Fondue Party

A gathering of your favorite people, revolving around vessels of {typically} cheese or chocolate, accompanied by perfectly paired foods and libations.  The reason to why fondue parties went out of style will forever be a mystery to me. 2019 is the year we are taking back fondue. Foodies, rejoice!

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There are few foods that I love more than cheese. Cheese makes everything better. A close second? Chocolate. But that doesn’t mean cheese and chocolate are the only types of fondue-to-do. For your starter you can easily sub out the cheese with a marinara or Alfredo sauce and go Italian themed. Have breaded chicken/veal cutlets, some spicy or sweet Italian sausage, ravioli, garlic knots, mozzarella sticks,  shrimp & scallops for dipping. Make it southern and have some homemade sausage gravy in your fondue pot with fried chicken fingers, biscuits, hush puppies, potatoes and corn fritters as your dippers. Not one single person has ever said fondue was healthy. For dessert, swap out the chocolate for melted peanut butter and joyfully dunk just about anything in your reach. Caramel or a bubbling strawberry compote are great options too, but I’ll list a ton of great combinations and fondue options below.

You do not need a fondue set to execute the perfect fondue party. You can simply heat up or melt your ingredients on the stove and pour them into a bowl for serving. Keeping it heated is not overly important, as I promise that someone will be licking that bowl clean before it’s even cooled down. I would, however, ensure you have some sort of poker stick/kebobs for dipping purposes. You can find wooden ones at just about any grocery store. Don’t forget to put out some refreshments on your bar cart or counter, some good IPA’s or wine being some of my favorites! However, some bubbly cocktails or fruity mocktails would be just as enjoyable.

Just like there are no rules to cooking, there are no rules to fondue. Have fun with it, try new things! The best part about fondue is how casual it is. It’s not your typical sit-down dinner party. It’s a social gathering, an “experience” if you will. Put on a good playlist, serve it at an area where people can gather around informally while they eat and communicate, laugh, sing, dance. I love serving on a kitchen island or even on a coffee table, just throw a few pillows down for some floor seating and even put on a movie for a more intimate feel. I hope you enjoy all the recipes and pairings I’ve curated below and that your next fondue party is both tasty and lighthearted.

Recipes

Beer Cheese

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup favorite beer
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup mild cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup swiss, shredded
  1. In your fondue pot or in a saucepan, melt your butter.
  2. Sprinkle in your cornstarch and seasonings, whisk until combined.
  3. Pour in your beer and bring to a simmer. Continuously stirring, begin to add your cheese a little at a time. As it melts, continue to add more until desired consistency.

 

Mexican Style Cheese Fondue

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup cerveza (Corona, Pacifico, Modelo)
  • 1 1/2 cups mild cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup monterey jack, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Rotel, drained
  1. In your fondue pot or in a saucepan, melt your butter.
  2. Sprinkle in your cornstarch and seasonings, whisk until combined.
  3. Pour in your beer and bring to a simmer. Continuously stirring, begin to add your cheese a little at a time. As it melts, continue to add more until desired consistency.
  4. Stir in your pickled jalapenos and Rotel before serving.

 

Sausage Gravy

  • 16 oz. Jimmy Dean pork breakfast sausage
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  1. In a large skillet, use your spatula to crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat. Add in your butter and sprinkle flour over entire mixture. Stir until combined.
  2. While whisking, slowly pour in your milk. Continue whisking until gravy begins to thicken. Season with ground black pepper and salt to taste.

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Chocolate Fondue
*I actually prefer to prepare my dessert fondues on the stove, using a double boiler, and than transferring to a fondue pot/serving vessel. Ingredients high in sugar tend to burn faster/easier and fondue pots tend to be difficult to control heat.

  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • dash of pure vanilla extract
    *optional: 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  1. Using a double boiler, pour in your heavy cream & vanilla, followed by your chocolate chips. Continuously stir until smooth & creamy. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to preferred serving vessel.

