Easy Party Recipes and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Generally speaking, I'm not much for contests. I just don't have a strong competitive nature or desire for titles! But after I was contacted by Saucy Mama to participate in the "I'm a Saucy Mama" contest, offering bottles of all their wonderful products to work with, and the chance at a cash prize...I gave in. Always a sucker for cash!

The goal of this contest was to create crowd-pleasing party recipes. As someone who throws parties--and often on short notice--I know the importance of having easy recipes that look and taste great, but don't take a lot of time.

I couldn't decide on one product...so I tried them all in a variety of recipes. My focus was to develop user-friendly recipes, and let the flavor of the Saucy Mama product shine through! That's what makes Saucy Mama products so fantastic. With just a few extra ingredients, you can pull together simple dishes that are FLAVA-LICIOUS and easy on the eyes!

With an extended dining table full of taste-testers, I threw my hard-core competitors into their first challenge. The dishes contended well, with only a few minor tweaks needed for their next battle. The Chipotle Aioli with Steamed Artichokes was MY personal favorite. Yet, the taste-testers all had varied opinions, so who knows!

Saucy Mama offered another set of wonderful sauces to use for a Blog Giveway! One winner will receive Saucy Mama's: Sweet Onion Marinade, Hot Wing Sauce, Lime Chipotle Marinade, Cracked Pepper Marinade, Chipotle Mustard, and Jalapeno Stuffed Olives! Guidelines at the end of the post...

Without further adieu, I offer you my entries.

Chipotle Aioli with Steamed Artichokes

This aioli (Provencal-style dipping sauce) was made with Saucy Mama Chipotle Mustard. It is fabulously addictive, and perfect for nearly ANY party food including: oven fries, plantain chips, raw veggies, and crostini. My favorite way to eat it is with steamed artichoke leaves!

2 tablespoons Saucy Mama Chipotle Mustard
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground pepper

2-4 large artichokes
Half a lemon

Set a steam basket over a large stock pot filled with 2 cups of water. Cover and place over high heat.

To trim the artichokes: Cut the stems off the artichokes. Then cut about 1 inch off the tops of each. Pull any rough or loose leaves off the bottom. Using kitchen shears, cut the tips off of every leaf around each artichoke.

Rub the artichokes with a half of a lemon so the cut edges don’t brown. Place them in the steam basket and cover for one hour—or until the leaves are tender and pull off easily. You may need to add extra water half way through!

Meanwhile, mix the Chipotle Mustard with mayonnaise, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.

To eat: Pull the artichokes leaves off, and dip them into the aioli. Use your teeth to scrape the “meat” off each leaf, then discard the rest!

Spicy Olive “Pate”

This olive and almond spread is a wonderful topper from thin bruschetta slices, but can also be served with crackers or endive leaves! Its bright nutty essence is perfectly complemented by Saucy Mama’s briny Jalapeno Stuffed Olives!

1- 5 oz. jar of Saucy Mama Jalapeno Stuffed Olives
1 cup toasted almonds
1 small garlic clove
3 tablespoons olive oil
The zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon parsley

To toast the almonds: Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes—or until the color in slightly darker and you can smell the almonds!

Place all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until the desired texture is reached. We liked it rather smooth. Serve with baguette slices, crackers or endive leaves!

This could also be chopped by hand for a rougher, tapenade-style spread.

Cracked Pepper Stuffed Mushrooms

A quick and easy stuffed mushroom recipe that is flavor-packed and filling!

12 oz. of crimini or button mushrooms
12 oz. pork sausage
1/3 cup Saucy Mama’s Cracked Pepper Marinade
2 tablespoons honey
*Garnish with chives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the stems from the mushroom caps and place the caps in a rimmed baking dish. Fill each cap with pork sausage and shape into a tight mound. Mix 1/3 cup of Saucy Mama Cracked Pepper Marinade with 2 tablespoons of honey. Brush over the tops of the stuffed mushrooms, reserving half the mixture. Bake for 10 minutes. Brush the caps with marinade again and bake another 6-8 minutes.

Garnish with fresh cut chives and serve warm!

Hot Knots with Sweet Onion Dip

This party snack will disappear in moments! Spicy dough knots are fantastic on their own, but can be enhanced (and tamed) with sweet onion dip made with Saucy Mama’s Sweet Onion Marinade!

1 lb. store-bought refrigerated pizza dough (usually in the deli section)
½ cup Saucy Mama’s Hot Wing Sauce
¼ cup brown sugar

Sweet Onion Dip:
½ cup Saucy Mama’s Sweet Onion Marinade
¾ cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the pizza dough out on a floured work surface. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut strips of dough that are approximate ¾ inch wide and 4 inches long. With your hands, roll each strip on the floured surface until it’s about 6 inches long. Then quickly tie into a loose knot. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Mix ½ cup of Saucy Mama’s Hot Wing Sauce with ¼ cup of brown sugar. Brush the mixture over the dough knots, covering them completely. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the Sweet Onion Marinade with ¾ cup sour cream. Serve the Hot Knots warm with the Sweet Onion Dip on the side!

If you want to make your own pizza dough click here!

Chipotle Black Bean Salsa

This super quick and FRESH salsa is sure to be a party favorite with mango, avocado and Saucy Mama’s Lime Chipotle Marinade!

1- 15 oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
¼ cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
¼ cup Saucy Mama’s Lime Chipotle Marinade
Salt and Pepper to taste

Tortilla chips or endive leaves for dipping

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste!

Saucy Mama GIVEAWAY!

To enter:
1. Subscribe to A SPICY PERSPECTIVE by RSS, Facebook, Twitter, or Email.
2. Leave a comment telling me how you subscribed.

*All participants MUST live in the continental U.S. and have a permanent address (No PO Boxes, please!)
*Readers may enter until 12 noon (EST) on September 25th, 2010.
*A winner will be selected by random drawing and announced in an evening post September 26th.
*Once selected, the winner will need to provide a shipping address to receive their winnings!
*If a winner does not respond by September 30th, 2010, a new winner will be selected.

That's it! Make sure to SUBSCRIBE and leave a comment!