part was what was left on the bone and I couldn’t wait to eat that part of the chop/steak. We never had lamb growing up, never; and I guess that’s why it took me well into my adulthood to even try them. I have to say that I don’t buy them often unless I’m at Costco and then I will pick up a couple of packages and throw them in the freezer for something special I may be doing.  

These would be great added to your holiday celebrations. My mouth is watering just thinking of making these again. I may be experimenting with some different sauces and dips for this little tidbits of juiciness. 

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Appetizers/ ColdApp

Honey Pecan Stuffed Snow Peas

I know you may be thinking “she’s crazy for stuffing those tiny little pods”, but they are always a hit a party.

When I started catering 20 years ago it seemed like everything idea I came up with involved a lot of time and handling of food. But, I have to say, those are usually the appetizers people go crazy for. Anyone can throw out a cheese tray or deli tray so I tend to like appetizers that people know you went to a little extra trouble making. I usually cringe when someone calls me and ask me if I do “trays”. What comes to mind when I think “trays” are piles of cheese or little hoagie sandwiches with those frilly little picks sticking out of the top.

I’ve stuffed black olives with pepperoni and then piped in a flavored cream cheese, I have stuffed rigatoni bites, and the Parmesan Bacon Wraps I make are to die for and they take a couple of hours almost in the oven.


This is a great little recipe I first tried about 10 years ago from “Come On In” cookbook. A few years ago I was catering a wedding and I had the menu all prepared for 75 guest. I had planned on doing these snow peas. Normally I would have done 150, which would have been 2 per person. Well, the guest list kept growing and growing and finally ended up at 225.  So the night before the wedding I’m sitting (by myself) stuffing 450 snow peas. I think it took me about 4 hours just to do the peas. After that, I never put them on the menu for 50 or more people — they just takes way too long to do these for large parties.

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Appetizers/ Bread/ HotApp/ Morning Foods

Dijon Ham and Cream Cheese Biscuits

Dijon Ham and Cream Cheese Biscuits for holiday brunch.

I can still smell my mother’s homemade biscuits baking away in the oven. She made the best from scratch biscuits. My sister and I use to have her bang the pan on the counter so the biscuits would flatten out and you would have two crunchy sides with no middles. These days, people want big fluffy biscuits and I think, now, I prefer that type of biscuit, but what I wouldn’t give to have one of my mother’s.

A couple of years ago I was flipping through one of my food magazines and saw an advertisement for a Cream Cheese Ham Biscuit. They were $24/dozen and the first thing I thought of was “I could make those”. I love the challenge to try and make something I have tried in a restaurant or seen in a magazine.

I found these biscuits at a local store, bought some, baked them and then baked mine. Mine were really close and after tweaking the recipe I think I would rather save my $24 and make my version.

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Appetizers/ HotApp

Parmesan Bacon Wraps

A favorite at parties I have catered

These tiny little pieces of bacon, Parmesan and cracker are to die for. I have been making these for friends, family and catering clients for twenty years now. They are so easy to make. They may take a while in the oven, so that’s why if you want to make plenty and keep them in the freezer for last minute appetizers.

These are good with a glass of wine or even a glass of orange juice for breakfast.

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Here’s what you are going to need. Bacon, Parmesan Cheese and Club Crackers. Depending on how many you want I usually calculate things this way. There are 11-12 pieces of bacon in a pound and you cut that into giving you somewhere between 22-24 bacon wraps per pound of bacon.

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Start by putting a small amount of Parmesan cheese on top of the cracker. Take 1/2 piece of bacon and wrap it around the cracker enclosing the Parmesan cheese. Line these up on a broiler rack (this will catch the grease that cooks out of the bacon.

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I usually bake these at 250° in my two convection ovens. I use all three racks. If you don’t have a convection oven, still use all three racks and bake at 250° for 1 1/2 -2 hours or until crisp and brown.   If you only have one broiler rack you can also put a cookie cooling rack inside a sheet pan (with edge).  Make sure you use the sheet pan because you don’t want grease spilling over in your oven.

If you are serving these immediately, drain on paper towels and then heap up on serving dish. If you will be eating these later, cool on racks, then put in ziplock bags and freeze.  When ready to serve, thaw and heat in 350° for about 10-12 minutes.  Drain on paper towels before serving.

These will be a hit.

Parmesan Bacon Wraps


  • 1 box of club crackers*
  • 1-2 lbs. bacon cut in half
  • 1 c. finely grated parmesan cheese


  1. Cut the bacon in half and sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of parmesan cheese on top of the cracker. Carefully wrap one half piece of bacon around the cracker and cheese and put cheese side up on a broiler tray or a cookie sheet with cooling rack on top. Repeat until you have made as many as you want.
  2. Put the tray in a 250° oven and bake for at least an hour until they are brown and crisp. At this point I normally cool and freeze in bags until ready to serve. When ready to serve, put the bacon wraps on a rimmed cookie sheet and warm in 350 oven for about 5-8 minutes or until hot. I sometimes drain on paper towel if there is still a lot of grease.
  3. Note: I have mades these for over 30 years and the last several years I started noticing that about every other cracker would break when I was trying to wrap the bacon. I wrote Kebler and they told me it was because the crackers are now 0 trans fat. So, if you can buy generic that still has the trans fat, they work a lot better. If not, then be very gentle wrapping them.
Appetizers/ ColdApp

Jalapeno Blue Cheese Spread

Ready for a margarita to go with this yummy spread.

Whether you are doing a south of the border meal or not, this appetizer is tasty, with a little crunch and spice.

One night at my sister’s house last week, in between tornado warnings,  barbecuing ribs, and entertaining two babies, we whipped up this yummy appetizer.

You want a beautiful glass to serve this in and any kind of cracker will do.

Jalapeno Blue Cheese Spread


  • 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 5 oz. blue cheese crumbled
  • 16 oz. sour cream
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp. vinegar
  • 2 oz. pimientos chopped
  • 1 c. pecans roasted
  • Assorted crackers


  1. Combine gelatin with water in a custard up, let stand. Place cream cheese and blue cheese in a 2 quart bowl. Microwave at 50% power 60-90 seconds until softened. Mix with sour cream until smooth, set aside. Microwave gelatin on high 30 seconds or until boiling. Stir in vinegar and blend into cheese mixture. Add the peppers, pecans and pimentos. Pour into mold (or margarita glass) and chill several hours. Turn onto red leaf lettuce line tray (if you have molded it in a dish) and garnish with jalapeno flower or slices of jalapenos. Serve with crackers on the side.

Recipe Notes

(Hint: have all ingredients ready before starting. The gelatin may set too quickly if you start adding cold ingredients and you don’t have everything else ready to fold in.) Also, anytime I use a mold, I line it with plastic wrap then all you have to do is flip it out and peel off the plastic wrap. I usually do this recipe in either small margarita glasses or one of the giant ones. I have substituted pistachio nuts for the pecans and then sprinkled pistachios on top. Either way, it’s unbelievably good. —