My Crazy Cocina Caliente!!

Just a crazy little latina, stirring up trouble in the cocina!

House Party: French Cocktail Party June 15, 2011

Filed under: Appetizers,Baking,House Party — Vanessita! @ 11:09 am
Hi There!
I know, I know- it’s been QUITE a while since I’ve updated my blog but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share with you the details of my first ever House Party!
For those of you who haven’t heard of House Party before, I urge you to check out their website and sign up.
So what is House Party you ask?

“House Party ( is a company that throws thousands of parties across the country on the same day, all hosted by people like you and in the comfort of your own home. Each event is sponsored by a leading brand, hosts get their own party website and a FREE party pack chock full of goodies to share with friends”
(Exerpt from

I was selected to house the French Cocktail Party.  Thanks to the coupons provided in my party pack I bought a few bottles of B&G wine.  Unfortunately, the requested Pinor Noir was not available in my area so instead I purchased a bottle of Merlot and the Vouvray.  While both wines were very tasty, the Vouvray was definitely the winner that night.  My guests absolutely loved this wine and I have to say it’s now become my white wine of choice!

B&G Vouvray & Merlot

House Party also provided me with some great Ile De France cheese coupons.  I was able to indulge a few varieties and they were all delicious!  I bought a wheel of Brie which I covered in Phyllo Dough and baked with an apple compote.  It was definitely a hit!  The apple and the Brie mixed so well together and made for a great cracker topper.

House Party also sent me a great cheese board which I used to display the Ile De France goat cheese and a container of spreadable Brie.  All the cheeses were delicious.  I had a hard time staying away from them!
I wanted to give my guests the best French Cocktail Party experience so I decided to cook up a few French-inspired dishes.  I baked a Quiche with ham, cheese, and mushrooms which was delicious!  I also made Mushroom Crostini and Salmon Mousse on crackers.

The SpreadCheese, Crackers and Brie en CrouteSalmon MousseCheese & Crackers

Cheese, Crackers and Brie en CrouteSalmon MousseCheese & CrackersSalmon Mousse


Salmon Mousse


Cheese & Crackers


For dessert I made yummy Chocolate Mousse in Phyllo Cups (thanks for the inspiration Katie!)

Merlot & Chocolate Mousse Cups

Overall I had a great time hosting my first House Party.  I received good feed back from my guests as well.
I definitely enjoyed the wines and cheeses and will be buying more Ile De France and B&G products in the future. 
 Thank you House Party!

Happy 4th…just a few days late! July 13, 2009

Filed under: Appetizers,Baking — Vanessita! @ 12:59 pm

In true Vanessa fashion- this post is very late.

Those of you who know me personally know I usually tend to run a little late when it comes to getting places.  Whether its traffic or wardrobe problems, something usually happens.  Hubs and I are teased that we’re always the last ones to arrive to group get togethers. lol.  But I promise, I’m working on changing that bad habit!  I even made it to 2 weddings on time! And to the 2nd we were the first guests there! haha.

So here it is, my Fourth of July post, just 9 days late 🙂 Sue me.

We spent the morning with my family at their new Ranch 🙂  My parents recently bought a house with five-acres.  The house is about 45 minutes from our place so I don’t get to see them often.  This was probably the first time I had seen them in about two weeks (versus a few times a week when they lived close by).

My mom asked me to bring a new appetizers and specifically requested the chili dip I had made for an event before.
This stuff is like crack- super addicting! (Not that I would know! PINKY SWEAR!)  But seriously- it’s addicting and so delicious.

ChiliDip2My sincere apologizes for the semi-fugly picture!

Chili Cheese Dip (From Joelen’s Culinary Adventures)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened I doubled the recipe, used 2 packages of cheese
1 (15 ounce) can chili Used 2 cans of chili
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese I used a Colby-Jack blend
1 tomato, chopped & seeded Skipped this step
chopped chives for garnish

Combine all the ingredients above except for chives and mix thoroughly.
Place in baking dish and bake for 20-23 minutes until warmed and bubbly OR place in mini crockpot to keep warm.
Garnish with chives.

It’s so good!!! Please put this on your list for your next party… I promise it’ll be a hit!!!

I also whipped up some Spinach & Artichoke dip that I baked inside of won-top cups.
This is sort of a made-up recipe adapted from several types of dips I’ve made in the past.


Spinach & Artichoke Dip:

1- 11oz pack of Frozen Spinach (Thawed, drained, and patted dry)
1 can of artichoke hearts (I buy the quartered kind)
1 brick of cream cheese
1 cup sour creamAs much shredded cheese as your heart desires (I probably added a good cup, cup and a half)*
1 package of won-top wrappers (My grocery store only had the square kind)
Set aside from extra cheese for topping
Salt & Pepper to taste

*You can add the cheese of your choice.  I normally use mozzarella or Parmesan, one time I even added Asiago!… but use whatever floats your boat.

In a large bowl I add the spinach and the chopped up artichoke hearts (I chop mine up pretty small).
Then add in the sour cream, shredded cheese, and the softened cream cheese.
Mix until all the cheeses are blended into the greens.

I then put the mix into a baking dish and bake it up until the cheese is well melted (About 20 minutes).

While the dish is baking I take the won ton wrappers and form them into cups by putting them into my (well-greased!) cupcake pan.

Once the dip is nice and melty- I add it to the won ton cups.  Then I stick the cupcake pans back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes, until the cups are nice and crispy.  Before I remove them from the oven I sprinkle some shredded cheese on top of each cup and let it melt.

Serve them up warm- it tastes so much better when the cheese is nice and gooey!

Lastly, I baked up a cake- a VERY patriotic cake.  I’ve got to say I’m proud of this one.
I saw this cake originally on 17 & Baking (check her out, she’s awesome!)… I took her idea and ran with it.
I won’t list the recipes I used for the cakes here, but I made 1-red velvet 8″ cake, and 2-white/vanilla 8″ cakes (one colored blue).


Flag Cake:

3 cakes: 1 red, 1 blue, 1 white (kind of obvious huh?)
Enough Frosting to cover this bad boy PLUS enough to ice the various layers.

Feel free to check out 17 & Baking for the details instructions.  Here’s a short run-down of what I did.

  • Cut the red & white cakes in half using a cake leveler
  • Cut out the center of the blue cake leaving a ring (you won’t need the inside)
  • Cut out the centers of 1 red and 1 white half
  • Stack the first two colors (the still in tact white & red layers).  Make sure to frost between each layer.
  • Stack on the blue ring (icing both the top and insides)
  • Inside the blue ring stack the white & red cake cutouts.
  • Frost the entire cake- and viola!


I used a classic cream cheese frosting:

1 brick of softened cream cheese
1 stick of softened butter
2 cups+ of powdered sugar
A splash of vanilla extract


Blend the cream cheese & butter in a stand mixer until well blended.
Little by little add the powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency (may take more than 2 cups!)
Add a splash of vanilla extract, and mix until its all blended in.


I hope you enjoyed your Fourth!!!