A few weeks ago, my good friend from San Diego mentioned that she and her family would be road tripping along the California coast all the way up to the Bay Area. Since D and I like to explore all around the Bay Area, I sent her an email with a list of some of our favorite things to see and do around the Bay. The last thing I listed was “Belmont – two friends, two cats, scrumptious food, fun times. ;-)”
I hoped that we would be able to see them on their journey, so imagine my surprise when she called on Sunday to say they would indeed like to come over for dinner on Tuesday. We had just gotten back from a wedding, so I quickly assembled a menu for a dinner that I could prepare on a week night after work:
Salad (baby greens, shredded carrots, pepitas, queso fresco, diced tomatoes, chopped avocado and vinaigrette from Simply Delicious)
Chicken Enchiladas from Cooking Light (this is a fave of ours and I have also made it as a care package for friends, I have decided that dipping the tortillas in oil is better than broth as they don’t disintegrate as you try to roll them up)
Spanish Rice (first time for this one and it was delish! 1/2 a recipe would probably be enough for 4 – 6 people, so we have plenty in freezer for later)
Frijoles Negros from Joy of Cooking
Our guests brought a yummy cheesecake for dessert. The night was lively and entertaining with good conversation and lots of fun watching their three girls have fun with our cat (only one came out to play).
Then time for dinner party part deux. We have a good friend that lives way across the Pacific in Japan. When he comes to town, we love to have him over for dinner and often he stays with us too. This week was the first time that we got to meet his lovely wife and new child. This dinner party was planned for Thursday many moons ago, so that is how we arrived at having two dinner parties in less than 48 hours.
I wanted the second dinner party to be just as manageable for a work night, so I planned it out to have some items that could be prepped ahead of time and some easy to toss together the night of the party:
Salad (spinach and baby greens mixed, baby grape tomatoes, red onion, Newman’s honey mustard dressing)
Penne with Sausage, Garlic, and Broccoli Rabe from Cooking Light
Apple Tart and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream from The Art of Simple Food
All in all I really enjoy entertaining. As my father-in-law said to me last year at Thanksgiving, “you enjoy cooking and it shows.” It was just about the best compliment that I have received about my cooking.