Planning dinner parties is becoming one of my absolute favorite things to do. I can't wait until I have a nice dining room set and can really go all out. For now, I do my best with what I've got. And ya know what? I am pretty happy with it. Bubby's card table and chairs as my stand-in for the time being is being put to good use. Of course, those chairs are really extremely uncomfortable because they're so hard, and metal, and have no real cushioning. Yeah... anyone have a dining room table and chairs they're looking to donate?! ;)
Anyway. Back to the amazingness that is having a dinner party. Pot luck style is definitely the way to go. it takes all the pressure off of the host as far as having to make everything and makes it more fun for everyone coming to dinner, too. Lauren, Jaime, Shannon, Tyler and myself were each in charge of one aspect of dinner and all came through very successfully. Shannon made the appetizer: stuffed mushrooms! Fresh parsley topped the cute little 'shrooms, stuffed with a mixture made from 2 eggs, toasted Challah bread, sea salt, oregano, sauteed garlic, and diced mushroom stems.
I made an autumn-inspired salad. It had apples, pears, dried cranberries, feta and toasted pumpkin seeds. I even made the dressing, too! Honey apple vinaigrette...its tartness meshed perfectly with all the components of the salad.
Jaime was in charge of the entree. Originally she said she'd make a veggie lasagna, which we were all excited about. But then surprised us with a pasta-less veggie lasagna made with eggplant instead and the excitement just exploded from all of us. Layers of eggplant instead of pasta — genius! Zucchini, spinach, carrots, tomato sauce, mozzarella... it was an awesome main dish. The mushrooms, salad and "lasagna" all went so well together! Tyler brought us a really nice bottle of Pinot Noir and Lauren satisfied our sweet tooth with a yummy chocolate cupcake with Oreo cookie frosting! The cupcakes were actually gluten-free. I honestly would never have known the difference if Lauren hadn’t told us. They were moist and rich and tasted great. The frosting was the best part. You can't go wrong with anything involving Oreo cookies!
I love being able to bring everyone together for nights like this. We're going to make it a habit to do more often and give each night a theme, with one ingredient we all have to use in our dish. Next up? PUMPKIN!
1 can sliced pears, each sliced in half
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly
1/2 tbsp Olive oil
Honey Apple Vinaigrette
2 tbsp fat free plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tbsp honey
To toast the pumpkin seeds, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the seeds in olive oil and salt and spread out onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until seeds are browned.
To make the vinaigrette, mix all ingredients together in a blender.