Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Super Bowl Family Get Together

Normally, my brother in-law and sister in-law take on the burden of family entertaining during this great American pastime. But, they have a five month old, and it was "our turn" in the family cycle of entertaining, and I was up for the challenge.

The goal, an "easy" prepare-ahead meal that could be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

Result: meh.....

Chips and guacamole:  Bought.

Baked Potato Bar:  Made real bacon bits ahead of time - great. Bought shredded cheese (usually a big no-no for me, but with nine people eating, a necessity) and sour cream, and shredded some broccoli. Potatoes came out lovely. Well received and very-doable.

Chicken Wings:  Had to make this classic super bowl meal. I didn't eat them (can't look at chicken while pregnant....). Adults liked them. Kids liked them.  My daughter ate THREE.  Made the sauce in the morning.  Should have used aluminum foil on the pans. My husband is still soaking them two weeks later.  

Caesar Salad: My Mom's classic.  Made the dressing in the morning.  Have to write a separate post about this someday. Not my best....Mom can make it better.  

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream for dessert.  She who makes it gets to pick the flavor. Made ahead of time.  Fabulous and finished by all!

"Meh" explanation:

Positive:  The food was happily eaten by all (except my daughters won't eat potatoes that are not in the form of a fry).  The preparation was not difficult, with salad dressing, ice cream, chicken wing sauce, and potato ingredients all prepared ahead of time - only took about an hour in the morning. Meal presentation looked good. I am blessed with appropriate serving dishes and utensils, and coincidentally "Panther" colored plates.

Negative:  The dishes.....  what are we going to do with these.They took forever, an it was not because of plates, bowls, and glasses.  I HATE PAPER PLATES, BOWLS, AND CUPS. Not only do you feel guilty using them, they are not the items that take masses of time putting in the dishwasher. Five minutes tops for all those dishes.  It is cleaning and drying the cooking and serving dishes, and figuring out how to store the leftovers (I HATE leftovers, mostly for this reason) that took took over an hour and left me in shambles.  I could not move. There needs to be a solution to this problem.  I am not entertaining until summer.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Finally, A Dinner Party!

The husband and I used to host many dinner parties when we lived in NYC.  First, I loved to cook. Second, it was cheaper than eating out. Third, people were readily available and always willing to come over. And finally, you didn't need to hail a cab home.  Even after we had our first child, we invited people over for dinner so they could share stories from humanity with us and maybe bounce our baby while we sipped a drink.  Dinner parties were a win win.

Then, we moved to Charlotte. While we have made many friends, we have also had another child, and said children have grown into wild animals who have taken over our house.  Our friends also have young children, and inviting parents and children for a sit down dinner party/booze fest around dinner time, can imagine.

Then, a few months ago, some friends of ours invited us over for dinner. The kids ate (a bit) and ran around like wild animals in princess dresses, and we drank wine and ate chili.  When our hosts managed to kick us out, we went home to our clean kitchen, and, lo and behold, the kids crashed.  I started thinking that a dinner party might be future possibility.

So, we invited our previous hosts to our house, and they were willing to come!  While the kids ran around in princess dresses destroying the upstairs, we were able to sit uninterrupted for ten minutes while we sipped drinks and ate with real napkins.  It was practically civil!

The following was served (to the adults):

Steak Teriyaki  - A family go-to that originated with my Mother. Always a hit! The link is to a similar recipe.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad - I know that it is Winter, but I could not resist. I paid way too much for tomatoes, and they still were not great.

Caesar Salad - I used the pre-made salad mixes and added extra croutons.

Warm French bread - People of my generation really don't eat bread anymore. Was useful for the kids, but we had a lot leftover.  

Almond Cake - Made this for the first time. Giada DeLaurentis' recipe. Lots of holding the hand held electric mixer (when I get more counter space, you can bet on the first item I will be acquiring!).  I also used white cornmeal instead of yellow. Tasted amazing.