Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hostess with the Mostest

I have an Italian Dinner meal plan for all you lovely hostesses and hosts to borrow next time you're having company! I have used this Italian Dinner Menu several times for company. This Menu works for entertaining because...

#1 Reason I use this Meal Plan is because there are not a lot of dishes that need to be cooked at different temps and for different times. This makes is SUPER SIMPLE so you can enjoy your night!

~ It is rich and delicious, satisfying most appetites with a signature taste...very defined and bold

~ Your guests won't think it's bland.

~ It is {almost} easy

~ It is easy to manage the prep work while you entertain your guests

~ It is basically a "one dish deal" which does wonders for us unfortunate hostesses who don't have a double oven....(and if YOU have a double oven, you are a kitchen goddess, lucky you)

The Appetizer
Homemade Artichoke Dip with toasted baguette bread slices

Email me for the recipe or leave a comment OR make your own favorite!

~Leave out the spinach this time! Spinach is great to add for a fun game night, but lets keep this menu a little classier by leaving it out...just the RICH cream colored dip.
~ Buy FRESH bread and toast the bread in the oven on broiler mode not the toaster

The Salad
Dark Greens with Beans and Extra Goodness
and Homemade Creamy Parmesan Dressing
Again, email me or leave a comment for the dressing recipe.

~ To assemble the salad wash and tear a head of red leaf lettuce.
Add the following:

red kidney beans (rinsed)
garbanzo beans (rinsed)
sliced black olives
peperoncini peppers
fresh sliced roma tomatoes
red onions if desired
freshly grated mozzarella cheese

~ Buy a bottle of
Balsamic Breeze Salad Spritzer and spray gently over salad RIGHT before serving
~ If your guests desire, they can still use some Creamy Parmesan Salad dressing too

The Bread
Homemade Loaf of Bread with Garlic Cheese (or loaf of bakery Italian bread if you're short on time)

~Slice your bread lengthwise and spread both sides with real butter. Sprinkle garlic salt over bread. Top alternately with provolone and mozzarella cheese slices.
~ Broil open-faced in oven until cheese bubbles

~ Don't leave out this FUN addition to your meal:...add a couple of oil dipping trays. Simply pour oil into a plate and season with your favorite Italian seasonings. You can even use garlic flavored oil if you prefer.
Some seasoning ideas are:
dried basil
onion salt
Parmesan cheese.

~ Even if you are serving this meal buffet style, this portion of the meal must go in the center of the table, acting warm and inviting while being easily accessible.

The Main Course
Homemade Lasagna, Chicken Tetrazzini, or Baked Ziti

The choice is yours and they are easily interchangeable

~ Have some fresh parsley set aside to top off your main dish with right before serving. It dresses up your dish of course! ;)
~ Don't over bake but make sure it's still steaming hot
~ Keep an attractive jar of shredded Parmesan cheese at the table for your guest's preferences

{How did I forget to take a picture of the main course for my blog?! This particular dinner was homemade lasagna though } :(

The Dessert
I like to serve rich chocolate cake with ice cold vanilla ice cream after Italian food. But another excellent choice to pair with Italian food is anything lemon.

~ I have a little dessert secret to share with you. When making a cake I like to use these little bunt pans like I did HERE.
I make extra so I can easily send my guests home with an adorable small love token. It is a perfect way to close the evening out as you say goodbye.
~Dust the dessert with powered sugar for a prettier appearance. Fresh fruit looks delightful with powered sugar too!
~ Timing is KEY when serving dessert. Don't drag it out, it isn't polite to keep all waiting until the late hour. But don't rush it either. The meal is an event (as in Europe!).

Other Entertaining Tips

~ Make sure your home feels fresh and clean. It doesn't have to look like a museum or model home but it should feel clean so your guests can dine comfortably in an inviting atmosphere.

~ If you play music, set it softly and play something gentle

~ Don't burn any of those scented candles. The aroma of the meal is all you need

~ Don't use fat free or low fat ingredients THIS TIME unless your guests request it. You want it to taste like the rich flavor of your favorite restaurant. You can get back to the healthier options tomorrow...

~ Use the freshest produce, skip the pre-cut and bagged stuff

~ Be prepared before they arrive so the attention is on them not cooking

~Post It notes are ideal for scribbling down cook times and temps so you don't have to keep your cookbooks out on the counter. I simply write the bake temps and times on it and stick it on the cover of the dish.

SIT DOWN and enjoy this Italian goodness with a glass of sparking water. Ciao!

