I love nothing more then entertaining. I love planning a menu, the table, my outfit- all of it. About 3 months after Sterling was born we started doing a monthly girls Dinner Club. At the first of each year we each sign up for a month and host dinner club at our house. When it is your month to host you cook, provide the booze, everything. Since we each only host once a year it is not too much work. We normally time the dinner for 7 so kids can be bathed and ready for bed. The husbands are usually banned to take care of the kids and get them to bed while us ladies socialize. I am embarrassed to admit it has been two years since I last hosted. I played the pregnant card last year because I was so nauseous and cooking made me ill. So this month it was due time for me to host.
First thing I always do is plan my menu menu. I knew I wanted to do an Asian theme, something a little different than I had cooked before.
I typically plan the menu and buy all the groceries the day before. I do as much prep work the day before so I can enjoy myself once the girls arrive. On Tuesday I made the Cabbage Salad, diced all the veggies, and cooked the meat for the noodles and lettuce wraps.
The Cabbage Salad also know as Asian Slaw is one of my favorite sides. It is best made the day before so the flavors can sit. (recipes at bottom of post)
Fresh flowers are must for any dinner party. Thank goodness for Trader Joes and their cheap flower section. I picked up a new orchid for our dining room table and some gladiolas, less than $20 for all flowers not bad plus the orchid will last awhile.
Next up setting the table. I always do this early in the day so it is done. One less thing to worry about come dinner time.
I like a fairly simple table. I love my napkins from Furbish Studio and my crystal napkin rings from Open Door Shop. I always use white plates. I prefer how food looks served on a white background. The white plates are our everyday plates from Crate and Barrel we registered for when we got married and I still love them.
Then, outfit time. I had been waiting to wear my new Sabine Dress from Piperlime. To say I am obsessed with it is an understatement. I love the bright blue embellishment and it is so comfortable. It runs TTS, I am wearing a size small.
After I am dressed I assemble the appetizer. I remember a tip from Barefoot Contessa that if you are cooking a big dinner do a store bought app- something that you don't have to cook. I knew I wanted to serve Callie's Pimento Cheese and Dillicious Dip. So easy just to pick it all up in one shop and throw on a platter. I added some sliced cucumbers from my CSA Basket.
Once the ladies arrive it is wine time while I start to heat up the meat I had cooked the day before.
Once all the food is ready, I find it is easiest just to serve everyone's plate and set the table. That way no one has to reach to serve and we can all sit down at the same time.
This dinner was a huge hit. I highly recommend the whole menu!
Good times with my best friends. I truly love these ladies. So lucky to have them in my life. We are missing one friend in the picture Lindsey who came a little late!
|| RECIPES ||
I posted this recipe a few months ago from Gwyneth Paltrows Cookbook It's All Good.
View the Recipe HERE
Ingredients for dressing: (I double this)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ramen noodle seasoning package
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for salad:
1 small head green cabbage shredded (I buy the pre shredded kind at Trader Joes. I used 3 bags which made a huge bowl of salad)
4 green onions, chopped
2 packages oriental ramen noodles, crushed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1.Make dressing by combining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar.
2. Combine all salad ingredients and then add dressing to salad and toss again.
3. Let chill at least 8 hours in fridge
DAN DAN NOODLES
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 8-oz dried fettuccine or linguine noodles
- 2 TB Asian sesame oil
- 2 TB cooking oil
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- ¾ cup regular soy sauce
- 1½ cup good chicken broth
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp Sriracha
- 6 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
- ½ cup chopped peanuts or cashews for topping
- chopped green onions for garnish
- Set aside cooked/minced chicken.
- In a large heavy pot, cook noodles in salted water until al dente (don’t over-cook) according to package. Drain and toss with Asian sesame oil to prevent sticking and for flavor infusion. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, chicken broth, brown sugar, and Sriracha. Stir well. Add cornstarch dissolved in broth. Stir constantly while simmering, until sauce thickens.
- Once sauce has thickened, add the minced/cooked chicken and simmer in the sauce for about 5 minutes.
- If noodles have cooled too much, warm it up in microwave. Toss noodles with desired amount of chicken/sauce mixture, or just toss it all in! Toss in julienned cucumber to combine.
- Divide onto serving plates or bowls. Garnish with green onions and nuts, if desired.
- Leftover noodles should be wrapped tightly and chilled. Just heat up in microwave when ready for leftovers!