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Yes, you can be desperate and still be a great host
No more harried get-togethers, dreary take-out, or dreading it being your turn to have friends and family over. The Desperaton Cooks solve the entertaining conundrum with the same brilliant approach they bring to everyday dinner dilemmas—by concocting delicious, crowd-pleasing dishes using timesaving techniques, shortcut ...
Yes, you can be desperate and still be a great host
No more harried get-togethers, dreary take-out, or dreading it being your turn to have friends and family over. The Desperaton Cooks solve the entertaining conundrum with the same brilliant approach they bring to everyday dinner dilemmas—by concocting delicious, crowd-pleasing dishes using timesaving techniques, shortcut ingredients, and tried-and-true planning.
The desperate details
1. All recipes can be made in 20 minutes or less or in phases where actual hands-on work is 20 mintues or less.
2. Bottled chopped garlic, washed salad greens, precooked bacon, individually quick-frozen shrimp—wisely used convenience foods save time while boosting flavor.
3. The Crock-Pot—if you have one, dust it off. If not, think about investing in one.
4. The Desperate Pantry, easily stocked during weekly shopping trips, okays the spontaneous "Let's have dinner at my place" whim.
5. The plan—decide on the who, what, and where, then how to carve out simple blocks of time for preparation and cooking.
Desperate but have time to plan? Try phased and flexible.
Roasted Garlic Artichoke Dip
Mushroom Lasagna Alfredo
Shrimp Creole à la Beverly
Pork Chops with Fruit Salsa
Baked Party Paella
Enchanting Chicken Enchiladas
Rocky Road Brownie Sundaes
Fast and fabulous for when you're really desperate
Golden Curry Dip
Chicken with Mustard Glazes
Three-Bean and Meatball Chili
Blue Jay Point Pasta
Lemon Cake Sandwiches
Chicken with Mustard Glazes
Plum spicy glaze, orange-Dijon glaze and/or golden mustard glaze (see recipes)
8 frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2 2/3 pounds total)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper (optional)
Start to finish: 20 minutes.
1. Turn on gas grill to medium-high.
2. Make mustard glaze(s) of your choice.
3. Brush or rub each piece of chicken all over with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place chicken on hot grill and cook, with grill covered, 5 minutes on first side to partially defrost, then turn and grill, covered, 7 to 8 minutes on second side.
4. Turn chicken back to first side and brush each piece with mustard glaze. Continue to grill, uncovered, for 1 minute. Turn chicken and brush second side with glaze. Continue to grill, uncovered, until breasts are no longer pink in center, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from grill and serve at once or hold at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.
Plum spicy glaze
1/2 cup Chinese plum sauce
1/4 cup Chinese mustard
Put plum sauce and mustard in small mixing bowl. Stir to mix them well.
1 cup all-fruit orange marmalade
1/4 cup Dijon-style mustard
Put marmalade and mustard in small mixing bowl. Stir to mix them well.
Golden mustard glaze
1 cup spicy brown prepared mustard
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Put mustard and sugar in small mixing bowl. Stir to mix them well.
Smashed Potatoes with Horseradish
Using horseradish instead of garlic gives potatoes a flavor kick - an unexpected one. This can be a signature dish for you to make for guests.
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
3 pounds red potatoes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, or more to taste
1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts of water to a boil in a 4 1/2-quart Dutch oven or soup pot over high heat. Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes. Leaving the peels on, slice each potato into quarters. Cut each quarter in half.
2. When the water boils, carefully add the potatoes to the pot. Cover the pot and let return to a boil. Uncover the pot, reduce the heat to medium-high, and continue to cook at a moderate boil until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Cut the butter into 4 pieces and add to the pot. Add the half-and-half. Use a potato masher to "smash" the potatoes until all of the large lumps disappear (small lumps are fine).
4. Add the horseradish, salt, and pepper and stir to thoroughly mix. Taste for seasoning, adding more horseradish or pepper if necessary.
Heirloom Fudge Pies
For decades, this rich concoction has satisfied friends of all ages at parties, church suppers, and informal dinners. With only 20 minutes of actual work, it's just as easy to make two fudge pies as it is one, and since they freeze beautifully, that's what we usually do. The pies are heavenly served slightly warm, and if we don't have one fresh from the oven, we just stick one in a 300 degree oven about 10 minutes before serving.
Yields: 2 pies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes unattended baking time
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
6 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened baking chocolate
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
3 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 package (15 ounces; 2 crusts) refrigerated pie crusts
Whipped cream from an aerosol can or premium vanilla ice cream, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl, cover with a paper towel, and microwave, uncovered, on high just until the chocolate and butter are almost melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir until the chocolate and butter are finished melting, about 1 minute.
3. Add the sugar, milk, and vanilla extract to the melted chocolate and butter. Whisk the eggs lightly in a bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture. Whisk until well combined.
4. Place each pie crust in an 8-inch glass pie pan, following the directions on the package, and crimp the edges in a decorative fashion. Pour half the chocolate mixture into each pie crust.
5. Place the pies on the middle rack of the oven and bake just until the pie filling is set, about 40 minutes.
6. Remove the pies from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
7. Garnish the pies with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired, and serve.
The pies can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 1 month. Take them out to thaw at room temperature the morning of the day you plan to serve them.
How Desperate Are You? (2)
All of the Desperate Details: Fast and Fabulous and Phased and Flexible menus, how to make your own game plans for entertaining, and what to keep in a Desperate Pantry so you can entertain with just a moment's notice.
What! Dinner Tonight? (5), The Do-Ahead Solution (10), The Basic Equipment (12), How to Make Your Own Game Plans (16), Desperation Symbols (21)
Beguiling Beverages (22)
Beverages that are a cinch to serve in warm weather—think Frozen Fruit Smoothies—or cold—think Rich Hot Chocolate. Plus drinks that can be made with and without alcohol.
Serving Wine? (24), Beer Buying Rules (26), About Serving Hot Beverages (30), Designated Drivers Must Drink, Too (33), The Perfect Pitcher (34), About the Ice Bucket (36)
Entertaining Entrees (80)
Festive and substantial no-sweat main dishes. Look for Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers, Pepper-Sauced Pasta with Ham and Asparagus, Lazy Spinach Lasagna, and Baked Party Paella.
Making More Space at the Table (84), Pasta Perfect for a Crowd (86), Perfect Basic Pasta (88), The Pasta Pot (93), The boss is Coming (100), Buy a Big Ham (103), Game Night (107), Meat Loaf—The Perfect Family dinner (109), Basic White Rice 1(20), Pick a Place to Eat (123), Containers of Your Dreams (125).
The Good Ol' Crock-Pot (128)
Everything goes into the slow cooker effortlessly for dishes like New Old-Fashioned Pot Roast, Big Beefy Burritos, Our Favorite Spaghetti and Meatballs, or Chill-Out Chicken Chili.
About Buying a Slow Cooker (131), About Crock-Pots and This Book (135), The Poker Party (138), Kid-Friendly Ideas (141), About Children's Birthday Parties (145), About Using a Slow Cooker (149)
The Casual Cookout (150)
Gather guests around the grill for Amazing Steaks, Stuffed Bacon-Cheddar Burgers, Vacation Fish Boats, and Portbello Mushroom "Ste
Posted August 26, 2003
This book has been a godsend for our entertaining while having a 3 yearold underfoot! The recipes are easy, and people always ask for the recipes. We are stationed on a military base in Okinawa, Japan, so I need recipes using easy to find ingredients and this book has it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.