pasta

Tips for Hosting a Successful Dinner Party

I recently held a backyard bbq dinner party to celebrate the changing of the seasons in partnership with Cascade Platinum #sparklingclean.

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I had the opportunity to put the product to the test and I must say, I’m impressed! Not only did it remove the hard, cooked on food residue, it left all of my dishes sparking clean!

In order to host a successful dinner party, there are a few rules that are important to follow in my repertoire.  I’ve hosted numerous parties, whether they’re fancy affairs or simple gatherings, it all boils down to a few essential steps and making sure you’re always prepared.  I share my views with fellow Chef, Michael Smith who offers a few essential entertaining tips below:

1. Spend Time To Save Time:
Prep as much as you can in advance, from setting the table to prepping food. This allows you      to spend more time with your guests entertaining, instead of being in the kitchen.

2. Make Your Guests Feel Special:
It’s important to go the extra mile in making your guests feel special.  I love to decorate the house with fresh flowers, music, lovely table setting and sparkling dishes.

3. Clean As You Go:
While cooking, load the dishwasher so that you don’t have to do all the clean up after. This saves time and with Cascade Platinum, you don’t need to worry about pre-rinsing.

4. Share The Work:
Lighten the load and enlist the help of your guests if possible, this will help ensure the party runs smoothly between courses.

5. Grand Finale:
End the evening with a bang! Perhaps with a spectacular dessert, sparkling Champagne or a little gift for your guests, making the night memorable.

Here are a few highlights from our delicious backyard bbq dinner party. I’m so happy that my cleanup was made easy with the help of Cascade!

Rhubarb Lemonade:
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Marinated Garlic and Rosemary Lamb:
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Roasted Potatoes:
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Papaya Chicken with Roasted Cashews:
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Roasted Vegetables:
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Mexican Corn:
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Fire Grilled Jumbo Shrimps with Cilantro and Chipotle:
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Fresh Feta Salad:
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Mint and Cilantro Gremolata:
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*This post was sponsored by Cascade. All opinions are my own.

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Roasted Mushroom and Chèvre Tart

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This recipe was originally featured on The Society.

Roasted Mushroom and Chèvre Tart Recipe:

1 sheet of Puff pastry (you can use store bought, thawed)
1 1/2 cups white mushrooms, rinsed and bottoms trimmed, (thinly sliced)
1 cup cremini mushrooms, rinsed and bottoms trimmed, (thinly sliced)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350g goats cheese (Chèvre)
2 tblsp Olive oil
Fresh cracked pepper
Maldon sea salt or fleur de sel
Sprigs of fresh thyme
Flat leaf parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper

1. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle and place on parchment lined sheet.

2. In a small bowl combine half of the goats cheese and the crushed garlic and then spread a thin layer on top of the puff pastry.

3. Arrange the sliced mushrooms lengthwise (in approx 5 columns, as shown in the picture) on top of the goat cheese and sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1 tblsp olive oil and thyme.

4. Spirnkle the remaining goat’s cheese on top (in small dallops) and lightly drizzle the entire tart with olive oil.

5. Top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

Bake approx 30 min until puff pastry has risen and the tart is golden brown.

Just before serving, top with fresh, chopped parsley. Enjoy!

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Chicken & Kale Meatballs

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1 small bunch of kale
4 shallots
5 garlic cloves
454 grams of ground chicken
Salt
Pepper
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp herbs de Provence
1 tblsp olive oil
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
1 piece of toast,  crumbled

2 tblsp olive oil

In a small food processor,  pulse the kale, shallots,  and the garlic.

In a large bowl add the ground chicken,  salt, pepper,  sugar, ground cumin, red chili powder, and herbs de Provence.  Mix well with gloved hands.   Add the kale mixture, 1 tblsp olive oil, chopped parsley and the breadcrumbs.  Combine well and shape into desired meatball size. Place onto a large plate.

In a deep, heavy skillet, heat up 2 tblsp olive oil and add the meatballs.  Fry until bottoms are golden and then turn until evenly browned.
Add your favourite pasta sauce (I use my homemade Arrabiata sauce) and cook meatballs another 15-20 minutes.  Serve with pasta or with some crusty bread, enjoy! 🙂