Dinner Party #1 – Ann Marie Cooks

Dinner Party 1. Menu Planned. It’s all ready. Theme, Italian.  Simple. Easy. The idea is to make something good, that everyone will love. Everyone loves pasta, and it’s so easy to make. In total, we had about 10 people over. This was my very first dinner party besides cooking for family, so I was very nervous and excited. Normally my mom is in the kitchen or I am cooking for no more than 4 others. The menu is as follows:


-Chopped veggies and dip (always a hit and everyone loves them). Make sure to chop up some extras in case you run out, we used grape tomatoes, carrots, celery, and cucumbers. We also got a dill veggie dip that was store bought, but if you’re feeling like homemade is best, here’s an awesome recipe from Allrecipes.com: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Dill-Vegetable-Dip/Detail.aspx  Trust me, you’ll love it!

-Zesty Lemon Foccicia The bread I made was a simple recipe out of the bread machine, let the dough rise, flour your hands and stretch the dough out like a pizza. I like the foccicia thin ( it will rise in the oven). Once ready, time to season.

1/4 cup Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

red pepper flake

1 medium sized garlic clove, chopped fine

Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Wisk together ingredients and spread on the dough, cook until slightly golden on top, about 6-8 minutes. Slice when warm into strips, and serve with goat cheese.

Main Course-

-Spicy Roma Tomato Sauce with Artichokes and Parmesan Cheese

4 Garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped (add more or less to taste depending on what you like)

1/2 of a small vidalia onion chopped fine

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1/2 cup of your favorite red wine

2- 3 fresh ripened Roma tomatoes, chopped and de-seeded

1  large can of diced roma tomatoes (We used two large cans for 10 people)

1 can of artichoke hearts

4-6 leaves of fresh basil, chopped

1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 lb of linguine (2 lbs for 10 people)


In a large pot on medium-low heat, add olive oil, once heated add onions, saute for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add garlic, cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir in red wine. Let cook down for 5-7 minutes. Add chopped tomatoes, half the basil and canned diced tomatoes. Let cook down for 30 minutes, or until a thick sauce (sauce will be watery at this time, you’ll want to cook it down so a lot of the water evaporates).

In another large pot cook linguine as directed until al dente. Drain all but 1 cup of the pasta water. Pour Linguine in with the pasta sauce and mix in over heat. stir until sauce fully coats the pasta. Add in freshly grates parmesan or have your guests add it themselves.




-Romaine Salad

2 heads of Romaine Lettuce

1/2 cup of chopped red onion

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

2 chopped tomatoes

1 tblsp of Pimentos

Salt and Pepper to taste (the key to a good salad)

Fresh grated cheese (Pick your favorite.. we used parmesan)


Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup Olive oil

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp of balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

-Garlic Bread

1 loaf of french bread, sliced in half and sliced down the center

Pre heat over to 350 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on the top of the bread. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake on a sheet pan until cheese is melted and bubbly.

-Grandma’s Spiedini

2lbs of boneless, skinless chicken

1-2 cups olive oil

2-3 cups of breadcrumbs

1 cup diced tomato

1/2 cup onion

1 cup romano cheese. cut in small slices

2 tblsp of butter.

Chicken, before it cooking

Slice chicken into 2 inch wide strips, put chicken in a ziplock bag and flatten with a mallet or the bottom of a glass, until desired thinness (about 1/4 inch thick). Dip chicken in olive oil, then in bread crumbs. Add onion, tomato, and romano cheese. Roll chicken up and put in a baking pan. Top with bits of butter. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden.




Ok, I made brownies out of the box, I admit it. It was a definite time saver. They were yummy though!







This was a very good basic first menu. All in all I would say it was successful.  I plan on getting more technical later, but prepping and organizing really allowed me to enjoy the dinner party and catch up with friends. Next time, Steve will be cooking…Stay tuned!



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