On Tuesday, Oct. 13 I hosted a dinner party. There were 8 of us total. I have a fairly small kitchen/dining area so even though I wanted to have even more people over, this was about the maximum and I was really unsure how much food I’d need for 8 people, let alone more. Eight was a perfect start.
For me, I loved hosting a dinner party. It’s nice to have a warm meal that I can prepare with love for my friends. It definitely takes some work and planning but it is worth it. Since we live in a rural area, there isn’t much for dining options. While we do have some good restaurants within 30-45 minutes, we have all visited them numerous times and it’s nice to change things up. I have been craving some Chinese food and wanted to make some healthy versions for our group. Here is the menu:
- Egg rolls with dipping sauce
- Green salad with cucumber and ramen noodles – romaine lettuce, green onions, English cucumber cut into noodles, toasted slivered almonds all in a dressing mix of rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, salt, pepper and a touch of brown sugar
- Zesty orange chicken – based off of this recipe from Skinny Taste
- Stir fry veggies – carrots, onion, peppers all sautéed over high heat in sesame oil
- Cauliflower Fried Rice, tripled this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats
- Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie with Ice Cream
I feel like that sounds like a pretty extensive meal. BUT, this all came together fairly quickly with these prep steps.
- Egg rolls – I bought these in the frozen food section. I could have made some in advance but by the time I’d spend the $ and time, it was a better alternative to just buy these. I went with some better quality ones and made the sauce homemade in advance.
- Green salad – I prepped the dressing and cucumber noodles in advance. The evening of the party, I put the ramen noodles in with the dressing to soften them up. I toasted the almonds that went on the salad that day – tossed the whole thing together before anyone arrived, wrapped the salad in plastic wrap and refrigerated it until dinner.
- Orange chicken – the husband cut the chicken in bite sized pieces (I had about 5ish lbs. total) and I seasoned it with salt and pepper and a thin layer of cornstarch. The sauce was made in advance on Sunday and left in the fridge until cooking.
- Stir fry veggies – I cut all the veggies on Sunday. I cooked these over high heat on Tuesday and they take no time to cook. The toughest part is done already – cutting them up!
- Cauliflower fried rice – I riced the cauliflower with my food processor on Sunday, again the toughest and messiest job, and made the rest of the dish using frozen veggies.
- Skillet chocolate chip cookie – I have no qualms about taking shortcuts with dessert, using a box mix or buying something. But this skillet cookie takes no time to assemble and you don’t even need a separate bowl or mixer to get it ready making it perfect for a busy evening. I simply baked this first before doing my cooking and allowed it to cool while we dined. I served it with a caramel/chocolate ice cream and butterscotch and chocolate syrup.
Beer and Wine – the party was BYOB but we set out some shared bottles of beer, wine and alcohol. Other brought wine and we even got to taste a beer brought from a brewery in Montana. It was great fun to sample everything.
In the future, I hope to have more dinner parties. One thing I’d like to resurrect this winter is “Around the World”. We did this when we lived in Fargo where we went to one house for a soup and a drink, then another for an app and a drink, another for a main dish and a drink and finally dessert and a drink. It’s a great way to host people and not commit to a full meal. A perfect winter escape!
Salad, orange chicken, cauliflower fried rice.
These two were anxious to have house guests.
And a big thank you to this special guy who makes most every day better.