Friday, March 29, 2013

A girl's night (in) dinner party

Last Friday my girlfriends and I had a much-needed dinner party/girl's night at my place.  The party was a bit of a potluck style dinner party, which lowers stress levels on my part as the hostess.

The more I entertain lately, the more I love the idea of doing things potluck style.  Of course, there is a time and place for throwing a totally awesome party where I do everything myself, but for the most part, those are few and far between.  And at the end of the day, both types of parties are still fabulous.

But because this is me we're talking about, I wanted somewhat of a theme to the dinner party.  So we went with a Spring(ish) Italian style.  It was light on the theme but helped determine what everyone contributed.

You'll notice all the photos are Instagram pics.  Erik went to a friend's place and brought our laptop which had my camera SIM card in it.  Oh well, what do you do??

Here is the breakdown of what everyone brought / what was on the menu:

Appetizers
Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs
Alexia Mozzarella Sticks
Alexia Mushroom Bites
Assorted Olives
Brie, Sharp Cheddar and Blue Cheese
Chips and salsa

Salad
Spring Salad with Grapes and Pistachio-Crusted Goat Cheese

Main Entree
Cheese Ravioli with Olive Oil, Parmesan and Dried Cranberries
Alexia Artisan Ancient Grain Rolls

Dessert
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Buttermilk Pudding Cakes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Um, we dipped these sweet potato puffs in ranch dressing.  So good. Cheese overload.  While us gals were eating our faces off we joked around about how our guys often "forget" to eat when they are hanging out and having drinks.  We would NEVER ever forget.  I mean, seriously!!Olives are such an easy snack to have at any dinner party.
Libby made this salad and it was absolutely delicious.  She rolled each one of those pistachio crusted  goat cheese balls by hand, so this salad is a bit time-consuming.  But totally worth it.  We all raved about the salad.  My friend Summer made ravioli.  She kept it fairly light with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of parmesan and dried cranberries.  It was really good and I'll definitely be making this for dinner sometime soon.  I've made these buttermilk pudding cakes before (I call them strawberry shortcakes). They are pretty easy to make and are a light dessert for spring.  

Buttermilk Pudding Cakes with Strawberries (recipe via Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole or low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 9 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) fresh raspberries
  • Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack positioned in the top third of the oven.
  2. Sift together flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In another large bowl beat eggs until creamy and yellow. Whisk in buttermilk, vanilla, 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, and butter (mixture will look curdled and broken). Slowly add flour and whisk until batter is smooth and combined.
  3. Spray 8 standard-size (3-ounce) nonstick muffin pan cups with nonstick cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin pan cups, filling about two-thirds full. Transfer to oven and bake until sides of cakes are evenly browned (check by inserting a knife tip between the rim of cake and muffin cup, pulling gently to expose side of cake), about 9 minutes. If cakes are not evenly browned, they will not hold together when inverted. Continue baking, checking every minute, until evenly browned.
  4. Meanwhile, place raspberries in a medium bowl; add remaining 4 tablespoons sugar and gently toss to coat.
  5. Invert cakes onto eight individual plates. Place berries on top and alongside cakes; serve with whipped cream, if desired.
Thanks to my girlfriends Libby, Summer, Alena and Deanna for a fun night!  
And thanks to Alexia Foods for sponsoring this dinner party.  Check out the fall-inspired dinner party I threw with more fabulous Alexia products and an awesome menu.

Disclaimer:  I am being compensated for partnering with Alexia Foods as an Alexia Tastemaker.  This partnership allows me to try their new products and incorporate their food into my everyday life and entertaining.  All the opinions are my own.  

3 comments:

  1. It looks amazing & very delicious! I am a wee bit jealous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The food was so yummy! We had WAY too much as always (not complaining about it) but it was such a good time !

    Libby

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh man, invite me next time! YUMMO!

    ReplyDelete