Not to brag, or anything, but I got right on that New Year’s resolution to host more dinner parties. As a matter of fact, I hosted one the night before that post was published (Ba-ha-ha. Delayed publishing. Just one of the many tricks of the blogger’s world.)
A few months ago, I offered to host my Faith Club’s annual Christmas party. At this time, our group was fairly small–we regularly had about 5-6 women. Well, over the past few months, as word spread about our group’s awesomeness, more and more people began to join us. We now have about 12 regular attendees. I started to get a little nervous thinking about all these people dining in my one-bedroom apartment, but knew I could make it work.
Luckily, a few people couldn’t make it that night. (Just kidding, ladies, we missed you!). It was a tight squeeze, but with the help of my mom’s card table and some borrowed folding chairs, we all fit around the table!
I spent the day cleaning, setting up chairs, moving furniture, and cooking. I found some empathy for mothers who complain about their house not staying neat for very long. Every time I turned around, there was stuffing from another chew toy, dirty clothes, or tennis shoes strewn around the room.
Since I have yet to purchase any Christmas dishes (next year, I’m snapping up a set of Target’s plastic plates early!), and my Fiestaware is about as far from Christmas-colored as possible, I went the paper plate route. (I know, I know. Not exactly fancy.) And, with nine place settings on a teeny-tiny table, there wasn’t much room to get fancy with the decor. However, I did dress the table up with some patterned napkins, and Christmas-y drinkware.
Then came the food. I decided to go the soup/salad route. I provided two soups, while friends brought salads, bread, and desserts. We ended up with quite a delicious spread. And, I must say, my soups were pretty popular. I made two choices–one, a veggie-based soup, and the other, a cheesy, creamy-based soup. (But, you know me–they’re both healthy and low-cal!)
So, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to introduce… (drumroll, please…)…
I plan to post about our hits and misses on recipes throughout the year, but I know it can be hard to find exactly the post you’re looking for when you’re searching through a blog. So, I wanted to create a resource for you. Come back to the this page any time to find recipes (or links to recipes) of some of our favorites.
All in all, I was very pleased with my dinner party. Yes, someday I’ll look back and remember how everyone had to sit in their chair at an angle because nobody’s legs could fit under the table. But that’s life in a one-bedroom apartment for you… and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Hearty Minestrone Soup
- 2 cans (18.7-oz each) tomato with basil soup
- 1-2 cans water
- 1 bag (approx. 5 cups) frozen mixed vegetables
- 1 bag (approx. 3 cups) frozen zucchini & yellow squash
- 2 cups cooked pasta (I used small shells)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- french fried onions (optional)
Combine all ingredients except onions in slow cooker. Heat until serving temperature. If desired, serve with onions sprinkled on top!
Nutrition information (per serving, without onions): 109 calories, <1g fat, 22g carbohydrates, 4g protein
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup
Serves: 2 (I tripled the recipe for my Christmas gathering)
- 1/2 C chopped onion
- 3 oz. pared potato, diced
- 1 C each, water & skim milk
- 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- dash each white pepper and ground nutmeg (I used black pepper and ground ginger–because that’s what I had!!)
- 1 C frozen cauliflower, cooked until tender-crisp
- 2 oz. 2% American cheese
- 1 Tbs chopped parsley
In 2-qt. saucepan combine onion & potato; add water, cover pan, and bring liquid to a boil. Cook over high heat until potato is tender-crisp, 5-7 minutes.
In small bowl, combine milk & flour, stirring until flour is dissolved. Stir milk mixture into potato mixture; add salt if desired, pepper, & ginger and mix well. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is smooth and thick, 5-10 minutes. Add cauliflower, cheese, and parsley to saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and cauliflower is cooked through, 2-3 minutes.
Nutrition information (per serving): 228 calories, 4.5g fat, 14g protein, 35g carbohydrates