Make Life Special is now a YouTube Partner

Make Life Special launched YouTube videos on July 31, 2012.  The how-to tutorial videos feature recipes from this website.  We were notified on October 7, 2012 that Make Life Special has been accepted as a new YouTube Partner.  YouTube offers Partner status based on relevant content , popularity of the videos and the level of commitment to adding and maintaining the videos.   You can view the videos on YouTube by going to our channel:  MakeLifeSpecial : Visit in Vickie’s Kitchen.  New videos are being added every week.

 

 

Welcome Fall

It’s that time of year again and what better way to say “Welcome !” than with mums and pumpkins decorating your front door entrance for fall!  Let’s welcome friends and family into our homes with some of these great and super easy  fall entertaining ideas:  

Try a baked potato bar.    Just follow my step by step directions for Perfect Baked Potatoes Click here.   Your company can custom make their spuds adding their favorite toppings.  Some of my suggestions are cheese sauce, taco meat, chili, shredded cheeses, bacon bits, jalapeno peppers, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper.

Have a salad buffet.  Guests can bring various fruit, pasta or veggie salads and you can provide the Iced tea.  Why not try Southern Peach Tea or Southern Sweet Tea.

Host a Chili Cook Off:  Ask your guests to bring their favorite chili.  You provide the crackers and condiments and drinks.  Everyone can sample all of the chili and vote for favorites!  Or, you can cook my super easy chili recipe, (Click here for the recipe) and your guests can bring various desserts.

Invite friends to join in the fun of a dessert buffet. Everyone can bring a dessert – an assortment of cookies, pies and cakes – and you can provide the coffee, hot cocoa or flavored teas.  I can guarantee lots of happy guests with this party!

Doughnuts and Cider Bash:  Serve hot spiced cider and doughnuts.  You can buy and assortment of doughnuts at the bakery or make my quick Cinnamon Doughnut Puffs.  Click here for that easy recipe:  Cinnamon Doughnut Puffs.

Wine and Cheese Party:  Make a quick cheese tray or an easy cheese ball and serve lots of crackers for tasting.  Try my easy Cheese Ball  – Click here for the recipe. Offer a red wine and a white wine.  Here’s a fun idea on serving the white wine:  Hollow out a pumpkin, line it with plastic wrap, and fill it with ice.  This will hold one or two bottles of white wine and is easy, easy easy!  Just prop the lid of the pumpkin up next to it.

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Entertaining friends in your home doesn’t have to be difficult.  It’s really all about the special times you can create by bringing people together in your home.

Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!  

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom Bacon Toasties

Mushroom Bacon Toasties are a delicious appetizer made with mushrooms, bacon, a herb cream cheese mixture on cocktail rye toast and topped with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy these with a great bottle of wine at your next party!!!  The Velvet Palate has paired this appetizer with the 2004 Legon Reserva.  You can click here for their wine tasting notes and information on this wine.

These are definitely worth the effort!  They can be made ahead and flash frozen to use later – or bake now and enjoy!  

Click the link to view the YouTube How-to Tutorial for this recipe:   Mushroom Bacon Toasties 

 

Mushroom Bacon Toasties
 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 20 cocktail size rye bread slices
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon Herb de Provence
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Heinz 57 sauce
  • 4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Brush both sides of the cocktail size rye bread with the 4 tablespoons of meted butter. Bake ate 350 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Blend the cream cheese, Herbs de Provence, garlic salt and chopped fresh parsley together and spread evenly on the cooled toasties.
  3. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the mushrooms, bacon and onions and saute until mushrooms release liquid and the bacon is cooked. Add the steak sauce. Divide mixture among the toasties.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. At this point you can flash freeze to bake later or bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly.
  6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

20 cocktail rye bread slices

4 tablespoons melted butter

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons butter

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely chopped

3 slices bacon, diced

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoon Heinz 57 sauce

4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Brush both sides of the miniature rye bread with melted butter.  Bake 5 to 6 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Blend the softened cream cheese, Herbs de Provence, garlic salt and chopped fresh parsley together and spread evenly on the toasties.

