Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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#26. Dinner Party

Cross off another item – #26 to host a dinner party! It wasn’t a “proper” dinner party – I don’t a big enough table in my apartment for everyone to sit, but it was homemade food and wonderful friends, which is all you need.

The hardest part about hosting dinner? Having all the food cooked and hot at the same time. Luckily, we have so many ways to cook things nowadays that it is a little easier. I made the cake early so it was done. Next you have to use the crock pot (obviously – do you know me?) – I started the roast. Then the sides I made simultaneously closer to dinner time, using the stove and oven.

Now, I consider myself a decent cook and baker. But it seems lately I have more and more kitchen blunders. It’s never anything major – only once has it completely ruined the dish (pumpkin pie on the floor). This time it was burned bacon (apartment filled with smoke, smoke detector beeping, throwing windows open and fans on, the whole nine yards), roast not completely cooking in the time it was supposed to, and cake (the entire thing) sliding off the plate. Luckily I was able to salvage about 5 pieces of bacon to crumble into the side dish, I finished off the roast in the oven while we waited for a couple more people to arrive, and only a small chunk of cake came off and I had extra frosting to mostly repair it! Guess I need to pay better attention and maybe not try new recipes when I cook for others.

Dinner party was great – I’d love to make it a fairly regular thing since I love cooking for people and just spending time with people I love. I’ll post the recipes this week too since they were delicious.

Dinner Party Menu

Appetizer: cheese! stilton w/ blueberries & apple smoked gouda; flat bread crackers

Entreé: pot roast

Sides: roasted brussel sprouts; garlic mashed potatoes

Dessert: flourless chocolate cake w/ strawberry frosting

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pot roast

pot roast

sides

sides

dessert

dessert

 

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Skinny Chicken Florentine

I have completed my 10th new recipe for my 30 before 30 list – #28! This is a great recipe I found on Skinny Mom by way of Pinterest: Skinny Chicken Florentine. Seriously what did we do before Pinterest?! I know it’s risky to make a new recipe when cooking for others, but I tend to take that risk a lot – especially since it hasn’t gotten me in big trouble yet. My coworker recently had a baby, so this was an easy and delicious dish to throw together for her and the family – just grab some bread, a salad kit, and some ice cream sandwiches and there’s a full dinner!

Of course I totally forgot it was a new recipe until I was done so I only have an end picture. It was a chicken-spinach-cheesy deliciousness (I made extra so I could have some too of course)!

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Sun In My Belly

No, it’s not a metaphorical description I came up with (I’m not that creative). It’s actually the name of a little cafe in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta. I had bought a great deal for a dinner for two, so I took my friend for her birthday. Think converted house in a cute neighborhood, cozy lighting, farmhouse-style furniture and decor. Adorable. The deal included a glass of wine or beer, salad, entrée, and shared dessert. We each chose a wine – they have a decent list – and a salad. I got the Geisha salad – very fresh, with almonds, mandarin oranges, blueberries, pickled red onion, and ginger vinaigrette.

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For my entrée I went with the meatloaf. I had actually craved meatloaf recently and had almost made it one night. It’s definitely a comfort food and you forget how good it can be! And there are so many variations on the basic recipe. This one was served with warm grape tomato jam, fresh garlic green beans, and parmesan mashed potatoes. It was delicious.

simb meatloaf

I’d definitely recommend this place – it would be great for a date night or a girls night. I’ve heard they have good brunch also, so I’ll have to check that out sometime!

 


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Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner this weekend was actually Saturday dinner. And it’s comfort food edition – with a twist. Beef stroganoff was a staple dinner growing up. I love my mom’s version and it was easy and fast for a family, but I wanted to find a version with more fresh ingredients. I found one from Publix (their Simple Meals are really great). We also had asparagus a lot, which I love, but I did it fresh: Parmesan Roasted Asparagus.

I also hate having one part of the meal ready way before the others (good thing I don’t have to host a holiday meal) – so I try really hard to have everything ready at the same time. I started by prepping the asparagus so I could just throw it in the oven. Then prepping for the stroganoff.

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Then I started the pasta and the stroganoff: sautéing, cooking, combining.

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I added a little Worcester sauce – it was always in mom’s recipe and I like the flavor. Next time I’ll also use a little less beef broth – it was a little more soupy than I like. I let it simmer for a little while to thicken up. Serve the stroganoff up over noodles – usually egg noodles – or rice works too. I had rotini, which I think I actually like better than the egg noodles.

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Both recipes were delicious and there are plenty of leftovers! (It’ll feed about 6 people)

 


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Sunday Dinner

This is leftovers edition! Last week I made my favorite crock pot taco chicken. I fed about 6 people and still had a ton left over. I’m not always a huge fan of leftovers, but this recipe is great because you can make so many different meals using the chicken.

So on this rainy Sunday, I flipped through my new favorite cookbook and found an easy chicken enchilada recipe. It called for plain cooked chicken so I think mine ended up being even better. And I added spinach since I had some to use.

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my new favorite cookbook

There was some mixing,

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some assembling,

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some topping,

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some baking and some more topping,

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and bam. Dinner is served with rice and guacamole (the best mexican condiment).

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Next time I’ll probably use a little more salsa topping before baking. But overall a delicious and very easy meal.


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Sunday Dinner

Again, Sundays may be my favorite day. And cooking dinner is the perfect to wrap up the weekend. This week I pulled a recipe from Pinterest – I wanted something different. Sausage is something I never cook with – so I went with this Smoked Sausage, White Bean, and Spinach Pasta. It was very easy.

A little prep.

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Some cooking and combining (sorry, missed some pics).

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And viole! I was a little worried about the proportions but they seemed to be ok by the end. And I ended up transferring it to a large pot to combine everything. The spinach obviously cooks down but it made it much easier to stir everything together.

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The taste was a little bland – I added a pinch of red pepper flakes to mine and added even more for lunch the next day. I personally didn’t love the texture of the white beans – they got a little too soft while cooking. Next time I’ll either add them at the end or leave them out all together. But overall this was good dish and it serves about 6 people if you’re feeding a family, group, or yourself for mutltiple meals!


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#58. Dinner by Candlelight

Your initial thought to “dinner by candlelight” is probably romance, couple, date. But not always so. #58 on my 101 list was completed this weekend by accident. I was with my fellow staff members and our summer interns for an incredibly fun 2 days at the lake. We spent all afternoon in the sun, on the boat, on the dock, tubing, and having a great time. The family hosting us was so kind enough to cook dinner and it ran a little later than planned (which was fine after many much chips and queso to hold us).

We ate a lovely dinner, all together, on the screen-in porch on a beautiful night with candles on the table and glass jar candle lights above our heads. It was a nice winding down after a lot of sun and delicious food at that! In my opinion, a perfect dinner by candlelight!

(I took a couple pictures….can’t see people without the flash, but can’t see candles with the flash! So you get both!)