Girls Night

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The holiday season is upon us and with that come the parties. Before the festivities overtake everyone’s calendars, I wanted to get a couple of my girlfriends together for a small dinner party to catch up over some cocktails and most importantly share some delicious food.

Having just come off of the glutenous Thanksgiving holiday, and knowing that the month ahead would bring its fair share of drinks, desserts and rich dishes, I wanted to create a menu for my girlfriend’s that was a bit lighter fare. And since my girlfriends and I were looking to head out after dinner, I needed something that would suit everyone’s appetites and still leave energy to dance!

I had seven girls coming, and wanted to really make it a fun and special meal, so I planned courses – appetizer and a cocktail to welcome them in the house, the main meal and plenty of wine.

To start the meal, I wanted to serve something bite size for my friends to grab and munch on while enjoying their cocktails in the living room. So I went with a crostini topped with melted gorgonzola cheese and a touch of honey and olive oil. The sharp flavor of the cheese went perfectly with the sweet hit of honey and paired well with the cranberry prosecco cocktail I served my guests.

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As for the main meal, I wanted to stick with the idea of simplicity, both for the food to be lighter and so I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen all night with a hand load of steps and ingredients.

I went with a really simple yet flavorful lemon chicken, composed of thinly sliced and lightly floured chicken breasts that are cooked quickly in a lightly oiled pan, and then sit in a lemon and white wine sauce until they are able to be pulled apart with a fork.

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To go along with the chicken, I made a personal favorite, my father’s green beans with garlic, butter and lemon juice. It was great planning wise, as well as flavor wise, to have this dish.

The green beans are snapped and rinsed off, then placed in a large sauté pan with chopped butter, garlic and salt and pepper, where they cook on medium heat with a lid on, allowing me to work on other aspects of the meal.

A couple shakes of the pan here and there to make sure you don’t have any burned bits on the bottom, and then just after you turn off the heat hit it all with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, which immediately creates that enticing sizzling noise.

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Along with the beans, I made a very simple, yet flavorful orzo with freshly chopped parsley and parmesan cheese. The delicate flavor of the lemon chicken, combined with the slightly creamy orzo and garlic infused green beans created the perfect bite.

And of course with a room full of ladies, I knew that I had to give them a sweet treat to finish off the meal. I thought, what goes better than chocolate and peanut butter….adding bananas to it!

I threw them all for a loop,  sautéing the bananas in a little butter with brown sugar and placing it on top of frozen vanilla yogurt with a sprinkle of peanut butter and chocolate chips. The cold frozen yogurt and the hot banana mixture, combined with the slightly melted chocolate and peanut butter chips was sinfully delicious.

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The entire night was a hit, with lively conversation, and satisfied appetites, that left everyone full of energy to dance the night away.

Lemon Chicken (serves 6-7 people)

Ingredients:

2 lbs of thin chicken breasts

flour

salt and pepper

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts, then coat in flour. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breasts, browning on both sides, then set aside on a plate covered with aluminum foil. If pan has a significant amount of oil left, wipe it out, otherwise leave as is.

In the same pan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter, add the chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add lemon juice and wine, stirring to get the brown bits up from bottom of the pan. Let cook another 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to medium and add in the other 2 tablespoons of butter, mixing until the butter is melted.

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Let the sauce cook another 2 minutes, and then add back in the cooked chicken breasts, turning and coating both sides. Sprinkle fresh parsley over the chicken and turn the heat down to low/simmer and put the top on the sauté pan, allowing the chicken to stew with the sauce for 15 minutes. Serve with orzo and green beans (recipes below).

Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon

Ingredients:

1 lb green string beans

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped

salt and pepper

lemon juice (1/2 lemon)

Directions:

Snap the ends off of the green beans and rinse them off in a colander. Place the wet string beans in a large skillet over medium heat, along with the butter, and garlic. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cover with top. Cook for about 15 minutes, occasionally shaking the pan and open to stir its contents, so that the garlic and beans don’t burn.

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When beans and garlic are just browning, take pan off the heat and add fresh lemon juice. Stir and cover until ready to serve.

Orzo with Parsley and Parmesan

Ingredients:

1 lb. Orzo pasta

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and then return back to pot, add butter, parsley and cheese. Serve with the lemon chicken and string beans.

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Vanilla Frozen Yogurt with Sautéed Bananas and Chocolate Peanut butter Chips

 Ingredients:

1 large container vanilla frozen yogurt

semi-sweet chocolate chips

peanut butter chips

2 bananas chopped

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add in the bananas and brown sugar, cook for 4-5 minutes.

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Spoon over scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt, and top with peanut butter and semi sweet chocolate chips.

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2 thoughts on “Girls Night

  1. Pingback: My Thanksgiving Menu | ciao.chow.chica

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