The idea of sharing the recipes for my "Top Most Requested Hot Appetizers, Delicious Desserts and Summer Drinks" came after years and years of hosting parties and ALWAYS being asked for certain recipes. I figured if my friends and family loved them, you would to. Check them out.


I am not a "throw-a-can-of-peanuts-on-the-table" kind of gal! When I am planning a party, it is important to me that I choose thoughtful, satisfying recipes that:

Are simple to make

Have few ingredients

Hold up well over time

Are pleasing to look at and of course,

Taste great!

Over the years, I have tried out a lot of recipes on my friends and family and no doubt about it, the "Most Requested Hot Appetizers, Delicious Desserts and Summer Drinks" are those listed below (in no particular order).

Top 2 Hot Appetizers

Number One Most Requested Hot Appetizer--Warm Chipotle Cheddar Dip

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1-8 oz. can whole kernel corn, drained (3/4 cup)

1-4 oz. can chopped green chili peppers, drained

2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chili peppers in adobo sauce (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (3/4 cup)

1/4 cup sliced green onion

2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

Vegetables, crackers or chips

I found this dip when I was on a low carb diet and was looking for a party appetizer that would work well with vegetables. Something with a robust flavor that would perk up the veggies. Well this one definitely fit the bill.

This appetizer has become a favorite among my friends. It's served multiple times throughout the year at various parties that I either host or attend.

You can make it as smokey and spicy as you want by adjusting the amount of chipotle peppers (smoked jalepenos) but watch out. You can easily go from mildly spicy to blow-your-face-off hot by adding too much!

Steps to Make Cheddar Chipotle Dip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together cheeses, mayonnaise, corn, green chili peppers, chipotle chili peppers and garlic powder in a large mixing bowl. Spread mixture into a 1 quart, covered dish. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly.

Top with tomato, green onion and cilantro. I like to make a pattern out of the toppings so I put the tomatoes all in the middle, make a ring around them with the green onion then sprinkle the cilantro over all.

Serve with vegetables, like red, green and yellow peppers. Tostido and Frito Scoops work well too.

Number Two Most Requested Hot Appetizer--Warm Green Chili Dip

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

8 oz. shredded mild cheddar cheese

2 cups mayonnaise

1 small sweet onion, minced

1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilis, drained

1-1/2 oz. chopped pepperoni

1/2 cup sliced ripe olives

Tostidos or Fritos Scoops

In a shallow baking dish, combine the first five ingredients. Top mixture with the pepperoni and olives. Bake at 325 degrees about 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with Scoops, crackers or assorted fresh vegetables.

Note: I do not recommend using reduced fat mayonnaise.

Speaking from personal experience, both of these hot appetizers are guaranteed to be a hit at any get together.

WARNING: Get ready to hand out the recipes!

Top 2 Delicious Desserts

Number One Most Requested Delicious Dessert--Raspberry White Chocolate Dream Bars

1 box white cake mix

1/3 cup evaporated milk

1-1/2 sticks melted butter

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

12 oz. white chocolate chips

Combine cake mix, milk, butter and nuts. Makes a very gooey dough. Spray a 9 x 13 pan and spread half of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt the jam in the microwave (about a minute) and spread on top of hot crust. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over jam. Crumble remaining dough on top and bake an additional 20-25 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting. For bigger parties, this recipe easily doubles and can be made in a 15 x 10 pan.

Once you get the hang of this technique, you can think of all sorts of combinations. How about using chocolate cake with mint chips? Or lemon cake with white chocolate?

Number Two Most Requested Delicious Dessert--Chocolate Amaretto Bundt Cake

1 pkg. chocolate devil's food cake mix

1 small pkg. instant chocolate pudding mix

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1-1/2 oz. Amaretto liqueur

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup fresh raspberries (optional)

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam (optional)

Whipped cream (optional)

Glaze

1 stick butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup Amaretto

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine first 6 ingredients and blend well. Stir in chips. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Melt glaze ingredients in a saucepan or microwave. Pour 2/3 of glaze over top of cake while cake is hot from oven and still in pan. Allow cake to remain in pan for 25 minutes. Remove cake from pan and drizzle with remaining glaze.

When I make this cake dessert, I fill the middle with fresh raspberries and present it on my grandmother's crystal pedestal cake stand which is very dramatic.

Just before serving, I make a raspberry sauce by melting the jam in the microwave. Each lucky guest gets a plate with some of the sauce, a slice of cake, a few berries and some whipped cream. Yum!

Top 2 Summer Drinks

When most people host parties, they usually have the basic alcoholic beverages, like beer and wine, but rarely do you see a host offer a selection of really special summer drinks. I have perfected my list of offerings over the years and now I share my Top 2 with you.

Number One Most Requested Summer Cocktail--Limoncello Mint Lemonade

1/2 cup lemonade concentrate

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Ice cubes

1/4 cup Limoncello (lemon liqueur)

1/2 cup club soda

Lemon and Mint for garnish

In a small pitcher, "muddle" mint leaves together with lemonade concentrate and lemon juice. Muddle means to bruise the leaves so they release their flavor. I use the end of a wooden spoon.

Stir in ice cubes, Limoncello and club soda and pour into 4 glasses. Top them off with a lemon slice, a sprig of fresh mint and an umbrella.

Makes 4-10 oz. drinks.

Number Two Most Requested Summer Cocktail--Fruited Brandy Punch

This one has become a favorite at my home and a lot of the parties I attend, most likely because everyone loves it and you can make a huge amount and serve it in a punch bowl.

1/2 part brandy (I use Christian Brothers brand)

1 part lemon-lime soda

2 parts fruit juice (Cranberry-Peach blend is my favorite)

1/2 bag frozen fruit (Blueberries and strawberries look great)

1 fruited ice ring (see recipe below)

Slices of lemons, limes and oranges, if desired

Mix fruit juice and frozen fruit together in a nice punch bowl or container. Pour in lemon-lime soda, gently stir and then float an ice ring on top (see recipe below).

Rather than spike the punch, I serve the brandy on the side so my guests who prefer non-alcoholic punch can drink it too.

To make ice ring

Pour 1-2 cups of the juice mixture from above into a Bundt pan or another mold. Add some of the fruit and/or fresh citrus slices. Freeze overnight.

Just before serving, set the pan into some hot water to loosen the ice ring and then turn it into the punch bowl. It makes a really beautiful presentation, cools the punch and since it's made with juice, it will not water down the punch. Perfect!

This recipe can easily be altered so you can serve it from a Drink Fountain which is really gaining popularity lately. Just leave out the fruit and the ice ring.

If you went to a summer party and somebody handed you any of these summer drinks, wouldn't you think that the hosts went out of their way to make things special? That they really took time to get it right? Everybody loves a special summer drink on a warm sunny day.

So, now you have the recipes for my "Most Requested Hot Appetizers, Delicious Desserts and Summer Drinks" to WOW your guests with. I am certain that over time several of these recipes will become your favorites just as they are mine. Enjoy!