4/3/08

No Foolin' Dinner Details and Recipes - Part II

We had a grand time at our April Fool’s Dinner this past week, where we had a sit-down dinner outside, and no foolin’ – it started snowing as we were eating! Readers seem to enjoy all the details, and more importantly - what we ate! So here’s the scoop of the evening.

We started inside for appetizers, moved to the patio for our sit-down dinner, then back inside again for dessert. Before I move on, let me tell you a little bit about the menu and what I used for my table setting.

Menu
Appetizers consisted of Dubliner Cheese with Fuji apples, flatbread and salami (kid friendly). Main dish was barbequed chicken thighs, with Potatoes Anna, Caesar Salad (brought by our guest – her specialty!), and Costco Whole Wheat Bread. Dessert was Clafouti, warm from the oven, served with vanilla ice cream.


Table Setting
Using what I had, I color-coordinated the tablecloth with the flowers in bloom in my front yard. Yellow and brown go well together so I used my solid brown tablecloths, accenting with bright yellow daffodils. Of course I used my standard white dishes (almost 20 years old).

Music
Our favorite, new (to us), jazz musician is Ramsey Lewis. Love the energy and overall vibes from this man and his amazing talent on the piano.

Conversation
I have to tell you that I really love the fact that our kids are growing up. When they were little they’d all “split” as soon as the meal was over. Off to bigger and better things – play time! Now they hang out with us adults. The kids are a huge part of the conversation and it’s very - energetic, action-packed, and dramatic at times - conversation!

Now for the awaited essence of YUM! My easy-to-cook recipes!! What I enjoyed about preparing this meal is that my daughter was in the kitchen with me. We whipped up all three of these dishes in about 45 minutes, coordinating the oven times. Four hands were definitely better than two! Besides, I have a blast in the kitchen with my youngest. I find myself being asked fewer questions about measurements, and what certain words mean, as she is learning to be a fantastic cook!


Sandy Style BBQ boneless Chicken Thighs:
Cut off any excess fat, boil thighs for 25 minutes. Drain and place in your baking pan. Salt and pepper the meat, covering with Masterpiece BBQ sauce (I have tried every kind of BBQ sauce, and MP is my all-time favorite!), and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.


Potatoes Anna:
Melt one cube of butter. Grate 1-cup Parmesan cheese. Have salt and pepper on hand. I used yellow-fleshed Golden Potatoes (but any kind work). Peel and thinly slice potatoes (approx 8-10 small). Spray a rounded pan or baking bowl (I use a small bakingl stone), and layer potatoes, around in a circle, spoon butter over that layer, salt and pepper, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Continue until the bowl is completely full. Pour the rest of the melted butter on top, covering with a lid or foil. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn down to 350 for an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove lid or foil; bake another 15 minutes until crisp on top. Let stand 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. (Total time in oven: 1 hr 45 min. Serves 10)


Clafouti:
Arrange 3 cups of blueberries (or any kind of berry - I used Costco's frozen mixed berries) at the bottom of a baking dish or pie pan. Sprinkle with ¼ c. sugar and 2-3 T. candied ginger,* chopped (the secret ingredient – YUM!). In blender add 1-cup milk, 3 eggs, ½ cup flour, 2 tsp. vanilla. Blend and pour over the berries. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I doubled this recipe. (Often when I cook, I’ll use a secret ingredient, asking my guests to guess what it is! This time it was one of the kids who guessed, “ginger!”) Sorry - I didn't get to take any pictures of this dessert, but it looks similar to a cobbler.

After dinner, we all moved inside as the huge flakes of snow caused the temps to drop drastically and the propane in our new commercial grade heater went out. Brrrr. The kids helped serve dessert and we congregated in the living room. THE FUN BEGAN! More lively conversation continued. We laughed until we cried, sharing funny stories and memories.


I find that a common sentence used with our kids these days is … “Remember when?”

Reminiscing becomes very important, very real, and much needed as our children grow.

