Sunday, November 5, 2017

Dinner Party

Truth be told, I did not actually throw a dinner party this week! My youngest son has been home sick with a cold and I've been home bored. So (thanks to Kroger Clicklist) I decided to recreate a Christmas Day dinner menu I made a few years ago that would be perfect for the upcoming holiday season. Enjoy!

These potato cakes can be prepped ahead and then cooked the day of your event. You'll need one potato and 1 oz. of mozzarella per person. I used a potato ricer for these, but I totally wouldn't recommend buying one because I hardly ever use mine! And feel free to experiment with toppings. I'm actually getting kind of tired of pesto these days and I was thinking these would be great topped with marinara or even chimichurri or pico de gallo that could double as a steak accompaniment!

Serves 8
8 russet potatoes
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
8  oz. fresh mozzarella
Cooking spray
Pesto for serving
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bake potatoes for 1 hour or until very soft. Let sit until cool enough to handle. 
2. Scoop out potato flesh and discard skins. Pass potato through a potato ricer or the large holes of a box grater (carefully!). Season with salt and pepper and form into 16 equal patties. Cut half of cheese into 8 equal slices and use box grater to shred the other half of cheese. Set shredded cheese aside. Place one slice of cheese in the center of one potato patty and place another patty on top. Shape into a smooth potato cake. Repeat to form 8 cakes. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead or proceed to step 3.
3. Preheat broiler with rack 3-4 inches from heat source. Heat an electric griddle to 325 degrees or heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Cook potato cakes for about 6 minutes per side until nicely browned. 
4. Arrange cakes on baking sheet and sprinkle with reserved shredded cheese. Broil a minute or two until cheese melts and starts to brown. Top with pesto.

My aunt and uncle introduced me to this steak marinade and my family loves it! It's really flavorful and makes a nice crust on the steak.

Serves 4
1 lb. flank steak
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce
1 1/2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
Liberally poke flank steak with a fork on both sides. Combine Worchestershire sauce, olive oil, balsamc vinegar, and 1/8 t. salt and pour over steak in a a shallow baking dish or plastic bag. Marinade in refrigerator overnight. Let steak come to room temperature while you heat a grill pan (or outdoor grill) over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Discard marinade and generously season steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill about 4 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness. Let rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain.

This is a simple, tasty recipe that can easily be prepared while the potato cakes and steak cook.

Serves 4
1 baguette* cut into 1/4 inch slices
Cooking spray
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
10 oz. medium shrimp, thawed and drained if frozen
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained
14.5 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Salt & pepper
1 cup basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
Juice of half a lemon
1. Preheat broiler with rack 3-4 inches from heat source. Arrange baguette slices on baking sheet and spray both sides with cooking spray. Broil 1 minute per side or until golden.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook 1-2 minutes or until just turning pink. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to skillet and cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, beans, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper. Cook until heated through. Stir in basil and lemon juice. Serve with toasted baguette slices.