Food. I love it. Not just because of the way it tastes, or looks, or because of the aroma that wafts through the house as it cooks. I adore food because it enhances our social experience. Whether you are gathering around the family table to feast and share stories from the day, settling in at a small table for two in an intimate cafe, or inviting friends over for the big game, food makes it all more enjoyable!
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When it comes to social gatherings the conundrum is that sometimes when you are the host/hostess, the stress of making the menu and entertaining guests can diminish your ability to enjoy your own party! So today I am going to share some of my favorite casual, stress free party dishes, beginning with an almost effortless appetizer, “Apricot Sesame Crock Pot Chicken Wings”. These are so tender and flavorful and honestly, almost no work at all! Simply whisk together a few ingredients and pour over chicken wings in a crock pot, a few hours later you have ‘fall off the bone’ perfection! I use the Cuisinart Multicooker for all my slow cooking.
Confession time. I ate half of these as soon as I was done taking pictures…and I ate the other half the next day. They are that good.
The Recipe: Apricot Sesame Crock Pot Chicken Wings
- 3 pounds chicken wings
- 2 med shallot minced
- 4 tablespoons toasted Sesame oil
- 1 tsp each sea salt and ground pepper
- 1 Cup teriyaki sauce
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cups apricot preserves
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes 1 tsp for mild, 1 1/2 for med, 2 for hot
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds for garnish
- 3 green onions sliced for garnish
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons corn starch or arrow root powder to thicken)
Whisk together shallots, sesame oil, salt, pepper, teriyaki, garlic, apricot preserves, orange juice, red pepper flakes and ginger.
Place chicken wings in crock pot, meaty side down. Pour sauce over chicken wings.
If you have a regular crock pot, cook on low heat 2 hours. Whisk together water with corn starch (or arrow root powder) and add to crock pot. Stir. Turn crock pot to 'high' and cook for one more hour.
If you have a crock pot like mine that has a sauté/browning feature you can cook for 3 1/2 hours on low, add corn starch mixture and press brown/sauté, adjust the temperature 425. Cook for 15 more minutes till sauce is thick.
Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and serve!
Chicken Wings Alone Do Not A Party Make! My ‘Casual’ Party Favorites
Chicken wings are a great start to any casual party but if you want to make an entire spread while keeping it fresh, easy and healthy I have some suggestions! These recipes are my party go-to’s, because they are very little work and can be made in advance so you can relax and enjoy your guests!
Apple and Avocado Salad with tangerine Dressing: Easy to put together and the dressing can be made a day or two in advance!
Now this next suggestion may surprise you! I love soup for parties. I make it days or even weeks in advance and freeze it. Two days before the party I pull it out of the freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge. Then it’s just a matter of reheating and letting people serve themselves! Sometimes I offer three or four soup choices…something for every taste. I swear once you serve it, the “soup for parties” concept will be a revelation to you!
Dessert…so many choices…but I’ll narrow it down for you!
Cake is always a favorite for parties! You can make them a day ahead and get at least 12 servings out of a single cake. I am going to recommend my Hummingbird Cake or my Naked Chocolate Cake! Both are amazing.
MAY I PLEASE ASK A LITTLE FAVOR?
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