Easy Entertaining - Dinner Parties

Shrimp & Melon Skewers with Rio Grande Dipping Sauce

Shrimp & Melon Canapés with Rio Grande Dipping Sauce

2/3 cup Rio Grande Vinaigrette (see RECIPES for vinaigrette directions)
1 # cooked medium or large shrimp
1 large honeydew melon

Reserve 2-3 Tablespoons of vinaigrette; marinate shrimp in remaining vinaigrette for about 30 minutes.

Remove peel from melon.  Cut melon into 1/2” cubes (as many cubes as shrimp)
To Serve:

Drain marinated shrimp.

Drizzle some of reserved vinaigrette on serving plate.

Use toothpicks or decorative picks to attach each shrimp to a melon cube.  Set atop vinaigrette as shown in picture.

Drizzle reserved marinade on plate if desired.  Garnish plate with snipped chives or parsley if desired.

TIP:  Allow 3-5 shrimp per person.

TIP:  See SERVEWARE page for sources for decorative picks.

Beef & Garlic Blue Cheese Canapés

Roast Beef and Garlic Blue Cheese Canapés

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 package Garlic Blue Cheese dip mix
1 pound of thinly sliced rare roast beef or filet mignon
1 Baguette
1/2 cup garlic or onion jam
1 package Garlic Blue Cheese dip mix
5 fresh chives

Combine mayo, cream cheese and dip mix until well blended.

Chill until ready to use on canapés.

Slice Baguette into 1/4 inch pieces.

Spread 1/2 t of garlic or onion jam on each  baguette slice.

Layer pieces of beef on bread slices.

Dollop 1 t garlic blue cheese dip on each piece.
To Serve:

Garnish with snipped chives if desired.

TIP:  Allow 2-3 canapés. per person.

TIP:  These bites will stand up to a bold red wine, or showcase this appetizer with good quality whisky (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Dewar's 12 Year Aged Scotch, Jameson Irish Whisky).

Velvety Curried Butternut or Pumpkin Bisque

Velvety Curried Butternut Bisque
5 cups of water, divided
1 package Velvety Curried Bisque soup mix
1 (15 oz) package cooked butternut squash or pumpkin
2 chives per serving


Dissolve mix in 2 cups of warm water.  Stir until smooth.

Add mashed butternut squash or pumpkin.  Stir to combine.

Add 3 cups of warm water.  Stir to combine.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Do not boil.
To Serve:

Serve soup family style in seasonal tureen or ladle into individual serving bowls.

If serving in individual bowls, garnish each with 2 crossed chives if desired.

Serves 6.
TIP:  Sweet potatoes are also delicious in place of squash & pumpkin.  

TIP:  To keep this quick and easy, use a 1 pound box of the preferred frozen cooked vegetable.  Defrost in microwave (takes only a few minutes on 30% power).  Mash veggies well after defrosting and use as directed.

TIP:  For a more sophisticated preparation, sauté 1/2 pound of chopped Portobello mushrooms or shrimp in 2 teaspoons of butter over medium heat for about 4 minutes.  Use to garnish individual serving dishes, or pass separately if serving bisque family style.

White Chocolate Amaretto Mousse & Strawberries

Strawberries nestled in a bed of White Chocolate Amaretto Mousse in black tasting spoons, served with champagne

No one will want to turn down dessert when it’s one gorgeous, delicious bite.

1 package (8 oz) 1/3 less fat Philadelphia® cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons milk, divided
1 container (8 oz) Lite Cool Whip®
1 package White Chocolate Amaretto mousse mix
1 pound fresh strawberries

Let cream cheese soften 1/2 hour at room temperature, or heat at 100% in microwave for 30 seconds.

Stir 2 Tablespoons milk and mousse mix together until well combined.

Use food processor or mixer to whip cream cheese and 1 Tablespoon milk until fluffy. 

Stop whipping process several times to scrape sides of processor or bowl.

Add milk/mix to food processor or mixer.  Whip with cream cheese mixture, scraping sides as needed, until well combined.

Place cream cheese mixture in a large bowl.  Gently fold in Cool Whip® until well combined.

Chill 4 hours, preferably over night, to set flavors.

Wash strawberries, pat dry and chill until ready to serve.  Do not remove stems.
To Serve:

Dollop mousse into individual serving spoons.

Place one strawberry in each spoon.

Serve with champagne or sparkling wine for an elegant finish.
TIP:  See SERVEWARE page for places to find colorful individual serving spoons.

TIP:  If individual serving spoons aren’t available, use ramekins or small tidbit dishes to showcase strawberries nestled in the mousse.

TIP:  Allow 2-3 spoons per person if serving in buffet.