Spread evenly on the cooled rye toasties.

Melt butter in skillet.  Add mushrooms, bacon ( I use kitchen scissors to easily dice the bacon ), and onions and saute until the mushrooms release their liquid and the bacon is cooked.  

Add the steak sauce.

Divide mixture among the toasties.

Sprinkle with the Shredded Parmesan cheese.

At this point you can flash freeze to bake later or bake now at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Remember, “Let’s make life special  by sharing great food with our family and friends. Enjoy!”

 

 

Quick Chicken Corn Chowder

Fall is in the air and it’s time to get a big pot of Quick Chicken Corn Chowder simmering on the stove!   

Chowder is typically a thick, rich soup that is made with cream.  This Quick Chicken Corn Chowder is chocked full of vegetables and meat to make a delicious and warming meal on a chilly Fall or Winter evening.  You can have this on the table in less than 30 minutes—-that’s less time than it takes to get a carry-out pizza!   

To view the complete video recipe, click here:   http://youtu.be/OKAjAlvFRPE

To print the recipe with all of the how-to photos, click here:  Quick Chicken Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped onions

1/4 cup chopped celery

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped or 2 tablespoons canned chopped jalapeno peppers ( not pickled)

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups milk

2 cups chopped deli rotisserie  chicken

1 1/2 cups frozen corn

1 can cream style corn

1 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 /8 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and jalapeno; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.

Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  

Stir in milk and blend well.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Serve up a big steaming bowl of Quick Chicken Corn Chowder topped with crumbled pieces of my Microwaved Bacon ( See Success Secret under a separate post).

Remember — Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!

 Happy Fall…Y’all!


Quick Chicken Corn Chowder
 
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup chopped onions
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped OR 2 tablespoons canned chopped jalapeno peppers ( not pickled )
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk or a combination of milk and half and half
  • 2 cups chopped deli rotisserie chicken
  • 1½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red peppers
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery and jalapeno; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
  2. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

The Plantation House Restaurant Maui Review

As most of my blog followers know, I have been in Maui enjoying the sun, sand, shopping and spectacular food!  My last day on the island included a stop at The Plantation House Restaurant for a casually elegant island style lunch.  

The Plantation House Restaurant is located in Kapalua – just a short drive from Ka’anapali Beach.  The restaurant was highly recommended to me and I was not disappointed.  The restaurant has a traditional plantation house atmosphere with teak wood furniture and plantation style windows that open out to a spectacular island  view.

I was greeted by Elyse Byron, Director of Aloha, who gave me a very warm island welcome and seated me at a table with a breathtaking view.  Elyse has had an impressive career working with chefs including five and a half years as the Executive Assistant to  Chef Michael Chiarello   in Yountville California.

The view…..

The lunch menu depicts the beautiful surroundings…

 

I selected the Macadamia Nut Basil Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and paired it with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  The flavors and creamy goodness of this dish were outstanding.

While enjoying my entree, I was also welcomed to the restaurant by Norm Schuhardt, General Manager and Partner of the Plantation House Restaurant.  

The dessert offerings were too tempting to pass up so I selected the Lillikoi Creme Brulee – a rich passion fruit custard base dessert with a crackly layer of caramelized sugar on top.  

 

I was thrilled to meet the Executive Chef, Alexander Stanislaw ( more about Chef Alex in a separate post)

Vickie and Chef Alex Stanislaw

The lunch at The Plantation House Restaurant was absolutely wonderful.  When I return to Maui next year, I want to stop by the restaurant for dinner.  The dinner menu showcases Chef Alex’s specialties with bold Mediterranean flavors blended with the freshest local produce, herbs and seafood available.  The menu is filled with truly inspired cuisine.  The restaurant also has an extensive wine collection and the dinner menu offers wine pairing suggestions.  

This review was my honest opinion of the Plantation House Restaurant, the staff, the service and  the food.     

