REUNIONS AND BASKETBALL


What do reunions and basketball have in common?  Absolutely nothing!  But let me explain my thought process with this title.

Dave’s high school reunion was last year and after much back and forth deciding whether to go, he and 3 of his best friends from high school decided to forego the big group reunion and travel to our home on Amelia Island to celebrate.  We decided a smaller group would be much more fun and intimate.

The four guys, best friends throughout middle and high school,  with their wives arrived last week.  They attended Huntington High School in Huntington NY on Long Island.  It didn’t take long for the antics, jokes and conversations to make us all feel right at home, even after all the years.  Reconnecting with old friends is so invigorating!

Ron and Karen Risch, Rob and Susan Edson, Dave and Karen Raskin,  and Dave and Kathy Miller had such a grand time.

Huntington Guys at the beach photo by Kathy Miller

Huntington guys on the marsh photo by Kathy Miller

Now on to the basketball part of this story.  All of us are college basketball fans and March Madness time of the year is the best.  Favorite schools among those of us gathered include Duke, UNC, Tennessee, Indiana, NC State, Georgetown, Georgia…and none of these teams made it to the Elite 8 in fact a few of these schools didn’t make the NCAA tournament.

Since I usually post recipes from schools represented in March Madness, I decided to share a few of the recipes we enjoyed during our reunion on Amelia.

First up on the agenda, dinner at our home including 2 of Dave’s sisters, a brother in law, who knew the boys from Huntington and Carrie and James.

Dave Raskin makes a wonderful Manhattan…He calls it his French Manhattan.  This was the hit of the week!

French Manhattan by Dave Raskin

Enjoy this video with Dave!

Ingredients

  • 2.0 oz. bourbon whiskey
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth (like Antica)
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • splash of Grand Marnier
  • 1-2 Luxardo maraschino cherries

Instructions

  1. Place bourbon in cocktail shaker
  2. Add sweet vermouth
  3. Add Grand Marnier
  4. Add bitters
  5. Add ice
  6. Stir a manhattan, you do not shake.  If using a shaker swirl to mix and let sit a few seconds to chill.
  7. Add 1-2 cheeries...Essential....Use Luxardo cherries.
  8. Pour in martini glass and enjoy.

Kathy's Comments

The Luxardo cherries are a must!  Stir don't shake...the Grand Marnier gives it a French twist...We used bourbon, but rye can be substituted.

Dave Raskin By KathyMillerTime

KathyMillerTime

Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

A new guacamole appetizer from Jane was a treat…the feta cheese gives it a nice twist.  This would be perfect for a Final Four viewing party!

AVOCADO AND FETA SALSA

Avocado and feta salsa photo by Kathy Miller

Ingredients

  • 3 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
  • 3 avocados chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 red onion diced ( I use vidalia)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1  tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces Feta cheese crumbled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Gently combine all ingredients.
  2. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
  3. Serve with chips

Kathy's Comments

I sprinkled a few tomatoes and jalapeno slices for color and a kick.

Jane MacDonald By KathyMillerTime

KathyMillerTime

Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

As usual I decided to rely on my very favorite dinner entree…a VIP dinner

CHICKEN FLORENTINE LASAGNA

Chicken Florentine Lasagna 2 photo by Susan Scarborough

Ingredients

  • 6 lasagna noodles, uncooked
  • 1 (10-12 ounce) package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and pressed dry between paper towels.
  • Sometimes I add more spinach.
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken. ( I use a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the Topping

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Drain thawed spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible, using paper towels.
  3. Combine spinach, chicken and next 11 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well.
  4. Arrange 2 noodles in a lightly greased large rectangular baking dish.
  5. Spread 1/3  of chicken mixture over noodles.
  6. Layer 2 noodles on top and spread with 1/3 chicken mixture.
  7. Repeat with last 2 noodles and chicken mixture.
  8. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and Butter- Pecan topping.

For the Topping

  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add pecans and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Cool completely.
  4. Sprinkle on casserole over parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until hot and bubbly
  6. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting.

Notes

This is delicious and a crowd pleaser. It is wonderful as a tailgating main course. To keep warm at a tailgate, cut and wrap in foil. Transport with a Pyrex microwaveable Hot Pack in a Pyrex Portable Container.

By KathyMillerTime

KathyMillerTime

Recipe Printed from www.kathymillertime.com

As I was reflecting on all our conversations, enjoying the laughs, jokes and wisecracks, I had a general feeling of well being…old friends getting together at the right time in the right place…with 4 men who were the best of friends in high school…with their wives who thoroughly enjoyed seeing them together just like old times.

Huntington guys and dolls photo by Kathy Miller

The group at The Palace oldest saloon in Florida

We plan on doing this more often…where to next?

Now on to the Final Four and an unusual mixture of teams…Highest seed is UCONN at #4 with Miami at #5.  FAU #9 takes on San Diego St. #5.  Bet lots of brackets have exploded!

Come celebrate with me.  I’ll save you a seat at the table

6 Comments

  • Dave Raskin says:

    The hospitality (and artwork) at the Miller household is off the charts. I can’t remember having more fun and delicious food. If you haven’t tasted the Lasagna Florentine you are missing something. And the guacamole is like an addictive drug. Thanks Kathy and Dave for showing us a great time on Amelia Island. Love, Dave R

    • Kathy Miller says:

      Thank you Dave for your comment and your spectacular French Manhattan! What a fine time we had! Look forward to many more reunions. And that Chicken Florentine Lasagna is my go to recipe. It’s the pecans on top that makes it special 🧡🤠

  • RuthAnne Hicks says:

    Love this story and your recipes!

  • Bob says:

    Sounds so much fun!

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