Monday, August 27, 2007

Easy Entertaining

Let's talk about entertaining this week. Entertaining is hard and takes a lot of time and money. I think we can all acknowledge that it is important to do, but when it comes to doing it we procrastinate. Let's discuss a few ways to make it less intimidating. First, in the past(before children) I could do things very last minute. Now, I have to have an entertaining routine in place. I try to make sure my house is clean the day before with only the last minute wipe downs and pick ups saved for the day of. Also, any dish which can be made ahead is made ahead. Plan your menu early in the week so you can grocery shop a few days ahead. There may still be a few things which need to be fresh and picked up on the day of the dinner, but it will just mean a quick trip to the store. If you have the freezer room, make a lasagna or something else that freezes well for the times when you do not have the time to prepare ahead.

I will give you a couple of my easiest dishes to prepare. Peach Glazed Salmon is a great dish and is very simple.

4 (4 to 6-ounce) Alaska salmon steaks or fillets
1/4 cup peach jam or orange marmalade
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large bell peppers (any color)*, seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Preheat broiler or grill to medium-high heat.
2. Place salmon on a non-stick or vegetable cooking spray-coated baking or broiler sheet.
3. In a small bowl, blend jam, soy sauce, cayenne pepper and ginger. Brush glaze on salmon. Place sliced vegetables on baking sheet, brushing lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. Grill or broil 5 to 7 inches from heat, turning vegetables once, about 10 to 12 minutes, or until salmon flakes with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.

Baked Ziti is also good. It is very simple to make a is good for a crowd. Make a nice salad and garlic bread and you have a great meal. If you want to jazz it up a bit add different kinds of meat. We like to add bacon and Italian sausage. I do not have a recipe that I follow. I just boil the pasta and brown the meat. I then mix it all together with my favorite tomato sauce and cheese. I do not care for ricotta cheese, therefore I use the Italian blend of shredded cheese. Put another layer of cheese on top, cover with foil, and bake at 375 for about an hour. Take the foil off for the last 10 or 15 minutes.

These are a couple of my standbys. What are some of you easiest meals to entertain with?


Anne said...

Your salmon is delicious! And I speak from experience. ;-)

I like to entertain with something grilled. That helps keep our kitchen from being so hot, too. Steak and potatoes on the grill are one of our favorites, and my husband's burgers are always a hit.

Julie said...

Thanks, Anne! The salmon really is one of the easiest dishes I make.

I totally agree about the heat in the kitchen. As you know my kitchen is so small. When we cook in the summer it feels like a sauna. This is why we almost always have our meal outside.

Does your husband have a special burger recipe? I am always looking to do something different with them.

Anne said...

He doesn't have a recipe because he strongly believes that burger meat should only contain meat! And he won't use lean meat for burgers. He also makes them really big. They're big and juicy and messy. Definitely not healthy, but soooo yummy!

Personally, I think that toasting the buns (with butter!) is the "secret", but that's my only part in the process. ;-)

Julie said...

They sound great! I agree on meat being the only thing in the burger.