 

Peanut Butter Fondue
*I actually prefer to prepare my dessert fondues on the stove, using a double boiler, and than transferring to a fondue pot/serving vessel. Ingredients high in sugar tend to burn faster/easier and fondue pots tend to be difficult to control heat.

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream
  1. Using a double boiler, pour in your heavy cream and peanut butter and stir constantly. As peanut butter begins to melt, stir in the confectioners sugar. Once mixture is completely smooth and melted, remove from heat and transfer to preferred serving vessel.

 

Salted Caramel Fondue
*I actually prefer to prepare my dessert fondues on the stove, using a double boiler, and than transferring to a fondue pot/serving vessel. Ingredients high in sugar tend to burn faster/easier and fondue pots tend to be difficult to control heat. 

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, begin to heat your sugars. Whisking every minute for about 7 minutes until they begin to melt.
  2. Immediately reduce heat to low and add butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir until butter is melted, combined, and beginning to bubble (just a few minutes).
  3. Slowly stir in your heavy cream and let it come to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Add salt and transfer to preferred serving vessel.

 

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

  • 1 package small corn tortillas
  • frying oil, enough to cover 1″ depth in your frying pan
    • canola, vegetable, and coconut oil are my preference
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • fine sea salt

*Please always be careful while using hot oil. You can test if your oil is ready (hot enough) by running your fingers under water and flicking a TINY amount of the water into the oil. If the oil begins to bubble where the water has touched, it is hot enough to begin frying.

  1. Heat your oil over medium for about 5 minutes or until hot enough to fry.
  2. Cut your tortillas in half vertically and horizontally, creating 4 triangles.
  3. Carefully drop 8-12 tortillas (depending on the size of your frying pan) into your oil at a time. Let fry for just a few minutes, until light golden brown.
  4. Remove from oil and transfer to a dish covered with a paper towel. Immediately dust with chili & garlic powder and sea salt.

 

Pairings

*dippers listed are just options, it is not required that you serve alllll of them LOL

Traditional

Fondue: Beer Cheese

Dippers:

  • ham
  • sausage/kielbasa
  • meatballs
  • steak
  • bacon
  • chicken fingers
  • cocktail hotdogs
  • shrimp/coconut shrimp
  • scallops
  • french baquette
  • pretzels/soft pretzels
  • broccoli/cauliflower
  • apple/pear slices
  • potatoes
  • bell pepper slices

Italian

Fondue: Marinara or Alfredo Sauce

Dippers:

  • meatballs
  • spicy or sweet italian sausage
  • chicken/veal cutlets
  • shrimp
  • scallops
  • garlic knots/garlic bread
  • fried eggplant
  • ravioli
  • mozzarella sticks
  • zucchini
  • potatoes

Southern

Fondue: Sausage Gravy

Dippers:

  • buttermilk fried chicken fingers
  • chicken fried steak
  • biscuits
  • hush puppies
  • corn fritters
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • brussel sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • green beans

 

Cinco De Mayo 

Fondue: Mexican Style Cheese

Dippers:

  • chorizo
  • empanadas
  • taquitos
  • taco style meatballs
  • sliced flank steak
  • homemade tortilla chips
  • corn bread bites
  • sliced bell peppers
  • mexican street corn

 

Dessert

Fondue: Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Fruit Compote, Peppermint Bark for the Holidays

Dippers:

  • fruit: strawberries, pineapple, banana, blueberries, apples & pears
  • marshmallows (“SmashMallow” has great flavored ones!)
  • graham crackers (teddy grahams would be great for little ones!)
  • wafer & waffle cookies
  • sugar cookies (fun to use cookie cutters and coordinate with holidays)
  • pound cake, cubed
  • cheesecake bites
  • bacon
  • gingerbread cookies
  • homemade donuts
  • pretzels/soft pretzels

*I also love serving a small side of vanilla or funfetti frosting on the side with a spreading knife. Who doesn’t love the funfettis!?

