Dinner Party – Deliciousness!

A favorite hobby of mine is curating recipes. I’m a self-taught cook (more Rachel Ray, than Wolfgang Puck). I find solace in ingredients, and joy in family gatherings around the table. When designing a menu for a recent dinner party, I headed directly to my Pinterest recipe boards and started perusing the deliciousness I have parked for such an occasion.

For dinner with friends, I was looking for a chicken recipe that would be unexpected, along with a creative pasta that would accompany the happy bird.

Get ready to lose your face, because this menu was beyond expectation…

Chicken with Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce
Pasta with Brown Butter and Pine Nuts
Sauteed Broccoli with Olive Oil FinishMixed Greens with Blue Cheese, Pear Shavings and Candied Walnuts
Crusty Bread with Garlic Butter

This menu was off the charts delicious when it was served, but the leftovers were even better because the flavors of the chicken really molded together overnight.

If you are looking for an easy dinner party menu for your next extravaganza, I hope these recipes will help you to be the hostess with the mostess!

Drop a comment below to tell me what you think of today’s recipes.

A Beginner’s Guide to Throwing A Thanksgiving Feast – Part 2

Thanksgiving is just around the corner; I can almost smell the turkey crisping up on the BBQ! That’s what we do in California – we BBQ our turkeys!

In our last blog post, I talked about planning your guest list and your invitation. It’s time for us to discuss menu planning and recipes! This will be a busy weekend at the grocery store as everyone begins to stock up for the impending feast so it’s time to get organized!

Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, as well as my suggestions for menu planning!

Let’s Eat…

When deciding on the menu, you should first decide if you are the hostess that wants to cook the entire meal, or you are willing to share the glory. In our house, we have always welcomed a ton of people for our Thanksgiving dinners so it would be a huge burden for my parents to prepare all of the food. Plus, our guests have always enjoyed contributing to the feast.

As the hostess, think about providing the main staples of Thanksgiving such as the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing. The rest of the menu can be rounded out by the guests. We’ve always found that dishes like mashed potatoes don’t travel very well so it’s better if we cook them versus having a guest bring them later. We divide up the rest of the menu between salad, side dishes, veggie dishes, and desserts. Don’t be shy about asking your guests to contribute! It makes them feel engaged with the party before they even arrive! Be sure to remind guests of the expected time for you to enjoy the meal so you can plan accordingly with cooking times and reheating dishes if needed!

 

Menu Planning

Easy Recipes…

I’m the queen of appetizers! I believe you can make a whole meal out of appetizers, so therefore, my contribution to the feast is usually always the nibbles we can enjoy while the food preparation is being finished! Here are a few of my favorite dishes I’ve crafted over the years. Both have received rave reviews!

Mexi Dip

1 Can of Chili with No Beans
1 Cream Cheese  (8 oz)
3 Green Onions
1 Can of Chopped Olives
1 Can of Green Chile – chopped (you decide on the heat!)1 Cup of Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Mix remaining ingredients into bowl. Transfer to microwaveable dish. Cook for 5 minutes, stir and rotate. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Chutney Dip

1 Jar of Chutney (found in the Indian food sections)
2  Cream Cheese (8 oz)
1 Cup of Sharp White Cheddar
1 Tablespoon of Curry Powder (add more as preferred)

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave for 45-60 seconds. Mix remaining ingredients into bowl. Transfer to microwavable dish. Cook for 5 minutes, stir and rotate. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add additional Curry Powder to taste. I have also added red chili flakes for additional heat. Serve with crackers. Can be served at room temperature.

 

What’s your favorite recipe for Thanksgiving? Share in the comments below!

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Thanksgiving…

Since your Halloween costume is now a memory, and the candy bowl is slowly diminishing, it can only mean we have rolled into November! Is this the year you’ve raised your hand and volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner at your house? Be brave! It’s not as scary as you think!

Over the next few weeks, The Henley Co. lifestyle team will help you to create and execute a plan to design the ultimate Thanksgiving feast! Pull up a chair and come hungry!

GUEST LIST:
The success of any party starts with the guest list. As long as the right people are in the room, you can turn any night into a party! Start by making a list of the family and friends you would like to invite. Remember, as the host/hostess you have the final say on who gets invited. Family dynamics can always rear up during the holidays; take this time to mend bridges or to create new memories. Set the rules that drama gets left at the door, and only gratitude can enter!

INVITATION:
With the influx of electronic communication, there is no need to clutter your guests in-box with one more message. Instead, stand out from the crowd and send a snail mail invitation. Your guests will be surprised that a beautiful invitation has arrived in their mailbox, and it will set the theme for the festivities to come. The internet is ripe with easy to use electronic invitation sites that allow you to design online and then print to paper. Here’s a super easy invite I whipped up using Canva.com.

We would be GRATEFUL if you joined us for a Thanksgiving Feast!In the weeks ahead, we’ll focus on menu planning, shopping lists and the evening entertainment to keep all of your guests happy!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory? Share in the comments below!

 

Make Over Your Cauliflower

One of my favorite hobbies is cooking. Anytime I put on my apron, I feel like I’m putting on a super power cape! I am a self-taught cook that has loved the art of cooking since I was in middle school. I use recipes as a rough road map but prefer creating dishes with my own imagination and creativity.
I recently came across a recipe for Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower and it was received with rave reviews by my family. I actually tweaked the recipe to replace the marjoram with cumin because it paired better with our southwestern meal.
Even if you think you don’t like cauliflower, I think you would agree this recipe is a fan favorite! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
Go eat your veggies!
Cauliflower
Balsamic and Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 head(s) cauliflower, large, (8 cups 1-inch-thick slices), florets
  • 2 tablespoon oil, olive, extra-virgin
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram, dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper, black ground, freshly ground, to taste
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar balsamic
  • 1/2 cup(s) cheese, Parmesan, finely shredded

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Toss cauliflower, oil, marjoram, salt and pepper. Roast on a large rimmed baking sheet until starting to soften and brown on the bottom, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Toss the cauliflower with vinegar and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and roast until the cheese is melted and any moisture has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes more.