Beef & Lamb

Old Friends, New Recipes

Deck as Ef Tequila Cocktail

Lucky for us people have birthdays!  And when those people are our friends, it’s even better.  It’s the perfect time to invite folks over for a mini fiesta before heading out to the evening’s festive occasion!  Here’s a peek at some of the evening’s nibbles and libations.

Cooking for a group of people should be fun, whether it’s a five course dinner party or a casual evening of snacks.  The only way to keep things smooth is pre-planning.  Make a list and check it twice.  Sometimes thrice!  And make things ahead of time.  Most sauces and dips can be made the night before, meats should be marinated hours ahead of the gathering, and anything that can be chopped, sliced or diced prior to the party will be a major time saver.  Make sure to save an extra cocktail for yourself when it’s all done!

Deck as Ef Tequila Cocktail (Renamed for the night and our friend! Adapted from Bobby Flay) – Serves 4-6
10 ounces tequila
12 ounces pineapple juice
6 ounces lemon lime soda
6 ounces orange soda
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

1.  Combine tequila, pineapple juice, soda, pineapple and mint in a pitcher.

2.  Serve over crushed ice and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

If you have a mighty powerful blender, this would probably be just great slushy…

Mixed Veggies and Pita Chips with Dill Dip

Mixed Veggies and Pita Chips with Dill Dip – Approximately 1 1/2 cups dip

8 ounces sour cream
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon green onion, minced
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
8 pita pockets, split
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Assortment of fresh veggies

1.  Cut pitas into fourths or sixths, depending on how large of a chip you want. Lay on parchment paper covered or foiled cooking sheets.

2.  Mix olive oil, cayenne pepper, cumin and garlic powder in a bowl.  Brush over chips.

3.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until crispy and browned, approximately 8-10 minutes.

4.  While pitas bake, combine remaining ingredients thoroughly.  Chill dip before serving.  (Best if chilled overnight.)

5.  Serve with a mixture of fresh vegetables and pita chips.

Honey Ginger Marinated Fruit with Lemon Yogurt Dip

Honey Ginger Marinated Fruit with Lemon Yogurt Dip – 2 cups dip

1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, separated
8 ounces lemon yogurt
8 ounces sour cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, zest minced
4 cups mixed fruit, cut into pieces

1.  Whisk 1/4 cup honey, orange juice and ginger together in a small bowl.  Add fruit, give it a little shake and place in fridge.

2.  Mix yogurt, sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon ginger and 2 1/2 tablespoons honey.  Add lemon zest and juice and stir well.  Chill before serving.  (Best if chilled overnight.)

3.  Serve with marinated fruit.

Caribbean Chicken Wings and Sweet & Spicy Meatballs

Caribbean Chicken Wings (adapted from Sunny Anderson) – Serves 8-12
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup chili sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (We still had some of that frozen!)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
1 serrano chile, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
7 pounds chicken wings and drummettes
Kosher salt

1.  Using a whisk, blend all the ingredients but the chicken until smooth. Reserve 1 cup of marinade.

2.  Place chicken wings into a large resealable plastic bag and pour remaining marinade over them. Seal and marinate overnight.  (If you don’t have time, allow at least 4-6 hours.)

3.  When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 sheet trays with parchment. Remove chicken from bag and place on the baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and bake 20 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan bring reserved marinade to a boil. Reduce by 1/3 until it thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove chicken from oven. Brush chicken with the glaze. Raise the heat to 400 degrees and cook chicken until cooked through, another 20-25 minutes.

5.  Sprinkle with scallions before serving.

Sweet & Spicy Meatballs (aka Grape Jelly Meatballs) – Serves 8-10
40-50 frozen meatballs
8 ounces chili sauce
12 ounes grape jelly
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, finely chopped

1. Combine all ingredients except meatballs in a large pot on stove.* Whisk to break up jelly and make sure sauce is fairly smooth.

2. Add meatballs and fold into sauce.

3. Cook on medium heat until meatballs are thoroughly heated, approximately 20-30 minutes.

4. Pour into serving bowl or prick with toothpicks and spread on a platter. Sprinkle with scallions.

*If using a crock pot, cook on low for 5-7 hours.


Sugar Cookie Buttons Three Ways – Approximately 3 dozen cookies
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
Zest of 2 lemons, finely chopped and separated

1.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt.   Set aside.

2.  In electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and zest of 1 lemon and continue to beat until fully incorporated.

3.  Slowly beat in flour mixture a bit at a time until dough forms and cleans bowl.  If doing cookie variations, divide into three parts and see variations below.  If going with the straight version, proceed to next step.

5.  Roll into a ball or into a log (should you want to practice the slice method) and wrap in wax paper.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, overnight if possible.

6.  When dough is ready, roll into 1 inch balls and bake in a 375 degree preheated oven approximately 7-9 minutes.

Toasted Pecan Buttons
1/3 prepared sugar cookie dough
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1.  Before refrigerating, fold pecans into sugar cookie dough until evenly incorporated.

2.  After refrigeration, form into 1 inch balls and roll lightly into a bit of powdered sugar.

3.  Bake according to directions above.

Lemon Coconut Buttons
1/3 prepared sugar cookie dough
1/2 of remaining lemon zest
2/3 cup shredded coconut

1.  Before refrigerating, fold in lemon zest and coconut.

2.  After refrigeration, form into 1 inch balls and bake according to directions above.

Lemon Rosemary Buttons
1/3 prepared sugar cookie dough
1/2 of remaining lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped

1.  Before refrigerating, fold in lemon zest and rosemary.

2.  After refrigeration, form into 1 inch balls and bake according to directions above.

Click HERE for printable recipes.


41 thoughts on “Old Friends, New Recipes

  1. I will spare you my birthday month, but I will say I am looking for someone to set me up for my fiftieth on a few years 🙂 You two rock in the food department!

  2. Wow, what a splendid spread! Do you regard me as a friend yet?! Can I come over? Oh, and I’m special in the sense that my birthday is every week. 😛

  3. Wow, what a party! All the food looks delicious, espescially the chicken wings & of course the drink! MMMMMmmmmm… Could you cook for my birthday?…..

  4. I love that you turned a baguette into a dip bowl — what a great idea! And those cookies look divine! Sounds like your friends are very lucky to have you as their hostess! 🙂

  5. Just so you know; my birthday is June 11. I can cash in my frequent flyer miles & come to Hollywood! Make my Tequila Cocktail a double. Should give you plenty of time to make your plans & check that list twice!

  6. I would be lost without my lists, that’s for sure, especially for Thanksgiving. I must make at least three lists for that major holiday. They’re a total godsend.

  7. I don’t even know where to start!! Everything looks so wonderful. I’m especially intrigued by those grape jelly meatballs. And that dill dip! YUM!!! And the cookies. Scrumptious!!

  8. Well, I was the lucky friend… and lucky indeed was I! After this wonderful spread I’ve decided to ensure there is room in my personal budget each year just for “Duo Dishes” catering!!!

    two enthusiastic thumbs up!

  9. I wish my apartment was big enough to have groups of people in it. Then I would just need to get to know groups of people so I could cook for them. 😉

  10. Pre-planning is a MUST!! Your planning definitely paid off for your friends … lucky them! Such a fabulous spread! Have a great week, Duo!

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