Throughout my university and early dating years, the holidays were dedicated for house parties with close friends! We would take turns hosting parties where we sing karaoke, play board games, Mah Jong and video games until the wee hours. Good old times! With this type of party, food usually was the least important. Everyone just wants more time to play so we would just order in pizza and wings!
Most of us have kids now, so it is harder to have parties like this. But it doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t have house parties any more. We just have to modify the way we party. Like we can start early and finish earlier and instead of ordering take-out, I would go with this healthier homemade baked chicken wings with a fresh salad.
If you are having a house party, give these wings a try. You will never turn back to ordering take-out. Especially when making these could be faster than waiting for take-out!
When I have a large guest list, I would choose to host a cocktail party. It is understood that a full meal won’t be served, instead there will be a number of hors d’oeuvres and drinks. The focus of this type of party is the company. People usually mingle and catch up with others they haven’t seen for a while.
In terms of food, cocktail parties are all about presentation! That’s why I highly recommend this roasted acorn squash with chicken and wild rice stuffing as one of your dishes. Not only will the half acorn squash make the presentation interesting, the stuffing will wow everyone!
- To make this vegetarian, just omit the chicken.
- To serve this as part of the buffet table at a cocktail party, get the biggest acorn squash you can find.
When I have a small get-together of 6-8 people, I usually like to do a roast. The prep work is very minimal. After I prep it, which takes no time at all, I just pop the roast into the oven and the aroma will fill the room as I set the table and do the decorations to get ready for the party.
I’ve chosen this beef roast because all sides are incorporated into the roast. The tender roasted red potatoes and the sweet carrots with fresh spinach go perfectly with the beef. The combination of thyme, rosemary and bacon topper is just incredible! The other great thing about a roast is that everyone can choose how well done they want their meat to be. The outer edge pieces are usually well done, while the centre is medium rare. I am sure once you serve this, you will leave your guests hungry for more!
When I am hosting a party, food selection is one of the biggest challenges, especially when I have a really diverse guest list. My mother for one only likes Eastern food and the younger generation usually prefers Western. As a good host, I always want to make sure that all my guests feel comfortable by finding at least some familiarity in one of the dishes, yet I want to be able to enjoy the party myself without slaving in the kitchen. So I need to come up with a plan. The most worrisome cuisine is the Eastern as most of the dishes were quite labour intensive. That’s why I’ve chosen this Coconut Ginger Chicken because it covers most of Asia and it can be done in a slow cooker. It can also be paired with any baguette, naan, pita or rice.
- To use the slow cooker, after you sear the chicken transfer them to the slow cooker and add everything else. Set it for 3-4 hours on low and 2-3 hours on high.
When I had a pot luck party to attend I always ended up bringing a salad of some sort. Apparently I was the only one who cared for salads. Everyone else preferred meats, pasta and snacks. If I wasn’t going to bring a salad, there wouldn’t be any. I loved salads; I felt that a meal wouldn’t be complete without some sort of vegetables or salads. The great news was that I never had to fight anyone for bringing a salad. However, it was always a challenge for me because I wanted my salad to be liked and eaten by everyone. So I was always on the search for new salad ideas.
When I found this asparagus tomato orzo salad, I thought it was perfect because of the colourful red tomatoes and green asparagus just in time for Christmas! It is really easy to make and you can make them in advance and chill it! It will go with pretty much any meat dish! Instead of bringing frozen pizza or boxed chicken wings, why not bring this lucky salad to your next pot luck?! I guarantee you that it will get the attention.
This Week is the first week of December which means the holidays are near. I know everyone will have lots of dinner parties to attend and host. To help you out, this month you will find lots of ideas for entertaining guests within your meal plans. All you have to do is to increase the portions when you cook them. I will also be including a bonus hors d’oeuvres recipe here and there with the holiday themes. Keep an eye out for them and let the countdown begin!
Here’s the meal plan for this week:
Steak with Asparagus & tomatoes Orzo Salad
Coconut Ginger Chicken with Naan
Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
Baked Asian Wings with Edamame Salad
Check your pantry
The following items should already be in your pantry. However, just double check to avoid a second trip to the grocery store.
Wild rice mix
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Red wine vinegar
Coconut milk (10oz)
Salt & Pepper
1 bunch Asparagus
2 medium Acorn squash
1 Red pepper
3 cups Baby spinach
1 lb Baby carrots
1/2 lb Small red potatoes
1 Red onion
2 Small Onions
3 Inches of Ginger
10 Cloves of Garlic
2 tablespoons Fresh Parsley
1 tablespoon Cilantro
1/4 Cup Dried cranberries
1 Cup Frozen vegetables (of your choice)
1 Cup Edamame (shells removed)
International & Ethnic
4 Naan (ready to bake)
Jams & Preserves
1/4 cup Blackberry jam (or other berry jam)
15 oz Butter beans (or your family favorite)
1 can Baby corn cobs
3 tablespoons Orange juice
Meat & Poultry
4 Slices Bacon
2 to 3 lbs Beef Chuck Roast
4 x 6-8oz Steak
2 lbs Chicken thighs
2 1/2 lbs Chicken Wings (tips removed, drumettes and flats separated)
1 lb Skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1/2 Cup of Pecans
When I found out that my nephew Kyle was coming for a sleepover on Friday, I thought what better time to make chicken fingers and yam fries than this. When I put this meal together, I wanted the kids to be able to eat with their hands because this meal was all about touch and texture. The chicken fingers were soft and tender while the fries were crunchy and sweet. They absolutely loved it!
- To cut down time, prepare salad in advance and chill it.
- You can also pre cut the yams and chicken.
When it comes to fish, everyone usually thinks it is either smelly, tasteless or boring. I thought we could use this opportunity to make a fish dish that will taste good not just to the adults, but kids too. Therefore this meal is all about the sense of smell! The butter keeps the salmon moist while the herbs give it flavour.
I wasn’t sure if Glee was going to eat it, so I made the wild rice with her favourite sugar snap peas for the sides. When the fish came out of the oven, she smelled it and she was willing to giving it a try and she loved it!
- You can use any herbs you want as long as the butter base stays the same. It will taste just as good.
Glee is picking up everything we do now. She once saw Huan twirling his spaghetti with a fork before eating it; from then on, she always tries to twirl anything spaghetti like. So I took this opportunity to give her her own plate of spaghetti for twirling. Boy! Was she ever happy?!
I focused on fun for this meal. We sat at the dinner table twirling spaghetti together. She would start saying, “twirl, twirl, twirl!” as she was twirling. Once she had it on her fork, she would say “I did it!” and we all cheered for her. Then we would say, “yum….yum, yum, yum!” and she would repeat and start eating the spaghetti. She was so happy and absolutely adorable!
- This meal is extra easy to prepare because you already have your Meat Sauce done from the lasagna meal.
- If you want it to be healthier, you can replace the spaghetti with whole wheat spaghetti.
This meal is focused on tastes and textures. While the juicy pork tenderloin gives it a salty taste, the apple toppings balanced it with a sweet and sour taste. I even added the corn to the mashed potatoes to give it texture and that extra little surprise element when Glee takes a bite. I know Glee loves corn, so that also gives reassurance that it will be a successful meal for the family.
- When I serve the apple toppings on Glee’s plate, I took the time to pick out only apples for her. The tarragon and shallots might be too strong for her, so I just left it for the adults. She ended up eating the apples anyway.