As I mentioned before, I chose a Southern/Masters theme for Colton’s first birthday party menu. Here are the recipes I used:
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
This has become a favorite meal of ours. It’s super easy, thanks to the crock pot. Basically, all you do is combine chicken breasts and barbeque sauce in the crockpot and set on low for 8 hours. We have several store BBQ sauces that we like – The Fresh Market has a couple and Trader Joe’s does, too. However, it’s hard to beat homemade sauce. My favorite recipe is the Neely’s BBQ Sauce! (Make sure to buy a natural ketchup free of HFCS and other additives!) It smells amazing simmering on the stove. I did try once to put the ingredients in the crock pot to avoid an extra pot and stove time, but it didn’t simmer down to the right consistency.
My favorite chicken is the all natural chicken breast from the Fresh Market. I really love their meat department, and they actually have great sales! While I am a Costco shopper and do like their meat selection and prices as well, I am often limited on freezer space (oh, how I need an extra freezer!) and don’t always plan ahead. Our local Fresh Market runs a $2.99 Tuesday sale that usually includes their chicken breasts. They are always fresh-tasting and moist after cooking.
The BBQ sauce makes about 3 1/2 cups. I cooked 6 lbs of chicken breast with probably 3 cups of BBQ sauce. I reserved about a 1/2 cup for serving. I should have reserved a little more! We served the chicken with small dinner rolls from the Kroger bakery. I actually prefer the Publix bakery, but I couldn’t fit in one more stop! The size of the rolls were perfect for party food, but I did think they were a little dry.
Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Pimento cheese is a new favorite of mine. I always thought I didn’t like it, but I’ve tried a few ways recently and every time I’m surprised by how good it is! (My favorite is the pimento cheese and corn fritters at Ormsby’s. If you’re in Atlanta, you HAVE to check them out. And, order the Reuben, too 🙂 ) This was my first attempt at making it myself. My sister actually shared the recipe with me, and I should have known that it would be perfect coming from Paula Deen! The recipe makes 3 cups. We tripled the recipe. I bought a package of 24 mini croissants (at Costco!), and we also had enough to serve as a dip with crackers. (Side note: Duke’s mayo is THE. BEST.) I’ve also gotten away from buying pre-shredded cheese. Look at the ingredients on any packaged cheese, and you’ll find “cellulose” in the list. It grosses me out. I much prefer to buy a block of cheese, preferably made with milk from cows not treated with RBST, and shred it myself. It’s amazing how much you get out of a block AND how much fresher it tastes!
Green Bean and Grilled Corn Salad
This is the perfect summer salad! Not only does it have all the great summer vegetables, but the dressing is to die for! I am a sucker for a Dijon vinaigrette. (You’ll never find a bottle of salad dressing in our fridge because dressings are SO easy to make. You really only need a little EVOO and vinegar of choice. But, if I feel like taking the extra step of whisking together a dressing, it almost always contains Dijon mustard.) You can make the recipe exactly or just throw in whatever summer vegetables you have plus whatever cheese you have on hand. I didn’t happen to find ricotta salata this time, and, as was the case with the rolls, could not fit in another stop, so we improvised with parmesan cheese. WE’ve also made it with blue cheese, goat cheese, and feta before, and each time it was just as delicious! Just make sure to use the mustard in the dressing!
I love a good potato chip. There is something so satisfying about the crunch and the salt that is left behind on your fingers! I love that I can find kettle chips at Costco seasoned only with a little sea salt. Only 3 ingredients: potatoes, oil and salt. Plus, no GMOs and crinkle cut! Can’t ask for anything more in a chip 🙂
Colton LOVES his fruit! We served green grapes, kiwi, and blueberries to coordinate with the green/blue color scheme. Blueberries are seriously his favorite! I served them in individual plastic cups. I think it made a cute display. Too bad I didn’t get any close ups of the food!
Cream Cheese with Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce
We had a little cream cheese leftover from the Pimento cheese sandwiches, so decided to set out another appetizer. This is such an easy go-to for parties! Just set out a block of cream cheese and cover with your favorite jam, jelly, or sauce! This salsa from Robert Rothschild is a family favorite. You can find an industrial size jar at Costco that will last forever. I love having something on hand that I can pull out at a moment’s notice. Sometimes even us list-makers can forget an important detail like an appetizer! 😀
Last, but not least: Cupcakes for dessert!
My sister made vanilla and chocolate. From. Scratch. She’s seriously amazing! I know she used Ina Garten recipes, although I don’t know which ones to be exact. I’m so thankful she got the baking gene in our family!
You may have noticed my notes about no GMOs and no RBST. Yet, I bought rolls and croissants. My food motto is moderation. I am very mindful of what I purchase at the store and what comes into my pantry. I don’t have a habit of keeping packaged processed food on hand (although we have been very lax about sweets, thanks to pregnancy hormones. Somehow my sweet tooth didn’t go away when Munchkin was born!) I buy organic when I can find it AND when the cost is reasonable. Produce is better than no produce, organic or not. I tend to stick to the outer aisles in the grocery store and away from the boxed and frozen meals. We do eat out, and no, I do not look at ingredients and nutrition information at restaurants. Sometimes, you just need to have a french fry, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it!
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