Entertaining can be baffling and very costly – what to make, how much to prepare, and how to present it in a way that says, “This dish fabulous, scrumptious and worthy of a party? You can spend hours on Pinterest finding gorgeous dishes only to find out you can’t find the right ingredient or have the time to make it. Where can you turn for help?
Rachel Hollis comes to the rescue. Her new cookbook Upscale Downhome, Family Recipes, All Gussied Up is here to help. Rachel’s recipes are practical, family-oriented, everyday dishes that are beautifully presented. Her recipes work for weeknight dinners, potlucks, tail gate parties, or showers.
Rachel is a TV/media personality and founder of – TheChicSite.com, a party planning and lifestyle/advice/food website.
Rachel is not afraid to use short cuts like box mixes, canned soups and pre-packaged food to make dinner and entertaining stress-free. If you currently use those things, this cookbook is for you. (Note: Those items won’t be found in my pantry, but that’s my jam.)
Rachel’s food presentation elevates the simplest of dishes into something special. Her tips and tricks prove fabulous hosting doesn’t have to break the clock or the bank.
She creatively puts salads in large cups & saucers, makes desserts in mini mason jars, and jazzes up party drinks with the right accent.
Below is a sample of Rachel’s everyday recipes, which are timesaving, inexpensive, and family-friendly.
“If you are going to take the time to prepare a recipe at home it isn’t ever just a dish, it’s an experience. Whether it’s for twelve people or two, or just you and your cat, the fact that you put effort into the preparation made it something special.” – Rachel Hollis
I recently met Rachel at a Melissa’s Produce media luncheon. Here are a few things we sampled from Upscale Downhome, Family Recipes, All Gussied Up.
BLT Bites pg. 42 & Spicy Corn Dip pg.63
Fresh Green Bean Salad pg.121 & Grandma’s Sweet Tea pg.193
Sticky Ham & Cheese pg.39 & Turkey Chili pg.105
Cookie Pudding Pie pg. 187
This simple recipe can be customized to your personal preference. I prefer to use sour dough bread, freshly made aioli & Romaine lettuce. Turkey bacon or Veggie Bacon is also a good option if you don’t eat pork.
- 1 loaf white bread, unsliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 8 to10 iceberg lettuce leaves, chopped into chunks
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound bacon, cooked until crispy
- Long appetizer toothpicks
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Cut the bread into thick slices, about ½ inch thick, and then cut each slice into small squares. Place the squares onto a baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil on top and toss to fully coat. Spread in an even layer and bake for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise and prepared pesto.
- Spread some of the pesto mixture on top of each bread slice. Layer with lettuce, a cherry tomato, and crispy bacon on each. Skewer with a long toothpick to hold in place, but also to make it easier for your guests to grab. Serve at room temperature.
I really enjoyed reading Rachel’s story in her cookbook and loved her quotes, so I will leave you with one of my favorites.
“It is the greatest measure of respect to prepare a meal for another person.” – Rachel Hollis
…and then, she paused for thought.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was given a copy of “Upscale Downhome” cookbook to cook with and review. All opinions are my own.
Photo credit for cookbook photos: Jonathan Melendez and Courtnee Loren Brown.