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Party Plan: Run for the Roses

Celebrate the most exciting two minutes in sports with this party plan!

Horse racing is a much-loved and time-honored Kentucky tradition. And to celebrate just like they do in the Bluegrass state, we’ve got a party plan with cocktails, food favorites and plenty of fun. Giddyup!

You’ve gotta have tasty beverages on hand, and we’ve got just the thing: Ginger Mint Juleps and Strawberry Filly Lily cocktails. For best results, wear your favorite hat and serve ice cold!

Finger food is the order of the day. Bourbon Pork Tenderloin Sliders will disappear faster than you can say “and down the stretch they come!”, while Hot Brown Pizza is a fun, tasty take on the iconic Kentucky sandwich. Cayenne Spiced Pecans are an easy-to-make treat that can be snacked on by the handful, while Chocolate-Walnut Derby Bars can satisfy any guest’s sweet tooth.

Decorate your table just like a champion thoroughbred by Crowning the Table with Roses. And for all your little ones who want to join in the celebration, we’ve got party games – just check out Galloping Towards Victory. However you celebrate, for one day your house will feel like “My Old Kentucky Home!”

Bourbon Pork Tenderloin Sliders

Bourbon Pork Tenderloin Sliders

Bourbon adds the perfect touch of savory flavor to the smoky marinade in this recipe. Pineapple provides a touch of sweetness to complete it.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 45 min. | Serves: 24 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup Jim Beam® Bourbon
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 2 pork tenderloins (about ¾ lb. each)
  • 24 small Hawaiian dinner rolls, sliced
  • 24 thin slices fresh pineapple, about 2” wide
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
Directions:
  1. In heavy-duty resealable bag, combine bourbon, brown sugar, vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic and chili powder. Add tenderloin; seal. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 12 hours.
  2. Heat gas or charcoal grill. Remove pork from marinade; discard marinade. Place pork on grill rack over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 18-22 minutes, turning several times, until pork has slight blush of pink in center and meat thermometer inserted in center reads 145°F. Let stand 3 minutes.
  3. Slice pork into ¼” slices. Divide among buns; top with barbecue sauce, pineapple slices and tops of buns. Serve immediately.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers.

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Ginger Mint Julep

Ginger Mint Julep

This variation on a traditional mint julep adds just the right amount of ginger-zing.

Hands-on Time: 5 min. | Total Time: 1 hour 30 min. | Serves: 1 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
Ginger Syrup
  • ¾ cup water
  • ½ cup fresh ginger, sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
Ginger Mint Julep
  • 4-6 mint leaves
  • ½ oz. ginger syrup
  • Crushed ice
  • 2 oz. Jim Beam® Bourbon
  • Mint sprig
Directions:
  1. In 1-quart saucepan, heat water, ginger and sugar over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Strain syrup through mesh strainer. Refrigerate until cold.
  3. For each ginger mint julep, in julep cup or 10- to 12-ounce glass, muddle mint leaves in ginger syrup.
  4. Add crushed ice and pour bourbon over ice. Stir at least 30 seconds to frost glass and mix ingredients. Garnish with additional mint. Serve immediately.

Drink responsibly.

Variation: For a sparkling ginger mint julep, make as directed, except use 1½ ounces bourbon. Fill glass ¾ full of ice; stir. Top off with sparkling water.

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Strawberry Filly Lily

Strawberry Filly Lily

Inspired by the Kentucky Oaks, this cocktail is worth taking the day off to enjoy with the races!

Hands-on Time: 5 min. | Total Time: 5 min. | Serves: 5 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 package (10 oz.) frozen strawberry halves in syrup, thawed
  • 12 oz. white cranberry juice
  • 8 oz. Grey Goose® Vodka
  • 4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • Crushed ice
  • Orange wedges
  • Stemmed cherries
Directions:
  1. Place strawberries with syrup in blender container. Blend 30 seconds to 1 minute or until pureed. Strain strawberries through a mesh strainer into 1- to 1½-quart pitcher. Discard seeds.
  2. Stir in cranberry juice, vodka, lemon juice and triple sec. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. For each drink, fill 10-ounce stemless wine glass with crushed ice. Pour about 5 ounces strawberry mixture into each glass.
  4. Garnish with orange wedge and cherry. Serve immediately.

Drink responsibly.

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Roasted Tomato-Bourbon Jam

Roasted Tomato-Bourbon Jam

Bourbon, tomatoes and jam? It’s a combination you’ve gotta try. This savory spread pairs nicely with cheese and many types of meat, poultry and fish.

