Sandra Less suggest that “If you’re facing a time crunch—pick party foods that are delicious and impressive, without being fussy. I recommend, Savory Bread Pudding and Fig and Port Tartlets—both of these tasty treats can be prepared before your guests arrive and served at room temperature.” She’s graciously provided the following recipes to us for reprint from her book Cocktail Time (Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade) which contains 218 Cocktails & Appetizers recipes.

While you’re cooking up these savory treats, check out Joshua Bell’s album, click here for the Pop Up Audio Player. Tomorrow, we’ll have Sandra’s cocktail recipe and tips! Enjoy!


Image by Tim Patterson via Flickr

Savory Bread Pudding – Appetizer

Prep 25 minutes Bake 35 minutes Makes 12 mini bread puddings

  • non-stick cooking spray, Pam®
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, Johnsonville®
  • 1 package (8-ounce) sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, Wesson®
  • 1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, McCormick®
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 loaf country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat twelve 21⁄2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook sausage until browned, breaking up lumps. Remove sausage from skillet. Add mushrooms, oil, and garlic to skillet. Cook and stir until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in sausage. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add cubed bread and sausage mixture to egg mixture; press bread with back of a large spoon to submerge into milk mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes or until bread absorbs milk mixture. Ladle bread pudding mixture into prepared muffin cups and place in a large rimmed baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and bread pudding puffs. Serve warm.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

Fig and Port Tartlets - Photo Credit: Food Network

Fig and Port Tartlets – Appetizer

Prep 15 minutes Cook 6 minutes Makes 15 tartlets

  • 1 jar (12-ounce) royal fig preserves, St. Dalfour®
  • 1⁄4 cup port
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, Domino®/C&H®
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon extract, McCormick®
  • 1 package (2.1-ounce) baked miniature phyllo dough shells, Athens®
  • Ground cinnamon, McCormick®
  • Powdered sugar, Domino®/C&H®
  1. In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat preserves and port, about 6 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. In a chilled mixing bowl, beat whipping cream, sugar, and cinnamon extract with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream mixture to a large resealable plastic bag. Snip 1⁄2 inch off one corner of the bag. Fill each shell with about 1 tablespoon of fig mixture. Pipe whipped cream on top. Garnish with a dusting of ground cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee

Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.