A very fun evening chalked up more memories for both of our families. Who knows what kind of twist our next dinner will entail?

23 comments:

becky said...

You are so much fun! I love your April Fool's dinner idea.

momrn2 said...

It is only 9 AM and this food made me hungry!! Thanks for not only sharing them but providing the recipes!! I will be trying them! YUM!!

GiBee said...

It all sounds so delicious! And proves once again, that entertaining doesn't need to be daunting or difficult!!!

Andrea said...

Sandy, you are so creative and inspiring. That meal practically made my drool!! Wish I had been there!!

amy said...

This is fabulous!!!!! Im jealous and motivated..How fun!

Mrs. Jules said...

Your Potatoes Anna looks wonderful! I love dining outdoors and look forward to revamping our backyard so that we can share some fun, warm-weather meals together.

And I agree, Ramsey Lewis can bring the energy. I remember my father taking me to see him in concert when I was younger, definitely increased my love for jazz piano. :)

linda t said...

Oh my gosh, I want to make everything on your menu!! What a fun, memorable evening with loved ones.
You are so right... our kids love telling stories and love hearing our stories and love making new stories to retell someday to their own kids!
You are such an awesome Mom Sandy!

:..Rebekah..: said...

I love what you said about the kids hanging out with the adults and sharing in the conversation. My kids are still pretty eager to "split", but I hope that as they get older they will want to stick around.

Dawn said...

Thanks for sharing the delicious recipes. I'm glad the dinner was a big success.

Jen said...

Your meal sounds and looked great....your appetizer sounded wonderful...I may look for that cheese.

Kari & Kijsa said...

Sounds like a fabulous and memorable evening!

blessings,
kari & kijsa

Chris @ Come to the Table said...

Thanks for sharing your recipes.

It all looks and sounds so fun!

Stephanie said...

Everytime I look at your blog, Im more and more inspired to do these fun things! Thank you so much for sharing such wisdom!!
Stephanie

Nadine said...

That was a lot of chicken. Those potatoes look amazing.

What a fun way to spend the evening. I like the inside/outside/inside - it changes things up.

Diane Fay (littlealma) said...

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog recently! (one of the few - grin!) And I loved checking yours out - it is filled with great ideas! Since my hubby is the cook, I am going to have to show him too! The April fool's dinner looked wonderful! All the best to you!
Diane from Michigan

The Tin House said...

Sandy - that chicken looks outrageously easy AND delicious! It's on the menu here tomorrow night. Not sure what I'll use for the sauce because I've not seen that brand here in Oz. I'll let you know how it goes. Lisa x

Sheila said...

Your potatoes look lovely! And I can't believe how beautiful your table setting looks. Of course, if I were to pull out what's currently in my front yard, it would still consist of dirty snow. No daffodils here. But we do have some rose tops in a bowl from a dozen roses that were leftover!

Thanks for sharing!

Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

Beth said...

Mmmmm...your potato dish looks delicious!

willzmom said...

The meal sounds yummy, but the company and conversation-delicious!

Irritable Mother said...

"Remember when...?"
My husband laughs at my family because we are so predictable. At every family gathering we reminisce about the same stories again and again. The.same.ones.
But it's part of who we are, and we love doing it!

Anonymous said...

What fun Sandy! Thanks for all the recipes.

I agree about the ginger. (It is also the secret ingredient in Starbuck's holiday Cranberry Bliss bar) : )

...costly to buy in regular stores but I have a quart ziploc full from a split co-op order that will last a long time.

deb meyers

Ornery's Wife said...

Gotta love those Pampered Chef Baking Bowls! Great recipes and what a fun evening.
TM

Anonymous said...

I LOVED this post! Thanks so much for telling us (and showing) what you served. I am just starting to entertain again now that my five kids are a little older (ages 3-12) and I like getting ideas about what to serve. I would love it if you would share more about exactly what you serve at your parties! I need all the ideas I can get!
Laura