Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shower Part 1: The Food!

This past weekend I hosted a shower for my aunt who is getting married in October. Arguably, the most important part of a party, especially in the MN, is the food! I took that as a challenge!

To start, I created a spread that I was proud of.

Don't you see the contentment on my face?!

And to top off our beautiful spread, what better than to give food as a favor also! We decided to make mini loaves of friendship bread. My grandma helped me prepare for the shower and while she was able to bake during the day, that doesn't make such a favor off limits for those of us who work during the day. My philosophy while prepping for this shower, and ones I have hosted int he past, was to think of the effect that it would have on individuals, not just the bride. Everyone loved getting to go home with a baked treat! (And like I said, we are from the MN...everyone loves sweets and better yet, free food!)

We added a cute note of appreciation too! Our theme was a mixture of three words: summer, simple, country. I would say we pulled that off pretty well, but I will leave the details for another post!

Aside from the usual attendees at summer parties (fruit, crackers, cheese and meat) I decided to whip up two salads, one being a chicken salad to make sandwiches, and the other being a pasta salad to accompany it.

I wanted to share the recipes as the chicken salad was delicious! And the pasta salad was created by yours truly!

Chicken Salad (Adapted from online research)

2.5 cups cooked chicken diced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup grapes, halved
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 bunch green onion chopped
1/2 cup mayo
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients and chill overnight.

We doubled the recipe to make more, so instead of having to bake another small chicken, I picked up a rotisserie chicken for the second batch. Just a tip: This tasted wonderful and was easy! I will be going the rotisserie chicken route the next time I do this!

The second salad was a combination of Internet research, and personal preference!

Summer Pesto Caprese Salad

1 lb pasta (any shape!)
4 oz. pesto
3 tbsp garlic Olive oil (or add garlic to your saute pan if you use olive oil)
3 cups cherry tomatoes
Italian seasoning mix
8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan

Cook pasta. While this is cooking, saute tomatoes in olive oil. Once they have cooked, mash them up into a sauce. Once pasta has cooked, rinse with cold water to chill. To pasta, add tomato sauce, 4 oz. pesto, fresh mozzarella, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste! Let it chill over night to flavors can develop.
All plated up!

Finish the party with some sweet treats! We had pistachio dessert (sorry, no photo), store bought cupcakes that were delicious, and cookies I had made from refrigerated dough and those packs of dry mix you can get in the baking aisle (hey, what can I say? It was crunch time towards the end!)

My best and most sound advice when preparing for a party...prepare everything ahead of time! Get everything cut up, placed on trays, and what have you the night before. We even prepared the trays with olives and pickles and just wrapped them in saran wrap! And notice my cookie tins? Such a time saver! I had those babies lined up all pretty Thursday night! And good thing, cause we had not a minute to spare prior to the party!

Hope you enjoy the recipes and advice! I think hosting a party can be a really enjoyable experience! I just hate the cleanup!

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