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Recipes: Oscars bash without breaking the bank

Throwing an Oscars party Sunday night but not sure yet what you'll be serving?

Cooking Light magazine chef Allison Fishman served up recipes and ideas on "The Early Show" Friday for an Oscar-themed bash that won't throw your budget into a tizzy!

Print out a 2011 Oscars ballot for your party!
Special Section: Oscars 2011
"Early Show" Recipes Galore!

RECIPES

"The Social Network" Apple Martini

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vodka
1 cup apple juice
1 cup apple liqueur (such as Sour Apple Pucker)
Crushed ice

METHOD:

Combine water and sugar in a glass measuring cup. Microwave at high 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring once; cool. Combine sugar mixture, vodka, juice, and liqueur in a pitcher; stir to combine.

Place crushed ice in a martini shaker. Add vodka mixture to martini shaker in batches; shake well to chill. Strain about 1/2 cup vodka mixture in shaker into each of 10 glasses; repeat procedure with remaining vodka mixture, refilling ice as necessary. Serve immediately.

"Toy Story 3" Mac n' Cheese

INGREDIENTS:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
Cooking spray
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt; stir until cheeses melt. Discard bay leaf.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes or until almost tender, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to cheese mixture, stirring well. Place about 1/2 cup pasta mixture into each of 6 (1-cup) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. Top evenly with remaining pasta mixture. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Spray lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle with black pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until heated.

"The King's Speech" Tea Sandwiches

Bacon & Cheddar

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese
5 tablespoons block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
3 1/2 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
1 1/4 teaspoons hot sauce
3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
12 (1-ounce) slices country white bread, crusts removed

METHOD:

Combine all ingredients except the bread, stirring well.

Spread 3 tablespoons cheese mixture on each of 6 bread slices; top with remaining bread slices. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally; cut each half diagonally again to form 4 wedges.

Cucumber with Mint-Chile

INGREDIENTS:

6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
12 (1-ounce) slices white sandwich bread
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

METHOD:

Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring until well combined.

Trim crusts from bread; discard crusts. Spread each bread slice with about 1 1/2 teaspoons butter mixture. Place cucumber in a small bowl, and drizzle with lime juice; toss to coat. Arrange cucumber slices in an even layer over buttered sides of 6 bread slices; top with remaining bread slices, buttered side down. Cut sandwiches diagonally into quarters.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

"The Fighter" Boston Cream Pie

INGREDIENTS:

Cake:

Cooking spray
2 teaspoons cake flour
5 ounces sifted cake flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup 1 percent low-fat milk
2 large egg whites
3 tablespoons granulated sugar Filling:

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons 1 percent low-fat milk
1/3 cup egg substitute
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:

2 ounces dark chocolate
2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur)

METHOD:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To prepare cake, coat bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Dust with 2 teaspoons cake flour; set aside.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon 5 ounces (about 1 1/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and egg, beating until well blended. Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

4. Place egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy using clean, dry beaters. Gradually add 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg white mixture into batter; pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350���° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; run a knife around outside edge. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

5. To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk and egg substitute to pan, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until thick. Remove from heat; stir in 1 tablespoon butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl until custard cools to room temperature (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.

6. To prepare glaze, place chocolate and 2 tablespoons milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 20 seconds or until chocolate melts. Add powdered sugar and liqueur, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

7. Split cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife; place bottom layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread cooled filling evenly over bottom layer; top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Spread glaze evenly over top cake layer.

White & "Black Swan"-Striped Cookies

Cutting and stacking the dough creates alternating stripes of vanilla and chocolate pieces. For pinwheel variation, stack the two (12 x 8-inch) dough rectangles on top of each other, and roll up into a 12-inch-long cylinder as if you're making cinnamon rolls. Chill the roll before slicing.

INGREDIENTS:

Vanilla dough: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ice water

Chocolate dough:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 1/3 ounces)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ice water

METHOD:

To prepare vanilla dough, lightly spoon 1 1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Place 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 egg yolk in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ice water over surface of dough; beat just until moist. (Dough will be slightly crumbly.) Press dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover and chill 1 hour or until firm.

To prepare chocolate dough, lightly spoon 3/4 cup flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 3/4 cup flour, cocoa, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Place 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 egg yolk in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Gradually add cocoa mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons ice water over surface of dough; beat just until moist. Press dough into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap; cover and chill 1 hour or until firm.

Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap and place chilled vanilla dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can easily be removed. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap.

Slightly overlap 2 sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp surface. Unwrap and place chilled chocolate dough on plastic wrap. Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle. Place dough in freezer 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can easily be removed. Remove top sheets of plastic wrap.

Place vanilla dough on top of chocolate dough, plastic wrap side up. Remove plastic wrap from vanilla dough; turn dough over onto a lightly floured surface. Remove plastic wrap from chocolate dough. Cut dough stack in half crosswise to form 2 (8 x 6-inch) rectangles. Stack one rectangle on top of the other, alternating vanilla and chocolate doughs; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze 10 minutes or until firm and plastic wrap can easily be removed.

Cut the dough crosswise into 6 (6 x 1 1/3-inch) strips. Stack 2 strips on top of each other to form a stack, alternating vanilla and chocolate to form a striped pattern; wrap in plastic wrap, pressing gently. Repeat procedure with remaining 4 strips to form 2 stacks (there will be 3 stacks total). Chill 30 minutes or until very firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Working with 1 stack at a time, unwrap dough. Carefully slice each stack into 12 slices. Place dough slices 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

Red Velvet Carpet Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes: Cooking spray
10 ounce cake flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups nonfat buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring (about 1 ounce) Frosting: 5 tablespoons butter, softened
4 teaspoons nonfat buttermilk
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (about 1 pound)
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

METHOD:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To prepare the cupcakes, place 30 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat with cooking spray.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon cake flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine cake flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and unsalted butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and 1 1/4 cups nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add white vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and food coloring; beat well.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire racks.

5. To prepare frosting, beat 5 tablespoons butter, 4 teaspoons nonfat buttermilk, and cream cheese with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar; beat until smooth. Add 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla; beat well. Spread frosting evenly over cupcakes.