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Monday, August 4, 2014

What's Cookin' in the Country?

Italian themed Dinner

Last week we had our celebration/completion dinner for our Apples of Gold.  There was a total of fourteen that came to celebrate the end of our six-week class.  What a wonderful time we had together!  It was so much fun to have some of the husbands here, too, to share in our time together.  It was a special evening with dear friends!


I enjoy fixing a meal with a theme.  The food, the music I played on my computer on Pandora, and the tables were (for the most part) Italian!  I tried to challenge myself to use only what I had, and not buy anything for the tables.  I tried to mimic the look of a typical Italian restaurant, with the red and white checked cloths.  I used white linen (I borrowed two cloths from my friend and fellow-mentor) on the tabletop, and the red checked on top so that the white could peek from beneath.  I had red cloth napkins, crystal glasses and mostly white plates.  Using Pinterest for a little inspiration, here is how the three tables ended up looking:

The breadsticks in a glass served as part of the meal AND the table decor!

Votive lights added to the ambiance.
Since it was still light at 6pm, I closed the blinds and curtains once we sat down to eat!

"Fresh" vegetables spilling from baskets were part of the decor.

From this angle you can see all three tables.
Even the counter top received the themed decor!
The menu:

Appetizer: 

Toasted Ravioli with tomato dipping sauce (*See recipe below)

Dinner:
Salad with Olive oil vinaigrette ~ Breadsticks
Homemade Bread 


Spinach Lasagna

I failed to get a picture of the appetizer, but you just need to trust me on this!  This is a great appetizer or entree'!  It's easy and so very delicious!

Toasted Ravioli
Packaged frozen Cheese Ravioli - Thawed
In a dish, combine seasoned bread crumbs and about half as much Parmesan cheese

In another dish, combine one egg and about 1/2 cup milk.

Dip ravioli in egg wash, then breadcrumbs.  Place in a medium hot skillet with a couple tablespoons oil.  Toast until golden.  Keep warm.  Serve with spaghetti sauce.

For dessert, we had Unfried Fried Ice cream, which is totally not Italian, but I thought it would be a lighter end to our heavy meal.  It's great for a party, because you do everything ahead of time, then simply serve toppings of choice at mealtime!


Un-fried Fried Ice Cream
Ingredients:
½ cup crushed pretzels (crush, then measure)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups vanilla ice cream (or favorite flavor) I think my favorite was the Choc chip Cookie Dough!

honey, caramel, or chocolate syrup for drizzling

Instructions:
Get a couple Muffin tins out and ready for ice cream scoops.
In a pie plate, mix together crushed pretzels, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Form ice cream balls using ½ cup of ice cream per ball.
Evenly coat each ice cream ball with pretzel mixture.
Place coated ice cream balls in muffin tins; cover and place in freezer to firm up.  After frozen solid, transfer to a freezer bag.
When ready to serve, drizzle with favorite topping if desired.

Do you ever do a theme for your family?  It's fun to mix things up a bit and play some fun music on Pandora that will add to the atmosphere of your food and table decor.  Why not surprise your family this week and create an atmosphere for one of your meals?  What fun memories you'll be making!

Have you ever done a theme for a meal or party?  I'd love to hear about it!

With love from my country kitchen,

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