Back to School Menu
Hello everyone. The party was a smashing (no pun intended) success! I do
love birthday parties. Next year I’ll be forty and we’ll really cut loose. Let’s
hope I make it that far. I do think one should be thankful they made it to their
age; think of the other alternative. So it’s now time for school to start. Whether
it’s college, high school or grade school, a nice dinner is the perfect send
off to challenge the brain. It will feature one of my personal favorites, the
This is a great meal with homemade rolls and everything. Perfect for family
or friends. This could also be used as a birthday or shower buffet menu. You
won’t need to really use a knife to eat this. One of my pet peeves is a buffet
where both knives and forks are required. I personally value my Persian rug
more than my dogs’ appetite for dropped utensils and it’s mess.
Wesley’s Going to Get Smart Menu:
Italian Shrimp Dip
Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Tarragon Chicken Noodle Casserole
Crunchy Peanut Butter Brownies
Italian Shrimp Dip:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pint sour cream
1 package dry Italian dressing mix
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped green pepper (optional)
8 ounces tiny fresh shrimp, cooked (can use frozen or canned)
Vegetables crudities or chips – I like Fritos
Combine cream cheese, sour cream, dressing mix, lemon juice, and green pepper.
Mix with an electric beater or whisk. Fold shrimp into mixture by hand and refrigerate
for 24 hours to let the flavors mingle. Serve with chips.
Green Goddess Salad Dressing:
1 cup homemade mayonnaise (or use Hellmans with a squirt of lemon)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped green onion, green part only
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve this
with the salad ingredients of your choice.
Tarragon Chicken Noodle Casserole:
1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts with bone
1 cup water
1/2 dry white wine (optional)
2 bay leaves
2 large garlic cloves, 1 sliced and 1 minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach
1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1/3 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces wide or medium wide dried noodles
Place the chicken breast in a nonreactive medium saucepan and add the water
and wine. Toss in the bay leaves and sliced garlic. Partially cover and simmer
over low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the broth and set aside. Boil the broth over high
heat until it reduces to 1/2 cup. Strain then spoon off the fat. You will need
1/3 cup broth for this recipe. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over moderate
heat. Add the onion and sauté until lightly browned and soft, 4 to 5 minutes.
If dry add 1 tablespoon water and let it boil away. Add the minced garlic and
cook for 30 seconds longer. Thaw the spinach and wring it out in a paper towel
to remove excess water. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 2 quart casserole
In a large bowl, stir together ricotta and milk. Add tarragon, salt, pepper,
lemon juice, and nutmeg. Stir in broth and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Remove skin
and bones from chicken and shred it into 1/2 inch pieces. Add to ricotta mixture.
Boil the noodles according to the package directions and drain. Add noodles
to mixture and combine well. Put into casserole dish and top with remaining
Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until well browned.
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 packs dry yeast
6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
Combine first 3 ingredients in a saucepan, heat until shortening melts,
stirring occasionally. Cool to lukewarm (105-115 degrees). Add yeast and stir
until dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes. Combine yeast mixture and 2 cups flour
in a large bowl. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
Combine remaining 4 cups flour, salt, baking powder and soda; add to batter,
stirring until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Cover with plastic wrap
and refrigerate overnight.
Let dough stand at room temperature until soft – 2 hours. Turn out onto
well floured surface and roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into 1 1/2 inch rounds.
Place on ungreased baking sheets 1 inch apart. Brush with melted butter, cover
loosely and let rise in warm place for 2 hours. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to
12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Crunchy Peanut Butter Brownies:
1 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1 ounce pieces
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
Preheat the oven to 325. Toast the peanuts on a baking sheet in oven until
golden brown, about 10 minutes. Chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside. In a sifter
combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift onto a piece of waxed paper
and set aside. Place light brown sugar, peanut butter, butter, and corn syrup
in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium for 4 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat for 2 more minutes, scrape down
again and add eggs, one at a time beating on medium for 1 minute after each
egg. Add vanilla and beat another minute. Turn mixer to low and add flour mix,
then 3/4 cup peanuts (the rest are for the topping). Thoroughly combine batter.
Bake in greased 9x13 baking pan for 35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
Let stand for 1 hour before finishing with the topping.
For the topping: heat the cream in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan over medium high
heat. Bring to a boil. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Pour boiling cream
over and whisk until smooth. Pour over cooled brownie and spread to cover entire
surface. Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and remaining peanuts
and sprinkle evenly over brownie. Chill for 1 hour before cutting into squares.