Impromptu Dinner Party

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on August 8, 2011

I wasn’t comfortable having people over for dinner before starting the blog. I always thought the meal would end up burnt, undercooked, or just plain bad tasting.

But like they say, practice makes perfect. While I might not be perfect, I am definitely a lot more confident. Plus, it doesn’t hurt having a blog filled with a collection of my favorite recipes to fall back on.

When my sister invited herself and her boyfriend over for dinner last night I knew I had what it took to whip up something pronto.

And if all else failed, we knew the dogs would keep them entertained…

The menu

The goal was to find quick recipes that I could prepare in the morning, refrigerate and whip out when I needed them.

In total, I spent 1 hour prepping in the morning and 30 minutes throwing stuff in the oven/ice cream maker before their arrival. Mission accomplished.

It was a bright and sunny day today so I wanted the table to pop with color. I grabbed a bunch of random bright colored bowls and mats from the creativity room and dressed up the table for the season.

I knew I wanted to serve yams to get rid of the collection we seem to have started over our last couple of grocery runs. 4 bags of yams in the house is just not good for anyone involved. If it were up to me I’d make one huge batch of mashed yam and live off it for 2 weeks. Gosh that stuff is killer… but I digress.

I was stumped on how to prepare these… until I remembered my omega crouton recipe. Omega yams?

Oh heck yes.

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Slow Baked Omega Yams

Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

Omega croutons meet yams. My gosh, I should have made more of these!

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized organic yams, cubed – yield about 4 cups or so
  • 3 tbsp flax seed
  • 3 tbsp shelled hemp seed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp herbamare
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
  2. Place everything but yams in a big mixing bowl. Stir to combine, then add cubed yams. Stir to coat before laying out on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 95 minutes, or until tender on the inside and a bit crunchy on the outside.

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I wanted to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, so I decided to slow roast the chicken too. I threw it in about 10 minutes after the yams went in. To make life even easier, I used our digital turkey thermometer [Superstore - $9.99] and set it to beep when the temperature hit 180F.

Dinner couldn’t get any easier.

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Herby Chicken Rub

Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free

Douse your chicken in herbs!

Ingredients

  • 2 full organic chicken breasts – 4 servings
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp yeast free vegetable bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tsp herbamare
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 dried rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp marjoram

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a casserole dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all spices and oil. Rub over top of the chicken before placing in casserole dish [lid off] and throwing in the oven until cooked to an internal temperature of 180F.

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Ice cream is one of the easiest desserts to prepare ahead of time. I made the chocolate mixture in the morning, then let it sit in the fridge for the day. 3 hours before they were heading over, I let our ice cream maker do the magic before dumping the ice cream in a glass container and allowing to freeze.

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Vegan Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Refined sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free

So creamy and so dairy free.

Ingredients

  • 3.5 cups lite unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tsp soy lecithin *see note

Directions

Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Ice cream maker style: place mixture in your ice cream maker and allow to churn until desired consistency is met.Place the ice cream in a freezer safe container and allow to freeze for 2-3 hours before serving.

Freezer style: pour into 2 freezer safe bowls and place in the freezer for at total of 1.5-2 hours, removing every 30 minutes to whisk so that it doesn’t set into an ice cube. When it gets to a soft serve ice cream consistency it’s done!

note: the lecithin thickens up the ice cream perfectly, giving it a very creamy consistency. Adding 1/8 tsp gelatine is great too, but the recipe would no longer be vegan.

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We had a perfect amount of food, conversation, ridiculous jokes…

and the ice cream wasn’t half bad either ;)

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga

“find quick recipes that I could prepare in the morning, refrigerate and whip out when I needed them.”

That right there is the key to dinner parties and entertaining!! No need to be making something really complicated when really, it’s the people/good times that matter most.

WEll, except for those amazing looking yams and the vegan ice cream!!!

And I love your friends’ nose ring. I used to have mine pierced ages ago!

Reply

Holly @ The Runny Egg

I too used to get so nervous for people to come over — but with time I’ve gotten more comfortable in the kitchen. Usually I just make my guacamole for an appetizer and it seems like no matter what I make for dinner, that is always the hit. The guac (but can you blame them? That stuff is always good).

I’m glad the party went well — I think I might have to invite myself over for dinner sometime :)

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free

Those Yams are making me drool!

And your sister looks just like you! Amazing!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

You are the only person in the world to say that! Everyone thinks we’re lying when we say we’re sisters!

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Stephanie

Well…now that I know that you’re open to having people invite themselves over for dinner…what are you doing next Friday? Could you please make me some yams?

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Oh, even with a meal request! I like it haha

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Aine @ Something to Chew Over

I want to come to your house for dinner!

The key is definitely to prepare as much in advance as you can – you don’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen when you have people over!

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Kristin @ eat healthy. be happy. live well

I love the idea of adding dates to the ice cream! What a great way to sweeten it up without using added sugar :)

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Meghanne

Soy lecithin! This is what my coconut milk ice cream recipes have been missing! Thank you :)

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Lisa @ Healthful Sense

Same here!! Before blogging my cooking skills were so limited. I’ve learned so much in such a short time and actually feel comfortable with cooking for groups of people now :) Added bonus of blogging right!!

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Caitlin

whoa! the omega yams sound AMAZING! i MUST make them asap!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

I love all of the herbs you used! Sage is one I don’t think of often, but love the flavor it adds.

Blogging has put the pressure on for me with dinner parties. I feel like my friends expect these crazy magical blogger concoctions. LOL!

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

haha and then they’re surprised with black bean brownies. Love that story!

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Jenny

I agree with other commenters: Can I come over for dinner sometime?! :)

Ahem. I’m with you on the sweet potatoes! Love myself some mashed sweet potato… It’s like a cloud of orangey, delicious, sweet goodness. (Hate to be a know-it-all, but I don’t think those are yams that you served… Have you looked up the difference between sweet potatoes and true yams before? Seems that what are really sweet potatoes are often labelled as yams – at least in North America!) This recipe for them seems like a surefire winner, though… All the healthy fats are just a bonus!

I’ll be looking forward to that cole slaw recipe…

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

Shoot, I always forget that a yam is a sweet potato and a sweet potato is a yam. Thanks for the reminder :)

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Tiff @ Love, Sweat and Beers

I’m sure they loved it. I know I would have!

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Kristina @ spabettie

the yams sound amazing – everything looks great and the table is pretty!

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Cara

My nondairy, sugar free ice creams keep turning out hard as a rock after freezing. Maybe a handful of cashews could be the solution? (I have been using guar gum too, which I think should have the same effect as gelatin or soy lecithin.)

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles

Three recipes in one post?? I need you to be my sister!!

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Clarkie @ Beloved Green

I love it! Impromptu dinner parties get two thumbs up in my book.

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chinmayie @ love food eat

Great spread! I love how it’s so simple yet complete! I am going to try this ice cream recipe!

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Ragnhild

That ice cream looks wonderful! I have made something similar, but I have used maple sirup as sweetner. I want to try it with dates now!
I love having friends over for dinner! Especially my not-picky-eating friends, they are way easyer to satisfy than the picky ones ;)

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Leanne (Healthful Pursuit)

You are so right on that one. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever tried sweetening my ice cream with maple. We’ll do a swap – you try dates and I’ll give maple syrup a go!

Reply

Jill

I like to dehydrate flax crackers and bring avocados and tomatoes to spread on top. Hummus, too!

Reply

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