Friday, June 24, 2011

Jamilyn's Birthday Dinner...out under the stars.

For Jamilyn's 17th birthday Tony came up with the great idea of having a four-course meal outdoors. It was not any cheaper than going out to eat & it took alot of planning to make sure I had dishes for everything, which made for a fun, eclectic table.

At the end of the night Jamilyn said that it had been her favorite birthday so far so it made it all worth it. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

For our appetizer we had portobello mushrooms stuffed with feta & spinach.  It was the first time I had ever made these & I wondered why?  They are easy to put together & I really should do it more often. Here's the recipe link:

Next came mixed green salads with home-made strawberry vinaigrette dressing.  I also crumbled some goat cheese on top with some toasted pecans.  This was probably my favorite course.

The main course was a family favorite, a pasta dish that we affectionately call "Bowls of Heaven."  Here's the Pampered Chef link to that recipe:

Then for the final course, a very basic, easy sweet that Jamilyn loves!!  Butterfinger Dessert.  I made these in individual dessert dishes & they were adorable.,1813,155176-228198,00.html

I cooked 'til I couldn't cook anymore!

Today's farmer's market inspired me to the point that I came home & cooked until I was exhausted.  I started by marinating some deer for the grill & wrapping up some potatoes for baking.  While doing that I realized that I had some sweet potatoes left from a few months ago & I should bake one of those.  Then I looked at the huge candy onions sitting on my counter from today's market - with the sweet potatoes now beside them & remembered the "sassy sweet potato salad" that we fell in love with last fall.  

So, I started that process....chunking up the sweet potatoes & onions - opening up a can of pineapple tidbits & then tossing all of that with some balsamic vinegar & brown sugar.  Here's how that looked before roasting in the oven.

These never became "Sassy Sweet Potato Salad" because they were so wonderful just roasted straight out of the oven that we ate them up!  They were, in mine & Tony's opinion, the best thing on the plate.

I also took these eggs, from today's farmer's market:

And this basil, from a friend's garden (thanks Dana!):

...and made an amazing frittata.  I wasn't really planning on us eating that much of the frittata for supper, but I was thinking more about going ahead & baking it with the potatoes & then having it for breakfast in the morning, since we are all leaving early for the ballpark.  But, as they say about all best laid plans, they don't always work out - there's only about a quarter of the frittata left now.

Truth is, I loved every minute of cooking tonight.  Our son worked with me for quite awhile in the kitchen & that is always the greatest time!  I hope he grows up & cooks with his kids too...especially when the great summer vegetables start coming in.