Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Impress Your Friends...Entertaining on a Budget

Getting together with friends need not be an expensive venture. Invite the crew over for a "sit-down" dinner on a budget. Impress them with a meal of Fettuccine Alfredo, Salad, Breadsticks, Wine, Dessert, & Coffee!

Let's Start with the Alfredo Sauce. Make-ahead & freeze for easy entertaining!

Freezer Alfredo Sauce
3 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
2-1/4 cups parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cup butter
3 cups milk
Mix cream cheese, parmesan cheese & butter in large sauce pan, heating slowly & stirring until smooth. Add milk and stir well. Pour sauce into freezer containers, label & freeze.
When ready to use, let the sauce thaw in the refrigerator and then heat through in a saucepan on low heat or in the microwave on low, stirring frequently. Serve over cooked pasta of choice.
More Ideas:~Add grilled, sliced chicken, cooked shrimp, or imitation crab to heated sauce~Use whole wheat pasta ~Try using lower-fat ingredients to 'lighten up' the recipe
Simple salad of romaine lettuce, sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, chopped tomato, sliced red onion. black olives, & croutons

MYO Salad Dressing
http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/creamyitalian.htmMYO Croutons (Make ahead, put in freezer bag & freeze for later use.)
Homemade Breadsticks (Make-ahead & freeze. Just thaw and warm for serving.)
Soft Garlic Breadsticks
1 1/8 cups water (70 to 80 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sugar 3 teaspoons garlic powder 1
1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh basil
3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, melted
Directions: In bread machine pan, place the first nine ingredients in order suggested by the manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 20 portions. Shape each into a ball; roll each into a 9-in. rope. Place on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Brush warm breadsticks with butter.
Wine - Pairing the 'right' wine with your meal compliments both the wine & the food!

I have found that there are some very good budget priced wines to be found. We are fortunate to have a local grocery with an amazing wine department. =) I recommend a buttery Chardonnay to pair with the Fettucine Alfredo entree. I like the Night Harvest by R.H. Philips Chardonnay and at $6.99 a bottle, it's very budget friendly. (Actually, I really like most of the Night Harvest line.) Then try pairing a Cabernet Sauvignon with your chocolate dessert. Chocolate + Red Wine = Delicious!
Gourmet Girl's Famous Decadent Rich and Gooey Saucepan Brownies http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Gourmet-Girls-Famous-Decadent-Rich-and-Gooey-Saucepan-Brownies-318117
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 dash salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Directions: Preheat your oven to 350. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and cocoa. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla till just combined. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in the nuts. Pour into a greased 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

My additions/changes: Chopped walnuts could be used in place of the pecans. If you do not care for nuts, leave them out.Almond flavoring would be a nice substitution for the vanilla in this recipe. I often use almond flavoring with chocolate recipes. It makes for a subtle, very gourmet change.This is a recipe that I would double, make-ahead & freeze. Thaw and serve with whipped topping and chocolate drizzled over the top.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog.

    Have a nice day!