I would love to see all of your fondue creations, so be sure to tag me @jaclyndrift on instagram!

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Cashew Crusted Citrus Cod

I found your next dinner party entree! This cod takes 20 minutes from start to finish and is an absolute stunner when plated. Not to mention, it’s extremely light and healthy; Perfect for that first dinner party of the new year when everyone’s still on their diet kick. Just keep in mind that not everyone loves fish (my husband hates it), so know your guests (or don’t be afraid to ask) before picking it as the star of your show.

When buying fish, I prefer to always buy wild-caught. I once watched a documentary on farm-raised fish and just cannot, will not ever go back. Also, your fresh fish should never actually smell fishy (if it does, it’s not fresh), but more so smell like the ocean. Scales should be shiny, gills red, and eyes clear of cloudiness. The typical serving of fish per person is 8 ounces (1/2 pound), however I always buy extra. Since fish is so light, people tend to go back for seconds.

*I prepared an 8 oz. piece of fish for myself (remember, my husband hates fish), but will double the recipe below for a typical serving of 2.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb. wild caught cod
  • 1/2 cup salted cashews, crushed into crumbs
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 blood orange, halved
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • pink himalayan sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  1. Preheat your oven to 400º and line a baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Lay your fish scale side down (I had the skin removed from my filet, however you can still tell which side is the “skin” side.)
  3. Drizzle the melted butter over the filet. Juice half of the lemon and half of the blood orange, pour juice over fish. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika. Gently press the cashew crumbs onto the entire exterior of the fish filet. Place 3 thinly slices rounds of lemon and 3 slices of blood orange on top of the filet. Finish by sprinkling the fresh parsley on top.

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  1. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

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Butternut Squash & Cashew Cream Stuffed Shells

All my plant-based friends and family – this ones for you! Even though you most definitely don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy this dish. I whipped this up for a family dinner I was hosting (I made sausage baked ziti and my cousin is a vegan), and everyone loved it. I topped my shells with this Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce, but you can surely enjoy them without it as well.

When creating vegan/vegetarian dishes, adding plenty of flavor and nutrients is key! I have really enjoyed studying plant-based diets, as it really makes you think about cooking in a whole new way. Exploring plant-based replacements for things that you so carelessly grab on a day-to-day basis, thinking of ways to incorporate nutrients that can easily be overlooked; It’s a new world of cooking.

Don’t worry, I still love my meat! I am just definitely going to make a better attempt at exploring different options and thinking of ways to make my ‘normal’ meals more vegetarian/vegan friendly.

Ingredients:

  • 16 pasta shells, jumbo
  • Cashew Cream (recipe here)
  • 1 portobello mushroom, chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 lb. baby spinach, sautéed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Toss your squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes or until soft.
  2. Boil your pasta shells until al dente and carefully remove from the water. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a pan, drizzle olive oil. Add your chopped portobellos and minced red onion, sauté for 5 minutes. Add baby spinach and cook for an additional minute.
  4. In a mixing bowl, add your cashew cream. To the cream, add roasted squash, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. Carefully stir, ensuring your not mushing the vegetables. butternut squash stuffed shells 1
  5. Fill each of your pasta shells with about 2 tablespoons of mixture and place in a baking dish. Drizzle with this Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes (remember, everything’s already cooked so we just want to heat it up!)

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Enjoy!

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Oven Roasted Prime Rib

Sorry all vegans and vegetarians, but this is the meal I wait all year long for. Almost as far back as I can remember, my mom has been hosting Christmas dinner. Along with the perfect charcuterie board and some bacon wrapped shrimp to start the evening, she followed with the big boy; A prime rib the size of a linebackers thigh. To this day, I sneak in the kitchen while the rib is resting and pick at the perfectly seasoned & crisp outer  crust.

