Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Impromptu Dinner Party!

Last Friday I decided to call up Talon and invite her, as well as Ooka and Starr, over for dinner. I was in the mood to cook, so I needed people to share it with. I apologize in advance for my poor food photography skills. I really need to work on that. Any recommendations how to take better food pics?


The Menu:
- Italian Mozzarella Meatballs
- Parmesan Pesto Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Garlic Mushrooms and Asparagus
- Beefy Quinoa
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Pineapple

Italian Mozzarella Meatballs
Ingredients
12 tbsp gluten free italian breadcrumb mix
2 lbs grass-fed, organic ground beef
1.5 cup ketchup
1 large free-range egg
1 cup shredded italian blend or mozzarella cheese

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Using an ice-cream scoop, form the meat into balls and place on a large edged cookie sheet. Bake for 15 - 25 minutes, depending on the size.

Beefy Quinoa
My mom bought me a rice cooker last month, and I have fallen in love. Never again will I cook grains/seeds on the stove. But if you don't have a rice cooker, that's ok. Put 1 part quinoa into 2 parts beef broth in a large saucepan. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through - see picture for example. It's difficult to describe.

Parmesan Pesto Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients
1-2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbsp EVOO
4 tbsp Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle from Savory Spice Shop
Optional: Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Toss brussels sprouts in olive oil and parmesan pesto seasoning and put mix into a baking dish. Roast for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until brussels sprouts start to get crispy on the outside. Remove from oven and serve with optional extra parmesan cheese!

Garlic Mushrooms and Asparagus
Ingredients
1-2 pounds asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/2 pound cremeni mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp EVOO

Directions
Saute garlic in large skillet on medium heat with EVOO. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until soft. Add asparagus and beef broth. Cover, reduce to medium heat and steam for 10-15 minutes, or until aspargus is cooked to your liking. (I like them just a little crunchy)



Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Pineapple
I melt my chocolate in the microwave. It's really easy to do, the trick is to do it slowly. Usually I fill a coffee cup halfway with dark chocolate chips, microwave for 40 seconds, stir. If it's not completely melted, add another 10-20 seconds in the microwave, then stir again. Keep doing this until chocolate is melted.

I chopped a pineapple into bite size chunks, sliced the tops off the strawberries, and arranged on a large pan.I spooned the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag, snipped off a small corner, ans piped the chocolate over the fruit. This is easier than dipping - especially with the pineapple. It is wet, so the chocolate doesn't stick very well. When piped, it does.

Everyone loved dinner that night, and of course dessert was the biggest hit.

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