Hands-on Time: 20 min. | Total Time: 2 hours | Serves: 22 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 3 lbs. Roma tomatoes, cut into ¼” slices
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into ¼” slices
  • 2 bulbs garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Jim Beam® Bourbon
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ⅛-¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place oven racks in upper third and lower third of oven. Line 2 large rimmed baking pans with foil. Place tomato slices on one pan and onion slices on the other.
  2. Remove loose skin from around each bulb of garlic. Cut ¼”-½” from top of each bulb. Place cut side up on 12” square of aluminum foil. Drizzle each bulb with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap in foil. Place on baking sheet with onion. Drizzle remaining oil over onion.
  3. Roast garlic 30 minutes or until tender; remove from oven. Roast onion about 45 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway through roasting. Roast tomatoes up to 2 hours or until very tender and starting to brown. Rotate baking pans between top and bottom racks every 15 minutes.
  4. In bowl of food processor, pulse onion and garlic until coarsely chopped. Add tomatoes; pulse until blended but still slightly chunky. Transfer to 2-quart saucepan.
  5. Stir in remaining ingredients; simmer 5-10 minutes or until thick. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. Cover and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

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Orange Buttercream Bourbon Balls

Orange Buttercream Bourbon Balls

If you like Old Fashioned cocktails, you’ll love these bourbon balls. With angostura bitters and a bit of orange, it’s a cocktail in candy form!

Hands-on Time: 50 min. | Total Time: 3 hours 50 min. | Serves: 42 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • ½ cup ground pecans
  • 3 Tbsp. Jim Beam® Bourbon
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ tsp. orange zest
  • ¼ tsp. angostura bitters
  • 1 box (1 lb.) powdered sugar (3¾ cups)
  • 2 packages (10 oz. each) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp. shortening
  • Ground pecans
Directions:
  1. In small bowl, stir together ½ cup ground pecans and the bourbon; let soak 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat butter, orange zest and bitters on low speed until blended. Beat in pecan mixture. Gradually beat in powdered sugar on medium speed until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to shape into balls.
  3. Shape into 1” balls. Place on cookie sheet. Freeze at least 2 hours or until very firm.
  4. In medium microwaveable bowl, heat bittersweet chips and shortening on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 15-second intervals, stirring vigorously after each interval, until chips are melted.
  5. Line rimmed baking pan with waxed paper. Dip each ball into chocolate; remove with fork, allowing excess chocolate to drip through tines of fork. Place on pan; sprinkle with additional ground pecans.
  6. Cover and store at room temperature up to 5 days or freeze up to 1 month.

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Hot Brown Pizza

Hot Brown Pizza

The Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich can be reinvented in so many ways, but the basics of cheese sauce, turkey and toasted goodness must not be tampered with!

Hands-on Time: 25 min. | Total Time: 40 min. | Serves: 8 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
Caramelized Onion
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • 1 sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
Cheese Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Pizza
  • 1 package (14 oz.) prepared pizza crust
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 6 oz. sliced deli turkey, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • ½ cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
  1. In 10” nonstick skillet, melt the 2 teaspoons butter over medium-low heat. Cook onion 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized; remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper; cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk; heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted and smooth.
  3. Heat oven to 425°F. Spread cheese sauce to within ½” of edge of pizza crust; sprinkle with paprika. Top with onion, turkey, the ½ cup cheddar cheese, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown. Sprinkle with bacon and parsley.
  5. Cut into 8 wedges.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.

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Pimento Cheese Mini Quiches

Pimento Cheese Mini Quiches

Serve these little quiches as a small bite at brunch or as an appetizer at a cocktail party.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 45 min. | Serves: 24 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 1 box (14.1 oz.) refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • ½ cup pimento cheese
  • ¼ cup ham, finely diced
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. chives, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove pie crusts from pouches. Unfold crusts; press out fold lines. With 2½” round cutter, cut crusts into 24 rounds. Press each round into ungreased miniature muffin cup.
  2. Spoon 1 teaspoon pimento cheese into each crust. Divide diced ham evenly over cheese.
  3. In medium bowl, whisk cream, eggs, chives, salt and pepper. Divide mixture among muffin cups.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown around edges. Serve warm or cool.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.

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Chocolate Walnut Derby Bars

Chocolate Walnut Derby Bars

What’s better than a bourbon-spiked walnut bar? Adding chocolate, of course. Use nonstick foil to line the pan for easy release and clean cutting.

Hands-on Time: 15 min. | Total Time: 1 hour 50 min. | Serves: 48 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
Crust
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. Jim Beam® Bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp. water
Filling
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. Jim Beam® Bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line 13”x9” baking pan with nonstick foil or spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, granulated sugar and salt. Cut in butter, using pastry blender or two knives, until particles are size of small peas. Add 3 tablespoons bourbon and water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1-2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
  3. Press dough into pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until top is dry and beginning to brown.
  4. In large bowl, mix eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, the 2 tablespoons butter, the vanilla and the ¼ teaspoon salt with whisk until blended. Pour filling into partially baked crust. Sprinkle with walnuts and chocolate chips.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until filling is set. Cool 1 hour. Cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.