As I learned from my mom, roasting a prime rib is fairly easy. The key is to have a good meat thermometer and to take it out a little early, since it will continue to cook while it’s resting under an aluminum foil tent. Remove your rib from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 120°, let it rest under a tent for about 20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 130°. If this is “under-cooked” for some of your guests, serve some piping hot aus jus on the side – pouring this over your meat will cook it a little more!

Helpful hints:

  1. Put your order in to your butcher a week in advance (at least!) A lot of people are cooking prime ribs this time of year, so you want to make sure you have one ready for you. Order it cut & tied (cut off the bone, but tied back on) with the fat left on. The bone and the fat – that’s where you get all that juicy flavor. Rule of thumb is one rib per 2 people, so if you’re feeding 6 people order a “three rib Prime Rib, cut & tied, with the fat on.”
  2. Take your rib out of the refrigerator an hour (at least, depending on the size of meat) before cooking so it reaches room temperature.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Prime Rib (mine was 3 rib, about 12 lbs.)
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • kosher salt
  • coarse ground black pepper
  • fresh rosemary

Homemade Horseradish Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated horseradish (I use Gold’s)
  • salt & pepper

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Preheat your oven to 450° and place your prime rib, fat side up, in a deep roasting pan or baking dish. Coat the entire outside of your rib in softened butter and roasted garlic. Generously season with kosher salt, black pepper, and 3 fresh sprigs rosemary.

With your oven rack on the lower third of your oven, put your prime rib in and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce your temperature to 350° and continue to cook for about an hour and 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120°.

 

Remove the prime rib from the oven and immediately cover under a tent of aluminum foil. Let rest for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130° (perfectly medium-rare on the ends and rare directly in the middle.)

Cut the ties, remove from the bone, and slice into generous slabs of beautiful meat for your oh so happy dinner guests. Serve with homemade horseradish sauce and piping hot aus jus.

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Chicken Pot Pie

Happy Humpday! Last night via Instagram stories I shared this easy Chicken Pot Pie in a cast iron skillet with you and I am loving how much you guys are loving it. Head over to the gram if you want to cook along with me step by step 🙂

Monday, my entire house got smacked with our first cold of the season. I don’t know about you guys, but when my family and I are feeling under the weather, there’s nothing better than some comfort food. My favorite thing about this chicken pot pie recipe is that by doing it in the cast iron skillet, it’s a ONE pan meal (A.K.A – ONE DISH! those dirty sons of bitches.) My second favorite thing? It’s actually a lot “lighter” of a recipe than your typical pot pie (okay, minus the biscuits, but those are good for your soul.) There’s no half & half, cream, or condensed soup involved. This is just a few fresh ingredients incorporated with some protein to help get your family back on their feet. There are things to get done and nobody wants to be slowed down!

So whether you’ve caught a cold or you’re just craving a hearty home cooked meal, take a dive into this recipe and you won’t regret it (I promise!)

Chicken Pot Pie 1

Want a printable version? Click here.

Chicken Pot Pie 2

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Cast Iron Chicken Wrapped in Fig Jam, Brie & Prosciutto

It’s like charcuterie for dinner, which automatically means I’m diving face first into it. Along with a bottle of Malbec. After a long work week, I typically don’t mind cooking a nice dinner on Friday nights (I know, weird.) I look at it this way, I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, I get to “sleep in”…so there’s no true pressure to have dinner ready by a certain time in order for the rest of our night time schedule to take place accordingly. Plus, wine. Ah, wine. Ah, Friday night…how I love you both so much. You’re tied for second place, along with my husband.

This probably sounds a little bit more intimidating than it really is. It’s honestly very easy and took under an hour, including both prep & cook time. I served it over a salad consisting of arugula, watercress, shallots and a homemade dressing of garlic, lemon, & olive oil. You don’t need anything too overpowering, since this is a pretty decadent dish in itself.

And just to put it out there, you don’t need a cast iron pan to cook this meal. Simply pre-cook the chicken in a nonstick pan and then transfer to a baking dish/sheet.

