Monday, September 17, 2012

Casual Party Menu for Fall w/ Printable Menu Cards

Fall is upon us!  Finally!  As the holiday season approaches, we have more and more small, casual gatherings in our homes.  This past weekend I had some girls over for some fun and retail therapy (of the yummy smelling variety).  I just thought I would share with you the menu I threw together.  I kept it super simple this go around.  After our huge birthday shindig last weekend, I wanted this to be a low key event.  Two items are old go-to favorites that I use often.  Two are brand new to our home. 

The Menu: 
Our Favorite Rotel Dip served with Tostitos scoops
Ham and Cheese sliders (yes, again...these get requested over and over by friends)
Caramel Cream Cheese Dip served with apple slices and graham cracker squares
Cheaper Than Therapy Cake (because chocolate is cheaper than therapy)

The Recipes: (get the printable version here)

Our Favorite Rotel Dip

1 lb bulk mild breakfast sausage, browned
2 pkg cream cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can whole kernel corn

Brown your breakfast sausage.  Drain.  While still warm, add the other three ingredients and mix well.  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with tortilla chips.

This is a HUGE hit at our house.  I always get rave reviews...the best part is how utterly simple this is to make.  This is easily doubled for larger goes fast.  10 ladies can easily consume a double recipe over the course of an evening.

Ham and Cheese Sliders
24 Sweet Hawaiian Rolls
1/2 butter, melted
24 slices deli ham
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
24 small slices white American cheese
1 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds
1/4 c. miracle whip

Mix Miracle Whip and Mayonnaise together. Spread onto centers of Hawaiian rolls. Layer a slice of cheese and a slice of ham onto each roll. Place dressed rolls close together on a large baking pan. Mix together all topping ingredients and drizzle the mixture over the tops of the sliders. Let the sliders stand on the counter for 5-10 minutes or until the butter in the topping starts to set up slightly. Cover with foil and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350. Remove foil and cook for another couple of minutes, just until tops begin to brown. Serve while still warm.

You can prep these ahead as long as you cover them in the fridge overnight.  Everyone loves when these are served.  Try to pull these from the oven as close to party start time as possible.  They are best when they are still warm and ooey gooey.

I also threw together some little veggie/ranch cups. Just threw in two celery sticks, two carrots, and a squirt of ranch.  Easy peasy.

Caramel Cream Cheese Dip

1 pkg cream cheese
1/2 tub Cool Whip
1c. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
toffee bits for garnish

Mix first four ingredients well.  Top with toffee bits and serve with fruit and graham crackers.

Fall has me longing for caramel apple EVERYTHING!  This is the perfect thing to satisfy that craving.

Cheaper Than Therapy Cake ( ambitious recipe for the week)

2 sticks butter plus 2 Tbsp butter, softened

8 oz sour cream
3 c sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 c cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, morselfs or finely chopped
3/4 c. cocoa powder, plus some to dust pan with

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and cocoa dust a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Cream together the butter, sour cream, and sugar in a mixer. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.
In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and cocoa. Add 1/2 the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, beat well, add the remaining 1/2 flour mixture, and continue to beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add chocolate last, mixing well.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes if necessary, but do not open the oven to check the cake for at least 1 hour.  In my oven, I almost always need the extra 15 minutes...especially when I use my stonewear pan.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before attempting to dump to prevent it from tearing and sticking to the edges.  Then continue to cool the cake.  While you are waiting, you can prepare the topping.

6 oz. semisweet chocolate, morsels or finely chopped
2 Tblsp. butter
1/2 c. heavy cream

Put chocolate and butter into a heatproof mixing bowl.  In a small pot or saucepan, bring the cream just to the point of boiling...then pour it quickly over the chocolate and butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Pour this mixture over a mostly cool, not thoroughly cool, cake. If you want, you can add some semisweet morsels to the top for extra chocolate...if you don't have enough chocolate yet!

  This all makes for a great casual fall gathering.  I hope you enjoy these recipes and are able to use them with your family and friends.   Did you use any of these recipes?  Have any other great fall recipes you want to share?  Let me know!   Miss the printable?  Get it here.  

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