Sunday, January 20, 2013

Do: Chicken & Pasta Dinner Party

Another successful dinner party completed! This was the "meet the long distance boyfriend" event, and I am happy to say all went well. Everyone liked my love (of course), and at least we got drunk. I put the menu together myself and was pretty proud of the results, so I wanted to share in case you have a dinner party or want something to bring to a party in the future. As a bonus, everyone loved it and it was dairy free for me, vegetarian, can be made gluten free for others (which I happened to do for a friend with allergies), and even your Paleo friends will be satisfied. 

The Appetizers
I wasn't particularly creative here, just did a sausage and brie plate with a baguette. Plus some pita crackers with hummus and two Trader Joe's warm appetizer bites. I kept this part simple so I could focus on getting everything else out and ready on time for the party. 

The Entrees

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Pasta
This is originally from Bon Appetit, which means FANCY, but I got it from the Smitten Kitchen blog here. A super easy and fresh tasting side dish or main entree for your vegetarian friends. A huge hit!

Roast Chicken
So I just went for it here, it was a last minute addition when my brother told me he had gone Paleo and I realized...pasta wasn't really enough for everyone anyway. Good thing is, roasting a chicken is SO SO easy and kind of fool proof. Plus everyone is impressed. I followed my memory mixed with the Barefoot Contessas recipe here. However, I don't coat my bird with butter like she does, I use olive oil instead.

There was also a fresh salad I topped with avocado for everyone as well.

The Dessert
Apple pie and berry pie. NO I did not make them myself, keeping with my "keep it simple" theme, my focus was on the main entrees so I cut corners in the appetizer and dessert area. However, I did get yummy more expensive pies from Trader Joe's, instead of just any ol brand from the grocery store. Verdict? Delicious. 

Order of Operations
2 hours before party: put together and chicken and begin cooking
1 hour before party: cook pasta, will be done before party time so you can just cover with foil.
.5 hour before party: remove chicken and cover to keep warm. Turn the oven to your warm appetizer temperature needs and put in. Put together and out the cheese plate, hummus dips, plates and utensils, bottle opener, etc.
Guests Arrive: let everyone arrive then unwrap and leave out the delicious food! Cut up avocado for the salad at this time. After dinner, turn the oven on to 200 and put the pies in to warm for 10 minutes.
Perfect order. Perfect party.

After hosting so many of these things major themes are coming out.
1. Keep it Simple.
Choose what to spend time, money, and extra effort on. In the other areas just get pre-put together items.

2. Paper is your friend.
SO GLAD we did paper and plastic this time! If it was a formal sit down dinner, of course I wouldn't. But in this instance our clean up today is going to be a breeze, which is perfect because I am exhausted.

3. Timing is everything.
As you saw, I timed everything out beforehand so I knew when I needed to wake up that day, how much time I had to clean, go to the store, and what time I HAD to start cooking so boyfriend had to finish up the cleaning. Planning and timing are important for meals with multiple moving parts.

Hope this helps with your dinner party adventures too!



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