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Fun Dinner Party Recipes

By Jane Butel  October 22, 2019

Last night we had a super fun and yummy dinner party.  I got to thinking that some of you might want to try these easy to make recipes. I set the dinner for Sunday, so I could prepare the tasty compound butter. the Remoulade Sauce, the Gingered Peach Butterscotch Crisp, the Lemon Honey Mustard salad dressing and cinnamon crusted toasted almonds on Saturday afternoon.  I roasted the beets when I baked the sweet potato for Friday night's dinner--thus saving both energy and time.

Then Sunday, mid afternoon, I prepped the green beans, washed the baby potatoes, tenderized the chicken breast and basted it with the butter-lemon mixture, peeled and chunked the beets--3 medium red beets and 1 large yellow beet and set up the cheese and crackers.

This was the menu--

Dubonnet Lou-tinis

Roasted Beets with Romesco Sauce

Assorted cheese and crackers platter

Mixed Nuts 

Lemon Pecan Grilled Chicken with Compound Butter

Buttered Spring Green Beans

Parslied Baby New Yukon Gold and Red Potatoes

Red Raspberry Candied Almond Spring Green Salad

with Lemon Honey Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing

Gingered Peach Butterscotch Crisp

Sauvignon Blanc Wine

We would love for you to come to our half price November weekend--the weather should be glorious and perfect for sight seeing, walking and hiking.  I personally think this is our best season with all the brilliant red chiles and golden cottonwoods against bright blue skies.  In this class we make all the favorite, traditional New Mexican dishes including the best ever Carne Adobado, Blue Corn Crusted Green Chile Rellenos and Bizcochitos.

Here's the key recipes--


Pecans grow all over the Southwest. The richness of pecans tinged with tart lemon and tarragon is delicious. This can be served with grilled vegetables.

Yield: 6 servings

Lemon-Pecan Butter (see below)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley or tarragon

Lemon-Pecan Butter

¼ cup pecans

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

Zest of 1 lemon, minced

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

  1. Prepare the Lemon-Pecan Butter
  2. While the butter is chilling, brush chicken with lemon juice and melt butter, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat grill to medium or 350°. Place rack 4 inches above heat
  4. Arrange chicken on rack: grill 6 minutes. Turn and grill 5 to 6 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife and the interior is 185°.
  5. To serve, place 1 breast half on a plate and top with 2 thin slices Lemon-Pecan Butter. Garnish with parsley.

Finely grind pecans in a blender or food processor. Add butter, lemon zest, tarragon and lemon juice and process until combined. Place on a plastic wrap or waxed paper, forming into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Refrigerate until firm. (Freeze if time is short)


TapasBeets are either loved or hated, and many people are in the latter camp. But I have won over dedicated beet haters by serving them this appetizer. You will be amazed at how terrific the roasted beets taste with this creamy, spicy, flavorful sauce. I sampled this dish first as a Spanish tapa, and I have been making it ever since. The sauce, by the way, can substitute for a remoulade sauce with seafood such as shrimp, crab, or crayfish, or with vegetables, such as steamed or boiled tiny new potatoes. When roasting, leave 3 inches of stem on the beets to prevent the juice from bleeding too much. 

Yield: Serves 6 

6 to 8 small fresh beets (about 1 bunch)

1 medium-size ripe tomato

2 large cloves garlic

5 blanched almonds

1 ½ Tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

½ corn tortilla (6-inch), torn into chunks

1 Tablespoon pure ground mild red chile

Generous pinch of pequin quebrado

Salt and freshly ground pepper 

  1. Prepare the beets: Preheat the oven to 350F. Wash and dry the beets, and trim the stems to 3 inches long (you can discard the leaves or reserve them for another use). 
  1. Place the beets on a baking sheet and transfer them to the oven. Roast the beets until their skins move slightly when touched with a spoon, about 30 minutes for small beets (less then 2 inches in diameter), up to 60 minutes for larger beets. 
  1. While the beats are roasting, prepare the romesco sauce: Rinse the tomato, remove the core, and cut a very shallow X into the bottom (this will allow you to remove the tomato’s skin when it’s cooked). Place the tomato, stem end up, the garlic, and the almonds on an ungreased baking sheet and place them in the oven. Roast in the oven along with the beets for about 15 minutes. Remove the garlic and almonds. Then continue to roast the tomato until it is soft, about 15 minutes more. Remove it from the oven. When the tomato and the garlic cloves are cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. 
  1. Let the beets cool until they’re still warm but not hot to the touch. Then peel them by tugging at the skin with a sharp paring knife- the skin and stems should slip off. Any stubborn portions will need to be peeled with a knife. Dice the beets into ¾ -inch cubes. 
  1. Pour 1/3 cup water, the vinegar, and the oil into a blender. Add the roasted tomato, garlic, and almonds, followed by the tortilla chunks, ground chile, pequin quebrado, and salt and black pepper to taste. Process until smooth. Then Tast, and adjust the seasonings as needed. Transfer the sauce to a small serving bowl. 
  1. Center the bowl of sauce on a serving platter and surround it with the diced beets. Provide toothpicks for piercing the beets and dipping them into the sauce.


Crunchy, gooey, and wonderful! The spicy crystallized ginger really adds to the flavor. You can substitute other fruits for the peaches-try apricots, any kind of berry, plums, or rhubarb. If you don’t mind the calories, top the crisp with whipped cream or ice cream.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

About 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ cup finely diced crystallized ginger

½ unsalted butter

2 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced peaches or other fruit (thaw frozen fruit just until mushy, and then pull apart with a fork)

  1.  Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spread fruit in buttered baking dish, and then sprinkle with crumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes, or until fruit is soft and crumb topping is brown.





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