Scenes from a dinner party

Last saturday our friends Jenn and Travis came over for a dinner party and boy! did we have fun! Having friends over for dinner is one of my absolute favorite things to do-what is better than combining food and friends?! PLUS Jenn and Travis decided to spend the night so they brought over their oh-so-precious doggie Bailey. How can you not love that face?!

We started off the evening with a few of Michael’s famous cocktails (recipe coming soon!) and some appetizers (also coming soon!) we moved  onto the main course…

Our menu:

Harvest salad with fig vinaigrette and candied pecans

Rosemary and meyer lemon grilled chicken

Marinated vegetable kebabs

Fresh baked bread

Not too shabby huh?!

For salad we had one of my favorites, recipe can be found here. But because I wanted to make it even more special, I made some candied pecans and substituted them for the walnuts I usually put into the salad.

All you do to make these is to get about 3/4 Cup (or more) pecans. Toast in a skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant. Then add 2 T sugar and 2 T water. Cook until nearly all liquid is syrupy and pecans are totally coated. Pour onto parchment paper and let cool. So easy! And makes any salad extra special.

When I host friends for dinner, I like to have something that I don’t have to slave over in the kitchen. I mean, you have friends over so you can actually talk to them right? Not half listen as they tell you about their lives while really focusing on not burning whatever you have heated on the stove. The great thing about this chicken is that you can make it about 3 hours in advance and let it marinate, in fact, it is even better if you do!

Rosemary Meyer Lemon Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

5-6 sprigs rosemary, chopped

one meyer lemon

Salt & Pepper

Just make a paste with 5-6 sprigs of chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, the zest of one meyer lemon, and juice of half a meyer lemon. (Note: you can easily substitute regular lemon in the recipe, but I think the sweetness of the meyer lemon works so well with the chicken and the already lemony rosemary) Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and rub on rosemary paste. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead.

Because we were grilling the chicken (another dinner party tip: Grill! Make the men do the work!:) I decided to do a veggie that could be grilled as well. What is more fun then kebabs?! As my do ahead trick, I chopped everything up and put it in a big bowl to marinate.

Marinated veggie kebabs

2 red onions

2 yellow onions

2 large red bell peppers

1.5 pounds red potatoes

1/4 Cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 T dried thyme leaves

Chop all veggies except potatoes and place in a bowl with a lid. Pour over olive oil, salt & pepper, and thyme. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours. You can play with the addition of different herbs in this marinade, but I suggest using dried herbs if you are going to grill your kebabs because fresh herbs with burn right up!

The trick of these kebabs is in the potatoes

In order for the potatoes to be finished cooking at the same time as the other veggies, you need to par boil them ahead of time. Just slice the potatoes in half and cook in a big pot of boiling water for about 7 minutes. You don’t want them fork tender, but you do want to  give the cooking process a good head start since the veggies only take about 15 minutes on the grill.

Throw par boiled potatoes into the marinade with the other veggies. When you are ready, assemble your kebabs. Cook about 15 minutes over a hot grill, turning frequently until potatoes are fork tender and veggies are charred.

We had such a fun night! The food was great and since I did a lot ahead of time I got to spend most of the night catching up with good friends. We had a blast, but I am not sure Jenn and Travis will ever be coming over for dinner again since Michael and I beat them so bad at a game of pictionary after dinner :)

But I think we made up when we capped the night off with a batch of these..

Recipe coming tomorrow!! :)

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