Italian Dinner Party Menu

I’m pretty sure my blood is marinara sauce. If not it should be with the amount I grew up eating. Basically what I am saying is my family is that stereotypical Italian-American family. You know that, loud, stubborn, opinionated family with the grandma who makes the best meatballs. And I am serious about the best meatballs, she made meatballs for my wedding.

My grandma's meatballs at my wedding
My grandma’s meatballs at my wedding!

Anyways, I digress, I am throwing a little dinner party that’s all Italian food, so that means we need an Italian themed menu.

Italian Dinner Party Menu

Follow the links for the recipes!

Appetizer

  • Fried Pizza Dough
  • Antipasto Platter (Design anyway you like!)
    • Olives
    • Dried Pepperoni
    • Prosciutto
    • Provolone
    • Grapes

Sides/Salad

  • Caprese Salad
  • Cucuzelle (Fried Zucchini)
  • Italian Roasted Veggies
  • Garlic Bread

Entrees

  • Gnocchi with Marinara
  • Spaghetti with Marinara
  • Meatballs (Not a party without it)

Dessert

  • Cannoli’s
  • Ice Cream

Drinks

Sugar Cookies (Tree)

Sugar Cookies (That Keep Their Shape)

The most annoying thing is when your sugar cookies fail to keep their shape, this is my go to recipe to prevent that disaster. The key is to refrigerate the cookie, seriously don’t skip that step. Okay now for the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, (1 lb) in cubes, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs (straight from refrigerator)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or whatever main flavor you want)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (if making something other than plain(vanilla cookies add vanilla instead here)

Directions

  • In large bowl, sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
  • Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy then beat in eggs.
  • Add flour mixture slowly and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined then and in extracts.
  • Divide dough in half and remove one half from bowl, roll into a ball, and place on a large piece wax paper
  • Wrap the sides of wax paper over the ball, then press down with the palm of your hand to make a disc (2″ thick). Finish wrapping the disc and place in fridge. Repeat with 2nd half of dough.
  • Chill for about 45 minutes. <– DON’T SKIP THIS

Steps for cutting out and baking your sugar cookies

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Take a disc out of the fridge and remove wax paper. Place on top of a large piece of parchment paper then add another sheet of parchment paper on top.
  • Roll dough to about ¼ inch thick
  • If dough got too soft place in fridge for about 15 minutes and cut your shapes using cookie cutters or and placing directly on cookie pan (cookie pan covered with parchment paper) <– DO THIS
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes edges will turn golden.
Zucchini and Cauliflower Bake

Zucchini Cauliflower Bake

This Zucchini Cauliflower Bake is a good side dish for roasted chicken breast. It’s a healthy yet somewhat cheesy bake. You can always mix up this recipe by adding yellow squash just remove one of the zucchinis and alternate the slices with the yellow squash and if you are feeling extra brave add some mushroom slices. I never complain with the addition of more veggies.

Zucchini Cauliflower Bake

Serving Size 4, Approx 122 calories per serving

  • 1 tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 3 Zucchini’s
  • 2 tsp of Salt
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 of Gruyere Cheese shredded
  • 1 tbsp of Butter
  • 1/4 of Parmesan Cheese shredded

Directions

  1. Preheat Oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice Zucchini approximately a 1/4 inch thick and arrange in a 8×8 baking dish. Drizzle olive oil of zucchini and sprinkle salt.
  3. Using a food processor to pulse the cauliflower to desired texture or using a cheese grater, grate the cauliflower to a coarse texture (the goal is to make these like bread crumbs).
  4. Mix cauliflower and shredded Gruyere cheese. Lay mixture evenly over zucchini. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes. Then sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and bake until melted.
  5. Enjoy

 

SoupShooters

Tomato Soup Shots with Grilled Cheese

Nothing beats tomato soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 28-oz. can whole pureed tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tools Needed

  • 5-6 quart Nonreactive Dutch Over
  • Immersion Blender or Blender

Directions

  1. Using your Dutch oven heat the oil and butter over medium-low heat until the butter melts.
  2. Add onion and garlic, stir occasionally, until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add flour and stir to coat the onion and garlic.
  3. Add broth, tomatoes, sugar, thyme, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat while stirring (make sure the flour is not sticking to the bottom of the pan).
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes. Discard the thyme sprig.
  5. Using an immersion blender puree (If you don’t have an immersion blender make two or three batches in a blender or food processor).
  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

For Soup Shots with Grilled Cheese

Make your favorite kind of grilled cheese and cut as long rectangle strips. Fill shot glass with shop and lay on cut grilled cheese on top.

Yellow Chocolate Frosted Cupcakes

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

I don’t know what it is about yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, but I love them. I think they are proof the simple is better, and of course rainbow sprinkles help too…

Yellow Cupcakes

Makes approx. 16-18 Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pans and place aside.
  2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until creamed together. Add in egg and vanilla, mix at medium-high speed until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  3. While ingredients are mixing, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate medium bowl.
  4. With the mixer on a low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Do not over-mix. The batter will be smooth, velvety, and slightly thick.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake liners filling halfway full. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

Directions:

  1. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy.
  2. Turn speed to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Beat until sugar/cocoa are absorbed into the butter.
  3. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla and cream.
  4. Pipe or spread the frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Don’t forget the Sprinkles!
TeaParty Menu

Tea Party Menu

I threw a little birthday tea party for some close friends. I would say it was more of a “tea” party because although we had little bites it wasn’t raise your pinky figure fancy. Below was the menu with links to some of the recipes.

Tea Party Menu

Savory

Sweet

Drinks

  • Lemonade
  • Tea (of course)
FeaturedImage

Poké Ball Centerpieces

I made Poké Ball vases for my friends Pokémon Wedding. Don’t be jealous.

These are the progress photos of me finishing them up. The vases where all glitter…which I am still finding in my house.

I ordered these Glass Vases on Amazon.

For the basic Poké Ball Centerpieces

  • Then I taped the middle of the vase and made a half circle shape for the bottom half of the Poké Ball with painters tape. Applied mod podge to the bottom half and then white glitter. Waited for this to dry then applied another coat mod pogde and white glitter and then after this coat dried applied a final coat of mod podge. This made a smoother solid finish. See first 2 pictures for end result.
  • I then taped to other half and had a half circle now for the top, applied mod podge the un-glittered top and then red glitter. Wait for this to dry then apply another coat mod pogde and red glitter then after this coat dries apply a final coat of mod podge. See the third image.
  • Then I painted with a fine brush a black line where the 2 glitter lines met. This is where I straightened out any needed areas spots.
  • Finally I did the middle. I applied mod podge then white glitter 2 times waiting for each coat to dry and then a final coat of modpodge.