What do you do when your husband tells you at 3:30 that he invited someone over for dinner that night? First you blame it on his jet lag, but then realize that you have to work a miracle to make it happen. Or so I thought. Last minute dinner parties are very much possible and do-able. Simply apply the rule of threes and you will make it work…also lots of wine and you will have a successful dinner.
Here is how I applied the rule to make dinner. For my salad I paired my greens with a fruit, cheese and nuts. Yup that’s three! Then a dressing of course to bring it all together. The flavor combo I decided to go with was blueberry, goat cheese, and spiced pecans with a balsamic dressing.
Then onto the main. I accompanied a main dish Greek spinach casserole with roasted red and yellow cherry tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms with a hint of garlic. My favorite way to bolster a meal is roasting a vegetable or five? Just kidding! I don’t have that kind of room in my oven. My point is simply that if you are crunched on time split up what needs to be made in the oven and what can be made on the stove.
Lastly, dessert. I still had some cookie dough left from the Bed & Breakfast Chocolate Chip Cookies which I paired with some macerated strawberries and vanilla bean ice cream. My other trick is when pressed for time, use a fancy word to describe what you made. I do love macerated strawberries though and they go so well with almost anything. Occasionally, I add a little bit of basil to add another layer of flavor.
The most wonderful thing about a successful dinner is when your guest brings wine that goes perfectly with your meal! We were lucky enough to have been brought two very delicious bottles of chardonnay. I have to say that I didn’t think I liked chardonnay and have always tried to steer clear. It has always been too dry for my liking, but both were phenomenal! The first we drank was a 2014 chardonnay from L’ecole No. 41. If I knew more about wine, I would describe the flavor profile, but delicious is all I can do. The second bottle was a 2012 Chardonnay from Chateau St Jean.
All in all, it was a wonderful last minute dinner with good company and good conversation.
The Best Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together honey, balsamic, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic. Add the oil and whisk until the dressing is fully emulsified.
Hot and Sweet Maple Pecans
Inspired by a recipe in Raising the Bar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 cups pecans
- Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl, combine the sugars, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika. Place syrup in a bowl large enough to hold all the pecans.
- Toast the pecans on a cookie sheet in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until fragrant.
- Transfer the toasted pecans into the bowl with syrup and stir to coat.
- Add the spice mixture and stir again.
- Immediately spread onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and allow to cool.
Spinach Cheese Pie
From the Low Carb Cookbook
- 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen whole leaf spinach, defrosted
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bunch scallions, including firm green
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta
- 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Let the spinach drain then squeeze out all the excess moisture.
- Melt butter in a large skillet. Add the scallions and chopped onions. Cook them over medium heat until they are soft. Add the spinach and salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the ricotta. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix the spinach mixture into the egg mixture.
- Grease a 13×9 baking dish. Pour the mixture into the pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.