On Every Day with Marcus and Lisa - May 8

A Slumber Party with a Whole Lotta' Chocolate!

"Girls' Night" Chocolate Fondue - Two Ways!

"Party on a Tray": Build-Your-Own-Crostini

Super Easy Fruited Chicken Salad Cups

Specialty Sparkling Sodas

Super-Easy Fruited Chicken Salad in a Cup

These simple, individual cups of fruited chicken salad will delight your Girls' Night guests! To keep your prep time to a minimum (and save your energy for your evening), take a short cut by starting with your favorite, store-bought chicken salad. Customize this dish by mixing in a variety of delicious additions. Place a generous scoop of chicken salad into individual short glasses or bowls. Arrange a couple of crispy bread sticks in each dish.

Try any of these yummy additions to your chicken salad:
* Chopped fruit: apples, dried cranberries, strawberries, blueberries, orange segments
* Diced veggies: celery, carrots, onion, avocado
* Toasted nuts

Build-Your-Own Crostini Bar

I call this a "Party on a Tray!" One of the nicest things about it is that it's comprised entirely of "pick up" items from the grocery store. Do I call this "cooking?" Well, no...but that doesn't mean you can't take credit for assembling this Girls' Night All-Star! Be creative with your ingredients. The tray can be prepared in the kitchen and then transported anywhere. I place a tiny vase of fresh flowers and some votive candles directly on the tray. I then arrange the crostini ingredients and let my guests assemble their own delectable creations. You will need the following:

* Purchased or homemade crostini ("crostini" literally means "little toasts" and can be easily made in the oven. Slice a fresh loaf of French or Italian bread into 1/2" slices, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven at 375 degrees until slightly golden, turning once.

* 2 or 3 Cheese selections: Stilton, Brie, Goat Cheese, and cream cheese are great choices.

* Fruit Jam/Preserves or Dried Fruit: pepper jelly, fig preserves, raspberry jam or the flavor of your choice. Dried mango, figs, and cherries are nice.

* Salted Nuts

"Girls Night" Chocolate Fondue - Two Ways

While standard semisweet chocolate chips are acceptable in this recipe, specialty chocolate (chips, bars, or chunks) with 50-65% percent cocoa will give your fondue a heavenly complex flavor. Remember: a double boiler is useful - but not required for this recipe. A tempered glass bowl set over a saucepan with simmering water works perfectly!

12 oz. semisweet chocolate (chips, morsels, or chopped bars)
1 cup heavy cream
2 T. butter
1 t. vanilla

Bring 1-2 inches of water to a simmer in a sauce pan over medium heat. Place double boiler top pan or tempered glass bowl on top of saucepan and add cream, butter and vanilla. Heat mixture until butter is melted and mixture is heated through - not boiling (reduce heat to low). Add chocolate and stir frequently with spoon or whisk until chocolate has melted and is completely incorporated - this doesn't take long. Transfer to fondue pot or small crock pot.

White Chocolate-Caramel Fondue (variation) - Substitute white chocolate for dark chocolate (white candy bark or candy coating is NOT the same thing as white chocolate).
Heat a small jar of caramel sauce and drizzle a generous amount over the white chocolate fondue.