You gotta know when to fold ’em!

For the past two weeks, I have been busy attending trade shows researching new products for the 2012 season.  Yesterday I went to the US Food show…the biggest and baddest food show of the season.  This company goes all out to make their customers feel appreciated.  Not only do you get a chance to taste-test an overwhelming amount of products but you are comped a stay at one of the participating casinos.  This year I was able to stay at Caesar’s.  Not only do you get a comped room, but you get to attend a three-hour cocktail party at the House of Blues.  This is no ordinary cocktail party.  It is three hours of an open bar with buttered hors devours and a great cover band.

Now wait just a second, the night was not over after the House of Blues party.  The gang and I hit up the craps table til the wee hours of the morning.  Here’s a tip that I passed onto someone last night, always play the PASS line (thank you Kylie).  For a small buy-in of ten dollars, you are able to stand around the table and wait to see your money multiply.  For the first time last night I was able to throw the dice on the table.  What an exhilarating feeling as everyone waits to see what you roll!  Though you might crap out the first time without doubling up, just hang in there and see what the next roller throws.  Last night I was able to turn $10 into $80.  The key is to knowing when the going is good and to back out.  My friend made the mistake of continuing to play for another couple of hours and lost everything.  You gotta know when to fold ’em!

Chicken “Winning Pot” Pie

Thursday night I decided to have some friends over for dinner.  As always, Mimi asked me if there was a theme.  So as not to disappoint her, I decided to call it a game night.  We had clams “casino” dip and chicken “winning pot” pie to name a few.  Here are some things to help you plan your own game night.

Top 5 Games

1. Encore (for the Glee wanna-be)

2. Bezzerwizzer

3. Cranium

4. Pyramid

5. Karaoke on Demand (another one for the Glee wanna-be)

Chicken “Winning Pot” Pie adapted from the Casserole Queens

2 tbsp butter

1 rotisserie chicken, boned and shredded

1/4 cup red bell pepper

2 shallots

3 tbsp flour

1 tsp thyme

2 tsp sage

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup white wine

1 cup frozen peas

2 cups carrots, diced and blanched

2 russet potatoes, diced and blanched

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the bell pepper and shallot and cook until tender.  Stir in the flour and spices and cook for a couple minutes.  Add the milk and heavy cream and cook until thickened.  Add the wine and salt and pepper to taste.

2.  Pour sauce into mixing bowl.  Add chicken, peas, carrots, and potatoes and fold together.

3.  Scoop filling into individual crocks (Temptations on QVC makes a great individual crock and even comes with a lid if you serve soup and need to keep it warm for a bit. Check it out on QVC). Top the crock with puff pastry and brush with egg wash.  Salt and pepper the top.  Place the crocks on a cookie sheet.  Cook at 425 for about 25 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling over.  You can prepare the pot pies and keep them in the refrigerator until they are ready to bake which makes it great for dinner parties.