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37 Recipes for Your Derby Day Buffet

Fill your plate (and your glass) with these Kentucky classics before your favorite horse runs for the roses. Win or lose, here's a Derby Day spread you can bet on!

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Smoked Pimiento Cheese Crostini

Pimiento cheese has long been a favorite in our family, so these bite-sized appetizers are a treat! I add Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce to give them a little kick. Caramelized onions create another layer of flavor. You can make the cheese and onions three to five days in advance; they store well. If you need to save time, you can use premade jalapeno pimiento cheese. —Caitlyn Bunch, Trenton, Georgia
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Mint Julep

It wouldn't be Kentucky Derby Day without this mint julep recipe! But, really, this Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe is good anytime. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Turkey Cordon Bleu with Alfredo Sauce

For our annual Kentucky Derby party I wanted to create a twist on a traditional Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, and my turkey cordon bleu was born. The turkey is tender and flavorful, full of smoky ham and melted cheese, but the crispy bacon really sets the dish off. —Sandy Komisarek, Swanton, Ohio
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Hush Puppies

A fish dinner isn’t complete without a side of hush puppies, and my mom is well-known for this recipe. It's the best! —Mary McGuire, Graham, NC
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Cucumber Canapes

I always get requests for the recipe for these canapes whenever I serve them. They're delicate finger sandwiches with a creamy herb spread and festive red and green garnishes. —Nadine Whittaker, South Plymouth, Massachusetts
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Maple Pecan Tarts

I absolutely love pecans. I combine them with maple and vanilla to create the ultimate tart, made even richer with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. —Redawna Kalynchuk, Barrhead, Alberta
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Benedictine Dip

Benedictine is a creamy spread studded with chopped cucumbers. It was named in honor of Jennie Carter Benedict, a chef and restaurateur from Louisville, Kentucky, who created the condiment at the turn of the 20th century. Originally used for cucumber sandwiches, Benedictine is now commonly enjoyed as a cold dip for chips or spread on crackers. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Mini Hot Browns

Here's my take on the famous Hot Brown sandwich. Guests quickly saddle up for juicy turkey slices and crispy bacon piled on toasted rye bread and then topped with a rich cheese sauce. —Annette Grahl, Midway, Kentucky
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Strawberries & Cream Torte

This festive strawberries and cream summer treat is one of my mom's favorites. It wows guests every time yet is simple to make. —Cathy Branciaroli, Wilmington, Delaware
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Potluck Fried Chicken

This Sunday dinner staple is first fried and then baked to a crispy golden brown. Well seasoned with oregano and sage, this classic is sure to satisfy diners at church potlucks or late-summer picnics. I love fixing it for family and friends. —Donna Kuhaupt, Slinger, Wisconsin
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Southern Pimiento Cheese Spread

A classic southern comfort food, this spread is used as an appetizer with crackers, corn chips or celery. It is also smeared between two slices of white bread for sandwiches and as a topping for hamburgers and hot dogs. —Eileen Balmer, South Bend, Indiana.
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Spicy Shrimp & Crab Cocktail

This seafood starter is so good that it makes me love a food I usually don't—radishes! This recipe also calls for spicy V8, but Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix works just as well. Serve the cocktail straight up, with tortilla chips or on a bed of butter lettuce. —Heidi Knaak, Liberty, Missouri
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Quick Buttermilk Cornbread

The tattered recipe card for this cornbread proves it's been a family favorite for years. It's my daughter's top request. —Judy Sellgren, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Watermelon Cups

This lovely appetizer is almost too pretty to eat! Sweet watermelon cubes hold a refreshing topping that showcases cucumber, red onion and fresh herbs. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Ginger Mint Julep

Mint juleps aren't just for Kentucky Derby day! Enjoy one while gathering with friends for baby shower or luncheon. —Ellen Riley, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Little Pigs in a Hammock

Pigs in a blanket aren’t just for kids! Dijon and Camembert transform this children’s favorite into a version that’s perfect for grown-ups. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Meringue Roses

Eat these pretty treats as is or crush them into a bowl of strawberries and whipped cream. Readers of my blog, utry.it, went nuts when I posted that idea.—Amy Tong, Anaheim, California
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Horseradish Deviled Eggs

People say, "Wow!" when they taste these flavorful, tangy horseradish deviled eggs. The bold combination of ground mustard, dill and horseradish is so appealing. The plate is always emptied whenever I serve these eggs. —Ruth Roth, Linville, North Carolina
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Blue-Ribbon Butter Cake

