Yesterday Adam and I hosted our first “official” bbq in our new place. We’ve had people over before but this time we actually took the cookout a little more seriously (read: I carefully planned the menu for the night and we invited all of our friends over). It was a lot of fun!
I have to say, I love entertaining but I still always feel like I’m walking the line between fearing that we won’t have enough food for everyone and also making sure that I don’t completely go overboard. A little bit of delegation this time around helped A LOT. My friend Katie was in change of one of the salads and Shannon took care of one of the desserts. Adam as always was responsible for a clean house and was also my sous chef. Everything went pretty smoothly once I finalized the menu. Menu planning is definitely one of my favorite parts of hosting. I love having an excuse to keep thinking about food.
- double tomato bruschetta with Iggy’s baguette (recipe here, I omitted the cheese, halved the oil and used dry packed sun-dried tomatoes… which of course I re-hydrated prior to cutting)
- chipotle lime two-bean hummus (recipe here, I nearly doubled the amount of lime juice and maybe tripled the amount of lime zest + added 1 chipotle – I really wanted the lime to stand out and the hummus to have a bit of a kick to it)
- mixed nuts (from Trader Joe’s – dry roasted, unsalted)
- 93% lean grass fed beef sliders (1/4t pepper, 1T Worchester sauce, 2T ketchup for each pound of beef)
- chickpea sliders (recipe here, this is my favorite veggie burger recipe of all time – I typically use less vital wheat gluten)
- black bean sliders (same recipe as chickpeas, sub different bean)
- teriyaki chicken (from Whole Foods)
Burger fix-ins + sides
- tomatoes, avocado, cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickled zucchini, sauerkraut, chipotle aoil
- salad with watermelon, tomatoes + feta (Katie made it)
- summer corn salad with tomatoes, black beans and jalapeno (recipe here, I used fresh corn (i.e. uncooked) and grape tomatoes + made substitutions based on reviewer Lanaiah’s suggestions)
- chocolate chip cookies (recipe here, I used choc chips, otherwise followed the recipe to the T)
- goat cheese cheesecake with raspberry fig puree (Shannon‘s creation, check out her blog for details!)
- sangria (recipe here, I subbed peach shnapps for triple sec and added fresh peaches and plums, no sugar)
- beer + wine (guests brought most)
How does that sound? I thought it was a pretty good plan.
I finalized the menu a few days prior to the party and made a detailed grocery list under 3 categories – farmers market, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. The day before the party we went to all three. Shopping for produce at the farmers market was so much fun!! I felt like I was a restaurant chef buying in bulk. Lugging all the stuff back was a bit of a different story… A good grocery list made shopping fairly quick too. We went in and out stores fast, leaving more time for prep the night before. I wanted to get as much done as possible so that I didn’t have to nix things last moment.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
First thing I made was the cookie dough. It needed 24 hours of chilling time which I didn’t even have so I made it as soon as I realized it. Tip on this particular recipe (which I HIGHLY recommend btw) – shape the dough into balls before freezing. It was rock hard the next day and I actually had to let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes before finally just using a super sharp knife to carve pieces out that I then shaped. You could save yourself that trouble (I will, because these may just become my “it” choc chip cookies. They are NOT healthy though. That was my one treat for the evening). Next up, I made THREE batches of sangria. Sangria really needs to chill at least overnight, letting all the flavors meld together. Adam thought I was crazy making so much of it but let’s just say we didn’t have any left by the end of the party. Yes, it was a hit. I love having a “party cocktail” available for guests, as well as the usual selection of beer + wine. Next up I thought the corn salad could use some “marinading” as well. I have to say that that was actually a mistake. It tasted amazing when I made it but the next day it was a little too cold – the fridge was not this salad’s friend. You live and learn, right? The last thing I did before hitting the hay was cut up all the veggies for dipping with hummus. At about midnight I called it a night. zzzzzz
THE DAY OF
No matter how prepared you think you are, time really flies the day of the party. I hit up a pilates class in the morning and then slaved in the kitchen until party time (I love cooking though so it was actually fun for me). I made the bruschetta mixture, the bean dip, then the veggie burgers, shaped the beef burgers, baked the cookies and cut up the fixins for the sliders. Adam cleaned, cut up the chicken and all the bread.
(I had a little mishap with the oven, btw, so they came out too flat but the flavor was still amazing. I have a few frozen dough balls so I’ll make a few soon and share with you how they really should look).
We had about 20 guests, including a few bloggers – Josh, Melissa, Tiffany and Shannon.
The apps + drinks were served outside, the slider fixins + dessert were inside….
After a little while, Adam fired up the grill!
Yes, I mean FIRED up.
I had one chicken slider + some corn salad. Don’t worry, there was plenty of bruschetta and hummus “tasting” as well.
Katie arrived a little later with the watermelon + feta salad. What an amazing combo. I can’t wait to recreate it! (sorry, the picture was atrocious, I’d rather have you use your imagination!)
Don’t forget the dessert! Half of the cookies were gone before we even served the burgers. Everyone LOVED them (including me!).
… and then there was Shannon’s cheesecake. I am a giant fan of goat cheese but was afraid it would be too tart in dessert form. Nope, pure perfection. It was light and airy and absolutely amazing. Like I said, go harass Shannon for the recipe!
Mmm, I love yummy parties. I’m going to say that everything was super flavorful and delicious. I’m patting myself on the back right now (haha) but of course I couldn’t do it without some of my helpers. What’s your favorite part about party planning? Also, any favorite recipes for a bbq? My goal was to keep it seasonal and as fresh as possible… and of course have some chocolate. This blog is called healthy and SANE for a reason. This girl needs her chocolate.