A birthday party spread, ala Giada De Laurentiis

So there’s this cute guy that I know…

Photo: Katie Stoops

…and he just so happens to have a birthday coming up this Monday!! I decided to make an extra long weekend of it by taking off from work both today and Monday so that we could have ample time to celebrate. John has to work today but should be getting home in just a few hours, so in the meantime I’m hanging out in the kitchen whipping up a party-worthy spread for us to feast on throughout our lazy days to come.

I’ve got some pretty elaborate things that I want to put together, but that has yet to get the finishing touches. Stay tuned next week for the final look – You don’t want to miss it. (HINT: There’s a pretty spectacular banner involved…A replica of which juuuuuuuust might be made available to YOU ALL in the form of a giveaway – Like I said you don’t want to miss it)

So what are we serving up as munchies? I’m taking a cue from the oh-so-lovely, oh-so-talented Giada (that is, De Laurentiis, of course) and recreating her recipes for Turkey and Spinach Taquitos and Parmesan Lavash Chips with Creamy Tomato-Basil Dip. I can’t wait to try out these hand-held, simple snacks along with some flag-topped birthday pastries.

These you DEFINITELY want to try at home…

Turkey and Spinach Taquitos

6 to 8 servings

Vegetable oil cooking spray
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 packed cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup mascarpone, at room temperature (8 ounces)
Eighteen 6 ½-inch-diameter extra-thin or regular corn tortillas
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup shredded white or extra sharp cheddar (4 ounces)


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Spray a heavy nonstick baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Cook the onions, salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the turkey and cumin. Cook until the turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the beans. Mash the beans until smooth, using a fork. Stir in the mascarpone. Place a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush each side of the tortillas with olive oil. Cook the tortillas in batches until warm, about 30 seconds. Spoon about ¼ cup of the filling into each tortilla and roll up into a cigar shape. Place the tortillas, seam-side-down, on the baking sheet and sprinkle with cheddar. Bake until the cheddar is melted and the tortillas are crisp and golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and serve with salsa and guacamole.

Parmesan Lavash Chips with Creamy Tomato-Basil Dip

4 to 6 servings

2 (9-by-12-inch) whole wheat lavash breads
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup tomato-basil sauce
¼ cup (2 ounces) creamy gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside. Using a pastry brush, brush the breads with oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Cut each bread into 32 triangles and arrange in a single layer, cheese-side-up, on 2 baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until light golden.
In a medium saucepan, bring the tomato-basil sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the mascarpone cheese and gorgonzola cheese until incorporated. Pour the dip into a serving bowl and serve the chips alongside.

Have a great weekend!!

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