Wine and Food….how to transform a simple Saturday night-in into a fancy Saturday night-in without breaking the bank or stretching your belt!

Wine tasting is probably one of my favorite things to do and thank goodness Anthony and my best friend Lindsey (since 3rd grade) share the same passion. Monthly the four of us (plus Lindsey’s sweetheart fiancé, Chris) get together for a food and wine pairing; four bottles of vino, four delicious appetizers, and some sort of fun dessert, I mean really who could ask for more!?

The key is to keep appetizers simple and healthy. Remember this is supposed to be a fun night, not one you spend slaving over a stove.

And make it interactive; the goal of food and wine night not is not just to eat but also to learn about…wine and food pairings. Each couple brings their own “Wine Note Book”…discover wines you may have never known you liked! Cheers to that!

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Here’s the deliciousness that Anthony and I brought….

App #1: Callaway Chardonnay paired with Goat Chevre and a Spicy Red Pepper Jam

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This is one of my go to appetizers. I love it because it is amazingly delicious and super simple. We even bring it on picnics!

Ingredients:

  • 1 log of Trader Joe’s plain goat chevre
  • ½ jar Spicy Red Pepper Jam (my fav Cost Plus) or other flavored jam
  • Rice Crackers or whole grain crackers

Simply take the plain goat chevre and top it with the spicy red pepper jam. Serve with the rice crackers.

App#2: Black Mountain Fat Cat Cabernet Sauvignon with Chicken Italian Sausage and a Spicy Goat Cheese Marinara Sauce

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Mmmm…this is a great protein focused appetizer. It is important when creating a healthy Wine and Food event that you make sure everyone is not surviving off cracker and cheese!

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Italian chicken sausage, I go with the Trader Joe’s gluten free
  • ½ jar marinara sauce
  • ½ c or ½ log plain goat chevre
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried basil
  • Olive oil

Coat a fry pan with olive oil and heat to medium low.  Slice the chicken sausage into bite size pieces and put it into the fry pan. In a sauce pan heat marinara sauce, red pepper flakes and basil (season to taste). Stir/flip sausage bites as needed. Place the goat cheese in the center of a serving bowl. Once sausage is cooked through pour marinara sauce over goat cheese and place sausage bites on a serving plate. Use little tooth picks for easy grabbing!

Dessert!: Fresh Strawberries with Vegan Chocolate Mousse

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I absolutely love dessert! One of my favorites would have to be strawberries with any sort of rich silky chocolate; it’s just so sexy! This mousse is one that I did find online and tweaked a bit. I tried to at first eat it as a mousse but it is way too rich but is perfect as a dipping sauce! Be sure to make the mousse the day or morning before your Food and Wine night.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream/Milk (full fat)
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • ¼ c cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • Fresh strawberries

Open the can of coconut milk and put it in the fridge for AT LEAST 12 HOURS before prepping. In a large bowl mix the vanilla agave and entire can coconut milk; use a FORK! In a small bowl mix cocoa powder and powdered sugar then add to the coconut milk mixture and mix. Using a spatula pour into a zip lock bag. Place the silky heaven back into the fridge until ready to serve.

When ready to plate cut a corner of the zip lock bag and pipe mousse onto a plate. Serve with any fresh fruit; strawberries are a must!

Lindsey and Chris kept it simple and delicious with these appetizers….

App #1: Italian Pinot Grigio paired with Avocado Quarters stuffed with Goat Cheese Wrapped in Prosciutto

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App #2: French Red Blend paired with Warm Mediterranean Flatbread and an Olive Hummus

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Dessert: Raspberry Gelato floating in Limoncello and Prosecco

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So throw on some classy clothes and throw your own Wine and Food night! I promise you and your guests will not be disappointed. (And no Lindsey and I did not plan out our outfits…this is just how ridiculously similar we actually are…always fun to show up and feel like you are looking in a mirror)

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