Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Friday - Recipes from the Third Birthday Party (warning - long post!)

Several weeks ago, I shared lots of details about our "Down on the Farm" birthday party but I didn't share any recipes at that time.  It's taken me a few weeks but I wanted to share those with you now. 

I'll start first with the appetizers or snacks.  I always like to have some little snacks out when people arrive.  When I plan get togethers, I generally plan the main meal an hour to an hour and half after everyone arrives for one main reason.  My family is always late.  Seriously.  Drives me insane but several of them always are so I try to treat those that come early or on time with something special :-)

The hit of the day were this dipped marshmallows.  I should have made a double batch!

Chocolate Caramel Dipped Marshmallows
adapted from Jenna's Journey

This are incredible and were gone in about 2 minutes.  I should have made about 3 times as many as I made and they would have still been eaten!  I did learn a few things.  1) Hot Caramel will melt marshmallows.  Work quickly and, unlike I did, I would put them in the fridge for a few minutes right away so they cool off quickly.  2) Use Pam - like a whole can of it - even on the tray you set  them on when you are all done.  I ran out of the spray and they stuck to the serving platter.  3) You need a lot of chocolate to dip :-)  As shown in the picture, I drizzled the chocolate and actually liked it better.  I will make these again - maybe just for me to eat instead :-)  One last thing - my grocery store did not have the caramel bits so I just bought a bag of caramels and unwrapped them all.

1 bag of marshmallows
1 bag of caramel bits
1 block of almond bark
1 bag of 50 lollipop sticks

First, prepare a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Spray the paper with PAM. Then spray it again. And one more time. When you think you've sprayed it enough, give it one more pass. Now you're ready.

Next up, insert the sticks into the marshmallows. Don't poke it all the way through - just close to the end.

Follow the directions on the caramel bits. This stuff is great!

Working quickly, dip the marshmallows, twirl, drain the excess and place them on the heavily sprayed wax paper.
Once they've hardened, melt the chocolate, dip the marshmallows, and place back on the paper. They will set up in about 5 minutes. Serve!

Another favorite that we had was Apple Dip - I didn't get a photo of it but wanted to share the recipe.  It is so easy and I always get asked for the recipe.
Apple Dip
This is a super easy recipe that you will automatically want to double for a group party.  It will disappear quickly!
1 cup brown sugar
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix until creamy; refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with sliced apples or graham crackers.
Finally, I baked up a couple of loaves of Pillsbury French Bread, sliced it, and included a bowl of my Apple Butter for people to use.  It was another huge hit. 
I wanted to keep the appetizers simple yet fitting for our them (and apples seemed to fit the farm!). 

Lets move on to the main course!
Our menu was very "down on the farm" - Root Beer Pulled Pork, Baked Beans, Cole Slaw and Macaroni Salad and Chips.  Now, it was supposed to just be Cole slaw - but I made it that morning and it was AWFUL.  Like throw in the trash awful so my husband ran to Walmart and picked up a Cole slaw and Amish macaroni salad instead.  Crazy, I know. 

Root Beer Pulled Pork

This stuff is like candy to me.  It is so good even before you put BBQ sauce on it.  For this party I actually cooked the pork on Friday, shredded it and put it in the crock pot, in the fridge, over night.  On Saturday, early afternoon, I added the BBQ sauce and let it warm up in the crock pot and it was fantastic.  This original recipe calls for Root Beer Extract - I don't use it because . . I'm cheap.  I never have the extra in my budget to buy the extract but I don't miss it.  The Root Beer adds the flavor that is needed.

2 to 3 pounds pork loin or roast
2 cans of root beer
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon root beer extract
1/2 cup good quality BBQ sauce
salt and pepper
dash of garlic powder

Place pork, onion, garlic and spices in a stock pot and pour the root beer and extract over it.  Cook on low on the stove top for 4-5 hours or until meat falls apart.  Darin the liquid and stir in the BBQ sauce.  Serve on Rolls. 

3BC (Best Baked Bean Casserole)
adapted from All

I've been making this recipe for several years and it is always a huge hit.  Pre-cooking the bacon and onion really makes the difference.  My kids inhale these beans when I make them too!

1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, diced
1/2 pound bacon
1 (28 ounce) can baked beans (such as Bush's Original)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
1 cup brown sugar, divided

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.  Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat.  Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turn translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, place the bacon in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes.  Drain the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate.  Cut bacon into bite-sized pieces and set aside. 
brown sugar until evenly mixed.  Cover the bean mixture with the remaining bacon and sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar.  Bake in the preheated oven until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes. 

Sweet Restaurant Slaw
adapted from All

No, this is not the recipe that did not turn out!  Actually, the following week I needed to throw a dinner together and had a bag of coleslaw mix.  I found this recipe and it has become an instant favorite.  Wow.  It really does taste like the coleslaw you find in so many restaurants.  I figured I would share it since it is what I WOULD have made had I found this recipe before!

  • 1 (16 ounce) bag coleslaw mix
  • 2 tablespoons diced onion
  • 2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (such as Miracle Whip™)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds


  1. Combine the coleslaw mix and onion in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt, and poppy seeds in a medium bowl; blend thoroughly. Pour dressing mixture over coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.               

Now, we are finally on to the ending!! 
The chocolate fountain is always a huge hit.  I put out bowls of marshmallows, pretzels, bananas, pound cake, and . .. something else; I can't think of what they are called but they are a pastry that is cream filled and found in the freezer.  (They aren't eclairs but kinda like those - wow, total blank!)

When it came to the cake, I thought about all kinds of things including a tractor cake or a cake that had green and yellow layers but decided instead to make to die for cupcakes and use paper to decorate them.  When people took bites of these I heard things like: "Oh my word, these are good" and "These are AWESOME" and "I've never tasted anything like these before - they are incredible!"  Yes, they are that good!

Mountain Dew Cupcakes
adapted from Nothing but Country
Quite honestly, I have nothing to add except - these are some of the best cupcakes I've ever tasted.  In my life.
1 box lemon cake mix
1 box of instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups of mountain dew
1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Mix cake mix, pudding and eggs well.
  • Add in your oil to the batter and mix for 2 minutes.
  • Slowly pour in your mountain dew soda and mix for another minute.
  • Add to cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 13-17 minutes (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean)
  • Allow time to cool before frosting.
4 cups Confectioners Sugar
2 sticks of salted butter (room temp)
1/8 cup approx of Mountain Dew
1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Beat your butter well till smooth, slowly add in 1 cup at a time of confectioners sugar and your lemon juice & mountain dew.
  • Add all of your sugar and check for thickness of the frosting. If it is too thick add a teaspoon at a time of mountain dew till you reach the correct consistency to pipe or frost your cupcakes.
  • Enjoy!!
And FINALLY, one last recipe - I made sweet tea for one of the drinks (along with lemonade) and wanted to share the best sweet tea recipe ever.  It comes from my dad - I used to make it all of the time and then stopped but since the party, I always have a jug in the fridge - it is soooo good!

Sweet Tea

Approximately 3 cups of water
1 cup sugar
10 Lipton Tea Bags

Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a 1-quart sauce pan.  Pour 1 cup of sugar into the boiling water and stir until it is dissolved and water is boiling again.  Turn off burner, place 10 tea bags in sugared water and let steep for 2-3 hours.  Remove tea bags, pour into 1 gallon container.  Fill container with water making 1 gallon of Southern tea.

Sorry for the long post but I really wanted to get all of these recipes into once place :-)