I found this buttercake recipe in an old cookbook I bought at a garage sale and couldn’t wait to try it. I knew it had been someone’s favorite because of the well-worn page. —Joan Gertz, Palmetto, Florida
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Cucumber Fruit Salsa

Our garden always gives us way more cucumbers and tomatoes than we know what to do with. But we’ve learned how to handle the unexpected with a surprise of our own. This is our pretty, fresh way to use up the bounty. —Anna Davis, Springfield, Missouri
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Quentin’s Peach-Bourbon Wings

My father and husband love bourbon flavor, so I add it to tangy wings baked in peach preserves. Stand back and watch these wings fly. —Christine Winston, Richmond, Virginia
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Black-Eyed Susan

The Kentucky Derby has the mint julep; the Preakness has the black-eyed Susan. The drink is a sunny mix of vodka, rum, and pineapple and orange juices to toast your special events.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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German Beer Cheese Spread

We love recipes inspired by our German heritage. This tangy spread is fantastic served alongside everything, including pretzels and pumpernickel or crackers and sausage. Choose your favorite beer—the flavor really comes through. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida
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Bacon-Pecan Chocolate Truffles

I love eating these truffles the day after I make them, after the full flavor of the bacon comes through. —Sylvia Shankle, Munhall, Pennsylvania
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Corn Spoon Bread

This slow-cooked spoon bread is more tender than corn pudding made in the oven, and the cream cheese is a nice addition. —Tamara Ellefson, Frederic, Wisconsin
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Bourbon-Glazed Ham

Smoky and sweet flavors come through in every bite of this Kentucky-style ham. Since I found this recipe, it’s the only ham I make. —Sue Schiller, Tomahawk, Wisconsin
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Smooth Sweet Tea

A pinch of baking soda eliminates bitterness in this smooth and easy-to-sip tea and it has just the right amount of sugar so it's not overly sweet. —kelseylouise, Taste of Home Community Member
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Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

Cornbread, blueberries and maple syrup give this special dessert a flavor that’s different from any cobbler you’ve had before. I came across the recipe many years ago. —Judy Watson, Tipton, Indiana
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Turkey & Swiss Biscuit Sliders

One of my favorite things to whip up in the kitchen is homemade buttermilk biscuits. Simple sandwiches are a wonderful way to showcase these melt-in-your-mouth treats. —Cindy Esposito, Bloomfield, New Jersey
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Baked Two-Cheese & Bacon Grits

In the South, everyone loves three things: bacon, cheese and grits! After playing around with this recipe, I took it to my first family party as a newlywed, and it was a huge hit. This recipe has become a family tradition that I'm sure will be passed down for generations. —Melissa Rogers, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
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Shrimp Salad Appetizers

This refreshing hors d'oeuvre has gained a big following since a friend shared her family recipe with me. My son says it best: The celery and shrimp are so good together. —Solie Kimble, Kanata, Ontario
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Lemon Chess Pie with Berry Sauce

This is one of those old-fashioned Southern desserts that makes everyone feel good. The easy-as-pie berry sauce gives it color and a tantalizing tang. —April Heaton, Branson, Missouri
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Bourbon Ham Balls

Grandma Nette was the queen of ham ball recipes. I make them salty-sweet with a bourbon and vinegar kick. Serve them alone, in a sandwich or over pasta or rice. —Kimla Carsten, Grand Junction, Colorado
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Ginger-Maple Roasted Pecans

Use these spiced nuts as a snack, in a salad or as a coating for fish. They're a smart ingredient to keep on hand. —Angie Thanopoulos, Arlington Heights, Illinois
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Bourbon Slush

At our holiday parties, Bourbon Slush is definitely a favorite. Have fun experimenting with different teas when you make it. We like black tea, green tea and orange spice. —Darcene Sigler, Louisville, Ohio
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Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

When your friends take a look at this pretty appetizer, they'll know they're at a fantastic party. There's nothing better than nibbling on one of these comforting snacks while watching fall football. They are cheesy, bacony and superb. —Elizabeth Bennett, Mill Creek, Washington
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Bagel Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

I worked in a health club where bagels arrived daily, so I experimented with leftovers. I wasn’t a bread pudding fan until I tried it with bagels. —Kathy Hawkins, Gurnee, Illinois

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