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Sausage and Cheesy Grits Casserole

Sausage and Cheesy Grits Casserole

Do you love cheesy grits? Then surprise your family and friends with this tasty brunch casserole. Use red, yellow or orange bell peppers for added color.

Hands-on Time: 35 min. | Total Time: 1 hour 15 min. | Serves: 15 | Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups quick-cooking grits
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 packages (6.4 oz. each) heat-and-serve sausage links, cut into ½” pieces
  • ¼ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onion
Directions:
  1. Butter or spray 13”x9” baking dish. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. In 12” nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir onion, pepper, celery and garlic in butter 10 minutes or until softened and beginning to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, in 4-quart saucepan, heat water, milk and salt to boiling. Slowly stir in grits. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. In medium bowl, whisk sour cream and eggs. Gradually stir about 1 cup grits into egg mixture to temper eggs. Then stir egg mixture into remaining grit mixture. Stir in onion mixture, sausage and cheese.
  5. Spoon into baking dish. Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until set and beginning to brown. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 5 rows by 3 rows. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and green onion.

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Cayenne Spiced Pecans

Cayenne Spiced Pecans

Sweet and sassy…and quick and easy. These supremely snackable pecans can be made in less than 30 minutes!

Hands-on Time: 5 min. | Total Time: 20 min. | Serves: 16 | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups pecan halves (about 16 oz.)
  • 4 Tbsp. water
Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking pan with parchment paper or silicone liner.
  2. In large bowl, stir together powdered sugar, cumin, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir in pecans and sprinkle water over pecan mixture. Stir until sugar is glazed on pecans (add 1-2 teaspoons additional water, if necessary).
  3. Place pecans in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until sugar mixture is dry. Remove parchment and pecans from pan to cooling rack. Cool.
  4. Store in airtight container up to 1 week.

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Galloping Toward Victory

Galloping Toward Victory

Come Derby Day, get your little ones into the competitive spirit (and exercise their seemingly endless energy) in this race to the finish!

Gather the kids at your party to talk about the world-famous horse race you’re celebrating. Have a list of names of the horses racing and share how trainers and jockeys work hard to get their horses race-ready. Tell your young guests that they, too, have an opportunity to race today.

Encourage each child to come up with a winning race name (Quicksilver or Champion, anyone?). Provide cardstock, a hole punch, ribbons and markers so they can design their own racing tags. Next, set a Start and Finish line, the difficulty of your course determined by the age of your racers. The really little ones might just run a straight line; slightly older kids might enjoy a larger oval-shaped course that they lap a few times similar to a Derby race.

On the Start command, your racers can take off at a gallop (the little ones might enjoy “trotting” on all fours, truly getting into the spirit of horse-racing) and hit the Finish line as quickly as possible. To the first across that Finish line: A lei of red flowers resembling the crown of roses won in the Kentucky Derby. Kid-friendly prizes such as candy, small toys, trophies and medals could be awarded as well. Other prize categories could include Best-Named Horse, Best Sportsmanship, Most Stylish and any other fun awards you think up.

Add extra challenge to the race by giving each racer a horseshoe at the Finish, where a post is set up for ringing that horseshoe. Extra points for making the toss!

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Crowning the Table with Roses

Crowning the Table with Roses

The Kentucky Derby is also known as the “Run for the Roses” because of the garland of 554 red roses draped over the winning horse. (Fun fact: Kroger has made this garland for the Derby since 1987!)

This garland is adorned with a “crown” of roses, green fern and a ribbon. The crown bears a single rose pointing upward in the center of the garland, symbolizing the struggle and heart needed to reach that sought-after winner’s circle. Bring this rich Derby Day history to your table with a rose-themed centerpiece.

Things You'll Need:
  • Scissors
  • Green tissue paper
  • Cake plate
  • About 18 roses
  • Hot glue
  • Moss
  • Floral foam (round) or Styrofoam
  • Red ribbon
  • Toy horse (choose a size that will fit nicely in the center of your cake plate)
Directions:
  1. Use a floral foam round or Styrofoam form that is slightly smaller than your cake plate.
  2. Affix to cake plate with hot glue or tacky wax.
  3. Cover foam with moss (spraying moss with water makes it easier to work with).
  4. Cut roses, leaving 2-4” of stem that can be poked into the foam, arranging around perimeter of cake plate. Reserve a few leaf stems for decorating.
  5. Lay the ribbon over the toy horse’s back to resemble that winner’s garland. Stand the horse in the center of cake plate, attaching with glue if needed.

View Party Plan: Run for the Roses

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