Monday, July 7, 2008

Easy Entertaining with David McDonello - 7/7/2008

I've had guests for nearly a week. Here are the goodies I made for them during their stay.

Ina Garten

To greet my friends when they arrived, I decided to make a nice treat. Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) has a number of baking mixes out, so I decided to give this one a try. It is for PB&J bars (similar to ones I wanted to make on my own). One problem was I noticed something wrong with the directions, then I spied this sticker on the box:


Silly Ina Garten. Anyways, the mix was very straightforward and the bars were very addicting. The peanut butter taste was strong and they had raspberry jam, my second favorite after strawberry.

PB&J Bars

For the next day's breakfast, I made some outstanding waffles. I don't have a picture because they are too good not to eat immediately. They are very crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. If you want the recipe for yourself, it is here: Waffle recipe. Be sure to use buttermilk in the recipe for the perfect results.

Apple-Walnut Muffins

Breakfast the following morning featured some delicious apple-walnut muffins. They did not raise up into perfect Starbucks muffins and they were not super sweet, but they were still good nonetheless.


For dinner one night, we made gnocchi from scratched. Gnocchi are little pasta dumplings made from potatoes or potato flour. We chose the former and I will hopefully never had to use this method again. The gnocchi turned out pretty good, but the consistency was a little off and the recipe took forever. For the sauce, we mixed together some ground beef, ground pork, garlic salt, pepper, and vodka sauce. The sauce was very good and we were so hungry by the time we finished making it, I forgot to take a picture, so I had to take one of my second helping plate (sorry).

Pool Cake

Have you ever seen those recipe books next to the cash register in your local grocer? Well I bought one from Jell-O and Cool Whip that had this recipe in it. You pretty much bake a yellow cake and let it cool completely. Meanwhile, make two packets of berry blue Jell-O and refrigerate it for about 2 hours. Once the cake is cooled, invert it onto your serving plate or platter. Cut out a large portion of the cake's center (without going all the way through the cake). Pour the semi-solidified Jell-O into the cake. Return the cake to the fridge for another 2 hours. Frost the cake with room temperature Cool Whip. Decorate it with Teddy Grams, Graham Crackers, Swedish Fish, Life Savers, and any other candy you deem appropriate. Cocktail umbrellas would be cool too. This is a very nice cake for summer-themed events and it is nicely delicious, though some people may have an issue with the mixed textures. My friends had a great time and I'm hoping they'll visit again soon.

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