The Evite started like this: “It’s that time of year again when chocolate, champagne, and hot tub are found in the same sentence”. It was Monday, last week, and my roommate and I were already planning our annual Valentine Soiree. To be honest, planning things like these wouldn’t nearly be as much fun without her. I do believe we make one helluva team mainly because of two things: we love wine, and we love wine. So because of this, we find excuses to indulge this favorite pastime..namely the soiree.
Like myself, my roomie also loves to cook and we planned on a menu that wasn’t too heavy yet still satisfying. The spread was light fare, both sweet and savory (my fave!). Like last year’s soiree, we repeated the tradition that everyone bring a bottle of their favorite wine of choice.
Needless to say, intoxication was imminent, but that’s ok – we had planned a few fun games to exploit that. For those in attendance, it was definitely a night to remember: clothes were shed, eating utensils touched body parts that usually don’t see the light of day, aaaand I definitely saw things I definitely didn’t plan on seeing… well let’s just leave it at that. This is a food blog after all, not last night’s confessions!
Since most of the treats were finger food, we kept it simple by using super easy recipes which made it convenient in making huge batches.
- Bean Dip
- Chicken Dumplings & Dipping Sauce
- Cheese Pretzels & Crackers
- Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
- Roast Beef Crostini
- Chocolate Fondue
- Sliced Bananas and Apples for Fondue
- White Chocolate Covered Popcorn
- Mini Cupcakes
- Bacon Wrapped Pineapple
- Toasted Crostini & Bruchetta
I took pictures of most of the dishes along with how-to’s. Enjoy !
Roast Beef Crostini
Decievingly Fancy, Surprisingly Simple
3 baguette loaves
Kraft horseradish mayo
1 bottle roasted red peppers
1 pkg roast beef sandwich meat
1 cup fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp olive oil
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with foil.
Step 2: Cut the bread into disks, about 1 inch thick, more or less. When oven is at temperature, place bread in oven on middle rack and set timer to 7 minutes.
Step 3: While bread is toasting, pour the olive oil in a frying pan and heat on medium-high.
Step 4: Slice the onion in very thin half-moon slivers. When the oil is hot hot, sautee the onions until they caramelize into a nice golden brown. When done, set aside.
Step 5: When the bread is done, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Next, cut the roast beef sandwich meat slices in half. Each crostini will need just one half of a slice (or double if you’d like). Set aside.
Step 6: Next, roughly chop the roasted red peppers and set aside. Lastly, cut the fresh baby spinach into thin strips (chiffonade-style).
Step 7: Squeeze a small amount of horseradish mayo on top of the bread, enough to cover the surface.
Step 8: Layer on the roast beef, and top it with a pinch of caramelized onion, roasted red pepper and a bit of spinach.
Chocolate Fondue & Fruit
You’ll say just one more, but you’ll keep coming back
For your chocolate fondue:
1 (16-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup caramel sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
Step 1: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a large bowl set over simmering water or in the microwave for a few minutes on HIGH (stirring every minute).
Step 2: Stir in the caramel sauce and milk until blended and smooth.
Step 3: Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
Cheesy Bean Dip
The ultimate snack
To end the night well, get these:
1 can refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tub sour cream
1 pkg shredded cheddar cheese
1 big tomato
1 small can olives
1 bunch chives
Step 1: Dice the tomato (I usually scoop out the seeds so the dip doesn’t become runny) and mince the chives (for garnish). Set aside.
Step 2: Next, mix the taco seasoning into the beans until combined evenly then spread the mixture at the bottom of a casserole dish.
Step 3: Layers: Spread the sour cream directly on top of the beans and follow that with a sprinkle of a nice heaping layer of cheese (about half the package). Then evenly distribute the tomatoes and olives (and bacon bits if you have some on hand) on top of the cheese. Finish this off by sprinkling the rest of the cheese on top.
Step 4: Pop this bad boy into the oven at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is nice and gooey. Garnish with chopped chives.
P.S. This dish can be made the night before and warmed pre-party.
Bacon Wrapped Pineapple
Next best thing to Hawaiian Pizza without having Hawaiian Pizza
To make this happen, you will need:
3 canned pineapple chunks
1 pkg of your favorite brand of bacon
Step 1: Cut the bacon strips into fourths or halves, depending on how much bacon you like wrapped around the pineapple.
Step 2: Wrap the bacon around the pineapple and secure with a toothpick (or not. We didn’t).
Step 3: Plate these on a foil lined tray about an inch apart and place them in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 15-25 minutes or until the bacon is as nice and crispy as you desire.
Sweet & Spicy Meatballs
Your guests will never know how much you DIDN’T slave over these
To make this happen, you will need:
1 pkg frozen meatballs (about 80 count)
2 cups grape jelly
2 cups sweet and sour sauce (or eggroll dipping sauce)
A few drops of hot sauce
1 can pineapple chunks (drained)
Step 1: Seriously, set it and forget about it:
Step 2: Place all ingredients into a crock pot set at the lowest setting (mine is 2). Let the meatballs cook for about 5-6 hours.
Step 3: Stir halfway through the cook time to bring the meatballs at the bottom to the top and vice versa.When done cooking, stir in the pineapples, drain the liquid, and serve!
Thanks, Trader Joe
All we used for this dish was store bought Bruchetta from Trader Joe’s. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. It’s so tasty and fresh! We paired this topping with toasted baguettes.
All cooking aside, we are passionate about entertaining and we enjoy spending time with lovers and friends…so what better time to celebrate this than by hosting a fun and simple soiree during Valentine’s Day weekend. We’ve had many a soiree in the past, which budded from the mere idea of hosting a quaint cocktail party that eventually bloomed into an event with 50 plus girls in attendance.
The local group has grown smaller over the years as many have moved away, started families, and started new jobs in other cities but we still love you and remember you nonetheless. We toasted in your presence that night and hope that those of you who are reading this (and have participated in our soirees in the past) know that you are not forgotten, but mostly, especially, you are missed.
So in light of Valentine’s Day, I dedicate this post to those dearest to my heart (you know who you are) but especially to my roommate who, throughout the years with me, has hosted countless parties/get togethers/soirees that are so full of stories to reminisce upon, blush upon, and laugh upon up to this day.
Until next time, happy cooking!