Early Fall Dinner Party Menu

StyleBlueprint-Fall-Dinner-Party-R-Higgins-4-148945_620x413                                                                                                                                            (Photo credit StyleBlueprint.com)

I was recently talking with a friend about food (surprise, surprise!) and she mentioned that she really enjoys hosting dinner parties, but never knows what to make.  This got me thinking about party menus and the importance of sharing meals with friends.  I’m a strong believer in making time to get together with people we care about and enjoying food together.  Making a special meal with friends is also a
perfect opportunity to slow down and cook food that truly nourishes, instead
of reaching for the quickest thing available, as we often do during the week.

Here is an early fall menu to help you get that dinner party on the books!  It will give you one more chance to use your grill, enjoy the last summer vegetables, and usher in the flavors of fall.  This menu also happens to be dairy free (if you skip the ice cream on the crisp) and gluten free so you can satisfy friends with special diets.

Early Fall Dinner Party Menu

Garlicky Hummus with Chopped Veggies
Spiced Olives
Pesto-Crusted Cod
Grilled Vegetable Kebabs
Oven Roasted Potatoes
Green Salad
Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Dinner-table-636-iVillage                                                                                                                                                         (Photo credit iVillage.com)

Garlicky Hummus with Chopped Veggies

  • Buy pre-made hummus (or make your own!) and mix in a fresh clove of minced garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil
  • Serve with chopped veggies – carrots, cukes, red peppers, broccoli etc.

Spiced Olives

  • Mix a jar of nice olives with 1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes and a drizzle of olive oil

Pesto-Crusted Cod

  • Cover a cod fillet (or any other white fish) in a thick
    layer of basil pesto and wrap in aluminum foil
  • Either bake the fish at 350 for about 15 minutes or grill on medium-high heat for 6 – 10 minutes. It’s hard to exactly estimate the cooking time for fish given all the variables in size of fillet, grill strength etc.  Check it regularly and look for whiter, less translucent color and a flaky consistency. Don’t worry too much – the pesto will keep it quite moist even if you do overcook it slightly. Let the cod rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Grilled Vegetable Kebabs

  • Skewer peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants etc.
  • Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill on medium heat for about 10 minutes until they are beginning to blacken

Oven Roasted Potatoes

  • Use 1 cup of chopped sweet potatoes and 1 cup of chopped white potatoes for every 2 people attending your party
  • Mix the potatoes together and toss with equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and grainy mustard
  • Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400 for 25 minutes or until they begin to get crispy

Green Salad

  • Combine arugula, mesclun, and parsley for your salad base
  • Add in scallions, grated raw beets, and goat cheese
  • Make a basic vinaigrette by mixing 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, three cloves of minced garlic,
    and 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
  • Dress and toss the salad immediately before serving
  • Here are some
    general guidelines for my favorite green salads – http://www.onebeet.com/onebeet/2013/05/exciting-salads.html

Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Core and slice six apples (I like to leave the skin on because it is filled with nutrients!)
  • Combine the apples with the juice from one lemon, 1/2 cup maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon to make the crisp filling
  • Melt 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of honey together on the stove
  • Add the melted butter and honey to 2 cups of rolled oats, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or nut of your choice), and 1/2 teaspoon salt to make the crisp topping
  • Fill the bottom of a baking dish with the apples and cover with a thick layer of topping
  • Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, or until browned on top
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

Fall_Dinner_Party                                                                                                               (Photo credit unknown)

So pick a night, invite some friends over, and get cooking!

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