I recently went on a girls’ weekend and we enjoyed a fun-filled trip to the mountains.  In perfect “girl weekend style” we ate, drank, talked, and then ate, drank, and talked again.  The food was, as always … delicious!  We gorged ourselves mostly on appetizers and finger foods, but had a few yummy salads as well.  I wanted to share these recipes today so that you, too, can plan a gorge-fest weekend.  These recipes are also excellent ones to keep on hand when you are invited to a party and need to bring a dish or an appetizer.  Enjoy …

Appetizers & Salads

Baked Goat Cheese Dip


  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can petite-diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (4-oz.) goat cheese logs, softened
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • Assorted cut vegetables and bread cubes


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sauté onion in hot oil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in garlic and next 3 ingredients, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in diced and sun-dried tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat, and stir in basil and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. 2. Stir together goat cheese and cream cheese until well blended. Spread into a lightly greased 9-inch shallow ovenproof dish. Top with tomato mixture.
  3. 3. Bake at 350° for 15 to 18 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve with assorted vegetables and bread cubes.
  4. Make ahead: Prepare recipe as directed through Step 2. Cover and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake as directed.

*Recipe & Photo Credit – Southern Living

Red Leaf Lettuce Salad


1/4 c pecans (I use pecan halves and coarsely chop after toasting)
4 c red leaf lettuce, torn and washed
1/2 c red seedless grapes, halved
1/4 c crumbled blue cheese
3 T vinaigrette


1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 T grainy mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Roast pecans in 350 degree oven for 10 min. Combine vinaigrette ingredients in a jar or shaker and shake until blended (may also whisk together in a bowl). Toss salad ingredients with approx 3T of vinaigrette and serve immediately. Remaining dressing will last up to a wk in fridge.

* Recipe taken from Centenary UMC Cookbook

Orzo Salad


1 pkg sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, 1″ diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1″ diced
1 purple onion, peeled and 1″ diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c. olive oil
1 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. black pepper
2 containers grape tomatoes (I cut mine in half)
1/2 lb. orzo


1/3 c. lemon juice
1/3 c good olive oil
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper

Add at the end:

4 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted
3/4 lb feta cheese, 1/2″ diced (I buy crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, julienned


Preheat oven to 425. Toss mushrooms and next 7 ingredients in large sheet pan. Roast for 25 min. Add tomatoes and roast all veggies another 15 min. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile cook orzo according to pkg directions. Drain and transfer into large serving boil. Add roasted veggies, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from roasting pan into the pasta bowl. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over pasta and veggies. Let cool to room temp and add scallions, pine nuts, cheese and basil. Toss and serve.

* Recipe taken from Centenary UMC Cookbook

Hot Party Pumps!


Pumpernickel bread cut into small squares
2 c. Swiss cheese, grated
3/4 c. bacon, cooked and crumbed
1 c. pitted black olives, chopped
1/2 c. onion, chopped
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. mayo

Mix all ingredients and spread on bread. Bake at 350′ for 10-15 minutes.

*Photo credit: Everything Tasty From My Kitchen Blog

Fried Eggplant


One or two large eggplants
5-6 eggs
1/2 cup Romano Cheese
Italian Bread Crumbs
Mazolla Corn Oil


Slice eggplant very thin into disks.  (Maybe 1/4 inch).  Salt both sides of the eggplant slices & arrange on a plate.  Cover with paper towels & place another plate on top.  Press down or place weight on top of the plate & let it sit for a couple hours. Every so often, press down again and replace the paper towels.  This will extract all juice from the eggplant slices.  You want these as dry as possible. Rinse all slices with cold water and pat dry. Heat olive oil in a frying pan on medium.

Scramble eggs and cheese.  Dip the eggplant slices in the mixture one at a time and place them in the frying pan.  Fry only 4 or 5 slices at a time.  (make sure they are not sitting on top of each other)  Turn to fry both sides of the slices until they are golden brown.  This usually takes 3-4 minutes.

Remove slices and place on paper towels to dry.  Once they have cooled a little, place on a platter and serve!

*Photo Credit: Celia Bean

Roasted Shrimp with Feta


  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups medium-diced fennel
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 pounds (16 to 20 per pound) peeled shrimp with tails on
  • 5 ounces good feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 lemons


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-or 12-inch heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until the fennel is tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with the liquid, tomato paste, oregano, Pernod, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the shrimp, tails up, in one layer over the tomato-mixture in the skillet. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with the remaining lemon cut into wedges.

*Recipe Credit – foodnetwork.com

And For Breakfast …


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


3c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. cooked or canned pumpkin
1 1/4c. vegetable oil
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
chopped nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350.
Mix all ingredients except cream cheese and nuts (I mixed all dry together, then mixed in the wet…)
Fill muffin tins (greased or papers) half full. Put 1-2 tsp. cream cheese in the middle, pressing down slightly. ( I cut the 8oz. bar of cream cheese into 24 squares)
Sprinkle with chopped nuts. ( I used walnuts)
Bake at 350 for 20-25min. or until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part.
Let cool in pan for 5 min. before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Makes 24 muffins.
*Recipe Credit: Ms. Musketeer on Bake Space


Heavenly Bananas

1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
4 tsp orange peel – grated
8 large bananas
1/2 cup granola (I use the Nature Valley Granola bars & crumble them up!)

Mix the first four ingredients.  Toss with bananas & top with granola.

Sausage and Cheese Muffins

3 cups Bisquick
1 lb. sausage, cooked and crumbled (I used the hot Jimmy Dean’s sausage)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cheese soup
3/4 cup water

Mix all together and spoon into muffin tins. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. These freeze really well!

For more delicious recipes, check out our Food/Recipe section here.  You will find plenty of yummy dishes and monthly recipe blogs from our Tasty Table blogger, Jenny!