I had some girlfriends over for a super casual dinner party this past Sunday evening since one of my best friends was in town from Columbus.
I mean, what is a better excuse to get circles of friends together than that?
I hardly even need a reason. I love to open up my home and host people, and I find I don’t do it as often as I like because I build them up in my head a bit and am sometimes afraid of meeting expectations… particularly your own.
Do you ever feel that way?
Your house isn’t clean enough or your fridge isn’t fully stocked or you’re just too stinking busy throughout the week to pull something elaborate off. So, we make excuses and we miss the opportunity to open up our homes, and our hearts, and encourage others, laugh, share, talk, play, plan.
It has been a busy work week and a very busy weekend as well, but I knew I wanted to cook a delicious, healthful, and sophisticated meal for these sweet ladies. So, I settled on some of my favorite, super-simple recipes that I have made dozens of times and don’t require a lot of prep time or a myriad of ingredients. Plus, they are recipes you are comfortable with and ones that don’t stress you out or make you anxious, so you can enjoy your friendships and the conversation rather than keeping too many plates spinning at once.
So, on my menu, I served my Goat Cheese & Basil Stuffed Chicken breasts, Wild Rice Pilaf, and a Simple Green Tossed Salad with homemade Champagne Vinaigrette.
Seriously, that is one of my very favorite chicken dishes and it couldn’t be simpler!
I am constantly thinking of other things you could stuff under the skin to create even more flavor, like perhaps adding sun-dried tomatoes to slices of mozzarella and fresh basil. Or, maybe some slices of citrus (oranges or lemons) and some fresh thyme or even rosemary would be delicious!
Alongside this delicious chicken, I served some wild rice pilaf I made on the stove top and served it alongside a perfect, simple green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette.
It’s tangy, a little sharp, and is a great accompaniment to mixed greens- whatever kind you have on hand!
People are always so impressed when you make your own vinaigrette, and honestly, it’s just as simple as going to the grocery store and purchasing a store-bought dressing.
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- Salad greens or mescalin mix for 6 to 8 people
I whipped up this dressing earlier in the day, or you could even do 1-2 days ahead of time, and then popped it in the fridge. Once my friends arrived, we tossed some pre-washed greens in a big bowl, tossed it with the vinaigrette and then embellished it with large shards or shavings of your favorite hard cheese. Parmesan or Asiago would be lovely here, but I had a sharp Manchego and went with that, since I had it on hand.
Again, this dinner is mean to be enjoyed and not stressed over.
Do you spy those yummy little salad tongs? They are Botanic Garden by Portmeirion, and I absolutely love them. All of their pieces are different plants and flowers mixed with greenery and fruit and they are all different, but match perfectly. I have dinner plates, the salad tongs, a serrated bread knife, and cake slice. I love them all- so whimsical.
Then, the remaining dressing can be popped back in the refrigerator and saved for later in the week. Pretty sure I am going to do another run at this meal at least once this week for my own pleasure.
Then, all that is left to do is dish up the chicken and rice, pour some sparkling water, and sit down to some lively conversation and loads of laughter.
We always have such a good time when we are together. And it’s never long enough.