This Saturday brings the second leg of the Triple Crown…of course you should invite your friends over for a PREAKNESS PARTY!!

  Here is a menu put together by Debbe Titus from The Half Moon Bakery in Jamesville, NY, that can be prepared mostly in advance so that you can greet your friends as they arrive.

“As always, do your shopping the day before so that you have fresh items to use.  I would also add a fresh vegetable to this dish.  This time of year, fresh asparagus is always tasty.  Easy to prepare, keep in spears and just quickly steam in a little water. Be careful not to overcook them.  I sprinkle a little lemon juice over the spears before serving.” –Debbe
The day before….
1.      Pound out the chicken cutlets and wrap in plastic wrap and store back in the refrigerator.
2.      Cut up the vegetables for the shrimp mousse and the chicken. Store in the refrigerator in plastic containers.
3.      Make the Shrimp Mousse and refrigerate—remember it needs to sit overnight to really firm up.
4.      Make the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Brownies and refrigerate still in the pan.
The day of:
1.      Remove the Brownies from the refrigerator and let set for 15 minutes before attempting to cut and remove from the pan.
2.      Find a nice serving dish and place the brownies on it and return it to the refrigerator.  Remember to remove this from the refrigerator when you are serving the chicken so that they will be at room temperature before you serve them.
3.      About 2 hours before your party, prepare the potatoes and place back in the refrigerator so that you can place them in the oven so that they will be fully baked when your chicken is finished. You will have to plan the timing on this based on when you will serve your main meal.
4.      About 15 minutes before folks arrive, remove the Shrimp Mousse from the mold and set on a serving tray. I have garnished with curly lettuce or parsley and it looks fantastic. Arrange a variety of crackers in a basket or plate and serve on the side.  Make sure that you have two spreading knives available. This is so popular that one will not be enough for everyone as they rush to try this out.
5.      Give yourself time to prepare the chicken and place the potatoes on serving dishes.
With lots of advance planning, you can have a delightful dinner party. Your attention to detail will allow you time to pamper yourself as you dressfor your party.  I am sure that you will have a wonderful day at the races!
Shrimp Mousse
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
1 can tomato soup (undiluted)
8-9 oz . cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup of finely chopped celery
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
1 cup of mayonnaise
2 (4oz) cans baby shrimp-drained
a splash of Frank’s Hot sauce
In a small bowl, add 1/2 cup of cold water and 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the tomato soup to be very hot.  Add the cream cheese to the soup and blend very well.  I use a wire whisk at the end to really combine it. Add the gelatin and let it stand to cool.
When cool, add the celery, onion and mayonnaise and blend well.
Add in the shrimp and blend.
Oil a 1 quart gelatin mold.  Pour the shrimp mixture into the mold.
If using a mold with a cover you can just refrigerate it. If not using a cover, top the mold with plastic wrap so that you don’t get a hard crust on the mixture before you refrigerate the mold.
I make this the night before or day before I am ready to serve it so that it has time to gel.  When ready to serve; release over a decorative plate.  This is good with a variety of crackers.
Chicken with Chopped Tomato and Vodka
6 Boneless, skinless chicken breast- halved and pounded into cutlets
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of flour
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup of Vodka
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup of chopped, seeded fresh tomato
3 Tbs. half and half or heavy cream
4 Tbs. sliced scallions
Pound the chicken breasts into cutlets. Set aside.
In a dish, add flour and salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken cutlets through the flour.
In a large sauté pan,  add the olive oil  and heat on medium heat.  Carefully add the chicken and saute for about 5 minutes on each side; remove and place on a platter.
Pour off any remaining oil from the pan. Deglaze the pan with the vodka making sure that you are away from the heat. Remember, this can be flammable!Can’t have you starting a fire!
Return the pan to the heat and cook until nearly evaporated. Add the broth and lemon juice. Return the cutlets to the pan and cook on each side for 1 – 2 minutes more. Transfer the cutlet to a warm plate. Stir in the chopped tomato and half and half/cream.  Heat through and then pour over the cutlets.   Garnish with the scallions and serve!
Cheddar Baked Potatoes
Serves: 6 Preheat oven to 350^
6 large baking potatoes
1/4 cup of butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced chives/or green onion
3 Tbs. dry bread crumbs
1 Tbs. Parmesan Cheese
Peel and dry potatoes. Cut a thin slice off the long side of the potatoes so they sit flat. Cut vertical slits from top almost to the bottom of the potatoe. (potato is horizontal and slits are vertical-kind of like “fanning them”)
Melt the butter. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet and brush with the melted butter. Add the salt and bake for 1.5 hours; baste occasionally with the remaining butter.
Combine the cheeses, chives/onions, and bread crumbs.  Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Carefully fill slits with the cheese mixture and sprinkle the remaining cheese mixture over the tops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place under the broiler til golden brown. Watch carefully!
Serve with sour cream on the side.
Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Brownies
Brownie Layer:
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips(7.5 ounces)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. instant coffee powder dissolved in 2 Tbs. hot water
2 Tbs. hot black coffee
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350^.  Grease an 8 or 9” inch square baking pan
Melt the chocolate chips with butter in a microwave safe container. Stir and cool slightly. In a large bowl, beat (medium speed) the brown sugar and eggs until blended.  Add chocolate mixture and coffee and blend well.  Mix in the flour and baking powder. Spread evenly in the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until the wooded pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.
Truffle Layer

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup of seedless red raspberry preserves
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in a small dish.  In a mixing bowl, beat at medium speed,  the cream cheese and preserves until smooth. At low speed, beat in the chocolate mixture and powdered sugar.  Beat until fluffy.  Spread over the cooled brownie.
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. Crisco shortening.
Melt the chocolate chips with the shortening.  Drizzle over the truffle layer.
Chill the pan of brownies for 2 hours.  Set out on the counter for 10 minutes before cutting into square.  Cover and store in the refrigerator.
I cut these into approximately 3 x 3 ” squares: about 9 pieces.
Bon Appetit!
Debbe Titus from The Half Moon Bakery-Jamesville, NY
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