Happy Friday, Everyone! Cheers to the weekend…

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thick
  • avocado oil (higher smoke point than olive oil, which makes it perfect for cast iron cooking)
  • garlic
  • dried thyme
  • dried sage
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • finely chopped parsley
  • fig jam
  • brie
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto

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Preheat your oven to 350° and turn your cast iron pan onto high heat. Pound out your chicken breasts to about 1/2″ thick and then slice in half, so you have 4 thin, long strips. Liberally season your chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a small amount of thyme and sage. Reduce the heat to medium and drizzle your cast iron pan with avocado oil and lay your chicken breasts down. Cast iron cooking may create smoke, but it doesn’t necessarily mean your food is burning, just keep peaking at it. Cook each side for about 5 minutes. these chicken strips should be thin, so you do not want to over cook them.

After 10 minutes have passed (5 minutes per side), remove from heat so they can cool.

Cut eight thin slices of brie, two for each piece of chicken. As shown above, lay down two pieces of prosciutto for each one piece of chicken. On top of your prosciutto, lay down your brie and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Spread a thin layer of fig jam on one side of your chicken and lay this side down on your brie. Wrap your prosciutto around the chicken and place back in your cast iron pan, brie side up. Continue for each piece of chicken.

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Place your cast iron pan in the oven and cook for 10 minutes, when brie has melted and prosciutto has started to crisp.

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Plate your chicken on top of a bed of salad or however your heart desires! Delicious served with a side of oven roasted potatoes, too!

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Breaded Pork Chops with Apple Kraut

Jump to Recipe

These babies are a winner. Up until recently I would only eat pork chops if they were coated in Shake n’ Bake, but you could also Shake n’ Bake my hand and I would most likely eat it. It wasn’t until I began getting more creative with my pork chop recipes that I actually started appreciating them. Pork is super versatile, which makes them pretty full proof. I can’t wait to experiment with them more often and share the recipes with all of you!

Another great thing about these pork chops? They’re a reasonably healthy option for your weeknight dinner. Stick with the whole wheat bread crumbs, rather than regular or Shake n’ Bake (I’ve also made homemade Ezekiel bread crumbs that came out amazingI’ll share soon!) The Apple Kraut does have 1 tablespoon of both butter and brown sugar in it, but this recipe also yields 4 large pork chops. So if you portion control, that should only be a 1/4 tablespoon of butter & brown sugar per person. Lastly, fermented foods are great for your gut. They’re full of probiotics that help your digestive system, as well as enzymes that make it easier to break down and absorb nutrients.

I apologize for the lack of photos, but if you head over to my Instagram I made I step-by-step highlights video 🙂

 

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These are our favorite whole wheat bread crumbs. They also have the best macros we could find!

 

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Breaded Pork Chops with Apple Kraut

Tender chops with a perfectly crispy, crunchy crust. Topped with a sweet and savory Apple Kraut. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops

Mustard Coating

  • 1/2 cup hot & sweet mustard I use Black Bear
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper

Crust

  • 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs I use Gia Russa
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • salt & pepper

Apple Kraut

  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 apple chopped
  • 16 oz. sauerkraut
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Pork Chops

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350º and lining a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper. 
  • Place your pork chops one at a time between two piece of parchment paper. Pound until each chop is about 1″ thick.
  • In a shallow dish, add 1 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs, seasonings & parsley. In a separate shallow dish, add 1/2 hot & sweet mustard, honey, egg, and seasonings. Whisk together until combined.
  • One at a time, completely coat each pork chop in the mustard, followed by the bread crumbs. Once coated evenly, transfer to your baking sheet.
  • Bake pork chops for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165º.

Apple Kraut

  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a nonstick frying pan. once melted, add your chopped onions and cook on medium-low heat until translucent. Add your sauerkraut, apples, brown sugar, and seasonings. 
  • Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until it begins to simmer. Slowly pour in your white wine. Continue to let simmer until the wine completely reduces (about 7 minutes). Serve on top of pork chops.