 

       

Mom’s Recipe Box

Family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation are what Make Life Special is all about.  I want to inspire you to cook with recipes that are easy to make, fast and delicious.  Some of my Mom’s recipes are pictured below.    

My Mom and Dad have moved into Supportive Living and my Mom is no longer able to cook.  This has been a major change in all of our lives, but it has been positive for Mom and Dad….How lucky I am to still have them in my life!  Dad is 89 years old  and Mom is 82 years old.  Mom gave me her two recipe boxes filled with all of the recipes she has collected over the years.  I can’t wait to start cooking and sharing these recipes….

 

101 Likes on Facebook!!!

 Just hit the 100 Fans benchmark with Facebook!  Thank you for all of your support!  Love, Love , LOVE to cook!!!

Fabulous Fish

Looking for some really quick and easy fish recipes?  This recipe delivers!


Can you believe it?  This fish microwaves in 10 minutes!  It’s shown here with my Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus.  

 

 

Fabulous Fish
 
Recipe type: Main Dish - Fish
Serves: 3 to 4
Ingredients
  • 1 pound white fish fillets, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 8 ounce package fresh mushroom slices
  • 1 can Cream of Celery soup
  • ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • ½ cup Italian style or plain breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Arrange fish in a 12 X 8 X 2 oblong baking dish.
  2. Top with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, onions, mushrooms, soup and seasonings.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes.
  4. Mix remaining melted butter into the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the fish.

Ingredients:

1 pound of white fish fillets, thawed

4 tablespoons of melted butter

2 green onions, sliced

8 oz package of fresh sliced mushrooms

1 can Cream of Celery soup

1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1/2 Italian or plain breadcrumbs

Directions:

Arrange the fish fillets in a 12 X 8 X 2 baking dish.

 

Top with butter, onions, mushrooms, soup and seasonings.

 

Cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes.

 

Top with buttered breadcrumbs and serve.

 

Enjoy! 

To download the printable recipe with how to photos, click here:      Fabulous Fish

How is the BEST way to quickly thaw frozen fish fillets?  Check out my success secret:  Thawing Fish Quickly  

   

Video: Fabulous Fish

   
   
           
   

    Looking for easy fish recipes?  This delicious fish recipe microwaves in 10 minutes!

 

 

Lights…Camera….Action….

Behind the scenes taping the YouTube videos:

Baked Bacon

I LOVE bacon!!! But, cooking a lot of bacon can be difficult unless you use my Success Secret for Baked Bacon…..

Video: Vickie’s Baked Bacon


Cooking bacon for a bunch can be a challenge but it is EASY when you make Vickies Baked Bacon.


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lay a wire rack into a foil lined rimmed cookie or baking sheet.  Lay bacon slices on the rack.  You will be able to cook 10 to 12 slices this way.  If you need to cook more, use two baking sheets.

For a pretty presentation, scrunch bacon slightly to make a ribbon effect.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.  Note:  If you are cooking extra thick bacon, you will have to adjust the baking time.

Baked Bacon
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Ingredients
  • Bacon - allow at least 2 slices per person
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lay a wire rack into a foil lined pan.
  3. Lay the bacon on top of the wire rack. All of the bacon grease will drain off as the bacon bakes.
  4. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.

Bacon really seems to round out a breakfast or brunch.  Always allow at least 2 slices of bacon per person.  I think this is the best way to cook bacon because all of the grease drains off into the foil lined pan as the bacon bakes.  Then the clean-up is a breeze.  Just gather up the aluminum foil and throw away.  If you save your bacon grease, you can drain it out of the pan and into your bacon grease container.  Either way…this is super easy!

To download the printable directions with how-to-photos, click here:  Success Secret Bacon for a Bunch

You may also like to see how to Microwave Bacon.  Check out How To Microwave Bacon.

Remember, “Let’s Make Life Special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!”

 

Make Life Special
2 Cypress Rd Litchfield, IL 62056 US
Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com