For other beautiful tablescapes click here.

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas click here.


caveman said...

You truly are a PERFECT Hostess. What a lucky husband I am!

Anonymous said...

my mouth is watering!!!!! i love all the pictures! will you come over and cook this all for me. please! love, brandi

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Your table looks gorgeous! ♥ Love the post-it note idea, too!

Iva Messy said...

great tips! everything looks delish!

Dorey said...

Yum! I want some right now. =)

Heather said...

It's a shame you live all the way out in Colorado, or I would invite myself over ;) Everything looks yummy. Great tips!

Heidi Boos said...

Great tips, Lisa. Sure wish I was on the invite list. ;)

Kat said...

That salad looks incredible. Being Italian I am particularly picky about what I serve that qualifies as a good Italian feast. I think this one could make it to my repertoire. Neat idea adding the tips, too.


Becca said...

I LOVE this!!! I will definitely be copying your recipes...all of them!!

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

I definitely wouldn't mind being a guest at this dinner party!

Becca said...

I love the post-it note idea! And your menu plan makes me so hungry! This is a great idea, thanks for sharing! And thanks for your sweet comment on my blog :)

Susan (Between Naps On The Porch.net) said...

Great post with great tips! Thanks for all the recipes! This would a be great post to link to for Tablescape Thursday next week and for Foodie Friday over at the blog, Designs by Gollum! :-) That salad looks amazing! Yum!

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Wonderful tips! And that salad looks especially amazing! Welcome to TT.

The Country Nest said...

Great post~I love the post it idea!
I would like to join everyone else and invite myself to this meal~


Yellow Rose Arbor said...

Welcome to TT! Your tablescape is very pretty! The menu and food sounds delicious! Thanks for the tips!


Julie said...

Great tips,The tabe and food look wonderful...

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Very appealing menu and the table is lovely. I especially like the way the salad looks. Thank you for all those suggestions.

Pinky said...

For only being 27 years old you sure do have your act together!!!!! I am in awe! I have been married for 41 years and I sure could NEVER have done this at your age! This was a wonderful post with TONS of great ideas! Thanks so much!!!! Pinky

Jane said...

I am amazed that you are only 27! Your sense of entertaining is quite developed. Your simple table is lovely and just the perfect foil for the meal you have suggested.
Well done!

Jane (Artfully Graced)

Unknown said...

What a lovely party! You have it down to an art!

Good job!


niartist said...

OMG! The food and table look magnificent! Great job! I hope you can stop by and enter your name in the giveaway at Color Outside the Lines. I know you could do some fantastic things with the loot! :) Cheers!

Lori @ Dining Delight said...

Wonderful ideas for entertaining! Yummy sounding/looking food and a pretty table! Everything seems do-able which is what its all about!


Carol at Serendipity said...

It's 6 o'clock in the morning here and I am starved after reading your post. Good ideas and wonderful food!

nannykim at spindle cottage said...

Ok, so now you have me totally hungry--after commenting here I need a snack! I will definetly try that salad. Where do you get the peppers (are they from jar? not sure if I can get those) ..the rest I can.

Cute little cakes! Nice simple table setting.

LillyB said...

Wonderful post!!! Thank you for sharing with us!!!
Nice to meet you!!

Brenda Pruitt said...

Well it looks absolutely delicous! And thanks for those great tips too!

susan said...

You sound as if you have done this a few time! It is nice to have a standby that we know works well and is enjoyed. Welcome to TT--Precious boys!

susan said...

You sound as if you have done this a few time! It is nice to have a standby that we know works well and is enjoyed. Welcome to TT--Precious boys!

susan said...

You sound as if you have done this a few time! It is nice to have a standby that we know works well and is enjoyed. Welcome to TT--Precious boys!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Your table is lovely and the menu is completely delightful. What a thrill to have a great standby that looks and sounds sooooooo good. Love it all. Also just want to invite you to join the "Cloche Party" on the 11th of Sept. You can get all the details on the button on my sidebar. Hope to see you there. Hugs, Marty

Unknown said...

What a wonderful post! Great tips and inviting Table.

nannykim said...

Thanks for answering my question on the peppers--I will try it out this week; hopefully!

Rachel said...

I found you through WFMW, then clicked on "you might also like..." at the bottom to find this post. If you read your comments, and if you read them long after the original post, PLEASE email me the recipes...ALL of them! This meal looks divine! I wish I could dive through the computer screen and start eating! TIA! :)
coupongrabber (at) hotmail.com