Hi Friends...

If you have noticed, I've been very absent from my blog in recent weeks-months as I worked on a new, better website... where you will be able to find party plans, recipes, wedding advice, and tips for bringing your friends and family together for holidays, celebrations, or just a casual weekend get-together.

For now, as I move and add the recipes and content to the new site, I will leave this blog intact but eventually merge them. The new site is much easier to navigate. You can find party ideas for casual get-togethers and holiday celebrations under the celebrations tab. Ane the new site has a place for all of the "how-to" videos I will begin creating soon.

I'm so excited to take Martie Knows Parties on to the next level... Please tell me what you think!



I have had a little secret for a while now and have been dying to tell you... I'm back on Food Network Star! Season 10 of Food Network Star premiers tonight and I'm part of the Star Salvation online series where I will be competing for another shot at my own show on Food Network!

For the first time in Food Network Star's ten year history, they have invited two former "fan favorites" to compete again. I am so very grateful to my friends and fans for letting Food Network know they still want to see my show on TV! Thank you!!!!

Here is a link to the Food Network site with more information about Star Salvation.

Please join me tonight on Twitter, live tweeting @MARTIEparty  or on Facebook for a live chat during the show at Martie Knows Parties. We will be using the hashtag #starsalvation and #partyarmy to show the network our army of fans want a party show on Food Network!


ON FOOD NETWORK TONIGHT! Guy's Grocery Games at 7C/8E My friend Justin Warner competes against other Food Network Star winners Jeff Mauro, Melissa D'Arabian, and Aarti Sequeria. Then immediately afterwards, I'll make an appearance on the Food Network Star premier. After the show, you can head over to Star Salvation website to see the episode online.

I'm grateful and need your support more now than ever.

Much love always,




I love recipes that can feed a few folks or easily expand to feed an army on the cheap. Well, this is one of those dishes, it is comforting, delicious, so easy to make... best of all, it's so affordable, you can feed a huge crowd for not very much money. Yes, Parmegano-Reggiano is expensive so substitute something else if you must. This is really one of those recipes you will go to time and again. You remember how Bob Tuschman, the head honcho at Food Network said my food was like hot cocoa and warm flannel pajamas? Well, this dish is just that. Get ready to blow the diet; you might eat the whole thing!


Serves 6

Prep: 15

Bake: 1 hour plus 10 minutes


4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick

1 small yellow onion, sliced extremely thin

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese plus 2 tablespoons for the top

3 tablespoons grated Gruyere cheese or any other cheese that melts nicely

1 cups heavy cream

½ cup milk (use low fat or whole, it doesn’t matter. I use 2%)


Preheat oven to 350° F

Slice the potatoes and rinse. Keep them in water until you assemble the dish. Mix the salt, pepper, and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Liberally grease the bottom of a 10 or 12 inch casserole or gratin dish with the butter.

Drain the potatoes. Blot excess moisture with a paper towel. Arrange a layer of potatoes, overlapping them slightly on the bottom of the dish. Season with half of the salt and pepper mixture. Add a very thin layer of onion, do not overlap. Add half of the cheese. Add another layer of potatoes. Season this layer with the remaining salt mixture. Add the remaining cheese on top. There should be at least three layers, ending with the cheese on top. You may have more, depending on the size of the dish you used.

Carefully pour the heavy cream into the dish, taking care not to pour on the top of the cheese so that it goes down into the bottom of the dish.

Bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are very soft, the milk is absorbed and the top is golden brown and delicious. It tastes best if allowed to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.



Have leftover ham after the holiday? Try a deliciously toasty French classic, the Croque Monsieur. Simply said, it is a toasted ham and cheese with Béchamel sauce on the top which is broiled until golden brown. This glamorous sandwich is fantastic party food because you can make a ton of them at one time using a sheet pan or you can slice a loaf lengthwise and make one large sandwich, slicing into wedges to serve. Chez fan-tas-tique!



For 2; simply multiply if you want to make for a crowd

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
4 slices bread- if using sandwich bread, cut the crusts off. I like loaf bread sliced 1 1/2” thick
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
½ cup grated cheese I like Gruyere and Parmesan but use whatever I have
A pinch nutmeg plus ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, and a dash white pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon
2-3 slices of leftover ham, sliced medium thickness 


Preheat the broiler of your oven or toaster oven with the rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with foil. Sit out the milk before using it so it is not super cold.

Put the butter in a pan over a medium-low heat. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of each slice of bread with a bit of melted butter and put under the broiler until golden brown. Set aside.

Next, over medium-low heat, stir the flour into the remaining butter to make a paste. Cook and stir for one minute, then gradually whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until smooth. Simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. You know it is ready when you can draw a line down the back of the spoon with your finger and it stays separated. Remove from the heat. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper; check seasoning.

Spread the untoasted sides of the bread with Dijon, then put the ham on top, followed by the half the cheese. Broil for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and melted.

Top with the other slice of bread. Press down; I use a large spatula for this. Put the sandwiches on to the baking sheet you prepared and top with Béchamel sauce, allowing some to drip over the sides of the bread. Top each with the remaining cheese. Broil for about 5 minutes or until golden and bubbling, and serve immediately.



Living out in the sticks or always being on the road in someone else's kitchen, you would think I'd make sure I had everything I needed BEFORE I started cooking. I'm not sure how many times I need to learn that lesson... BUT if you watched me on Food Network Star, you know I am usually able to come up with something pretty good, even if I originally started out with plans to make a completely different dish. That's what happened yesterday. I planned to make my Mom's pound cake for Easter but as I was already in the middle of creaming the butter, I discovered the cream cheese was waaay past the expiration date. I did however, have some perfectly good ricotta cheese in the fridge so I ended up with a Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake. It was so light, so moist yet a bit fluffy and very good. It was so good, I've already gotten a request for the recipe so I thought I'd share it with all of you, too. This will never replace my Mom's pound cake but I gotta tell you, it is the perfect shower, party or afternoon tea cake. Put it on your list to try!

My Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake is a fluffy, light variation on my Mom's original pound cake recipe. An accident turned delicious!


Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes or until a wooden skewer comes out clean


3 sticks butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature

3 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)

4 whole eggs, room temperature

2 egg whites, room temperature

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp lemon extract

1/8 tsp salt


Juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 cups Confectioners' sugar (plus more if desired)


Preheat oven to 300. Prep two 9 x 5 loaf pans. Grease and flour or spray all sides with Baker's Joy.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the ricotta and beat until combined. Then add the sugar, a little at a time. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Next, add the lemon zest and the eggs, one at a time, beating until they are combined. Add the egg whites and beat until they are just incorporated. Turn the speed on the mixer down. Add the lemon juice. Combine the salt and the flour; adding a little at a time to the mixer until it is blended. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts.

Pour into the prepared pans. Place on a baking sheet and place on center rack of your oven. Bake for 1 hour 20 to 1 hour 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to allow it to cool until just slightly warm before icing.

For the glaze, combine the lemon juice and Confectioners' sugar and whisk; the glaze should be thick and creamy and not too stiff. You should be able to pour it. Add more lemon juice or sugar as necessary to achieve the pourable consistency.

Using a toothpick, poke a few holes into the top of the cake. Pour onto the top of the cake and spread. Allow to cool. Add a second layer if you want a thick glaze.

Serve with berries, whipped cream or any of your favorites.