Tag Archives: dinner party

Progressive Dinner; Fun With Food and Wine

When you live in the burbs and downtown is an eighty dollar cab ride away, going out with friends to a nice restaurant can get expensive.  So how do you enjoy a delicious meal,  good wine, the company of great friends without the big bill?

0Well, a few years ago I approached three couples in my neighbourhood that we regularly hang out with and suggested we form a dinner club to get us through the long boring winter and they loved the idea.  Once a month we hold a progressive dinner, traditionally done by starting at one person’s house for appetizers, moving to the next for the main meal and again to another house for dessert.  This seemed like way too much work so I changed the rules.

0-1Each month one couple holds the dinner at their house and they’re in charge of the main meal while the others provide the appetizer, soup or salad and then dessert. We rotate the houses and who makes what, ensuring the same person doesn’t get stuck making the same thing each time.  Everyone gets dressed up (no jeans allowed) so it feels like a special evening and the dinners are themed on international cuisine, or even an event like the Oscars.  Each course is paired with a wine, beer or cocktail that suits the dish or at least we give it the good old college try.

One members of the group is a true foodie (I think his TV is stuck on the Food Network) and this time around he thought we should switch it up so he came up with a bunch of cooking challenges and then picked four out of a hat.  Here’s what we wound up with:

  1. Food made with fire
  2. Breakfast for Dinner
  3. Pizza as a comfort food
  4. Food based on a colour

The categories were assigned and you could get as creative as you wanted and here’s what we ended up with:

  1. Chicken skewers and roasted veggies on the grill paired with Cave Spring Riesling from Ontario
  2. Devilled eggs with smoked salmon & capers along with white and sweet potato Rosti – a Swiss hash brown paired with Italian Proseco
  3. Wings with Blue Cheese dip on a pizza -this was amazing and the hit of the night (no wine – the boys said it had to be beer) see recipe below
  4. RED velvet cake pair with Inniskillin Riesling Ice Wine

There was lots of good wine, and some not so good (Girl’s Night Out is not really a wine – more of a cooler if you must know) lots of laughs and best of all we could all just walk home

Buffalo Wing Style Chicken Pizza
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cooked and cubed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (2 ounce) buffalo wing sauce
1 (8 ounce) bottle blue cheese salad dressing (Renee’s is great for this)
1 (16 inch) prepared pizza crust
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Cook up the 2 chicken breasts in a pan then cube
In a medium bowl combine the cubed chicken, melted butter and wing sauce. Mix well.
Spread half the bottle of salad dressing over crust, then top with chicken mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 5 to 10 minutes. Let set a few minutes before slicing, and serve.


A Friendly Feast

I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for close to a dozen years now and from the day we moved in we’ve been fast friends with a few couples whose company we enjoy and who we can count on if we need to.

We didn’t even have fences between our yards until a couple of us got a dog and even then we installed a gate for easy access between our houses.  During the summer months we generally wind up in the back yard Friday or Saturday night catching up over a glass of wine but as the cold weather sets in we often don’t see each other for long periods of time.

A few years back a friend told me about how her neighbours used to have these progressive dinner parties, where you would have appetizers at one person’s house, then move to the next house for the entrée and someone else’s for dessert.  I really liked the idea but it seemed like a lot of unnecessary work for everyone so I devised a plan to make the progressive dinner party easier to manage.  We created the Canterbury Dinner Club which included four couples.  Each couple would hold one dinner a month during the fall and winter, rotating between between us.

The couple holding the dinner are in charge of the entrée and the other three are assigned the appetizer, soup or salad and dessert with each course  paired with an appropriate wine. Just like the dinners, the wines are progressive usually starting with Champagne or Prosecco then whites or reds depending on the dish.


Oscar themed dinner

We try to come up with themes but one of the big rules is you have to dress up…no jeans allowed, which makes it feel special. We’ve had an Oscar dinner where we dressed in gowns and did a movie quiz, an Oktoberfest dinner with German music, a Kareoke night and so many more.  Sometimes we just pick a country and theme the food based on that.  Everyone gets into the mood by researching what dish they can create to fit the theme and we always have a great time doing it.

It gives us all something to look forward to each month during the dull days of winter. Affords us the ability to stay close to home (no need to worry about drinking and driving since we can all walk).  To get dressed up and use our fine china and generally feel like we’ve been out for a night on the town without paying hundreds of dollars at some fancy restaurant.  This is not to say we never go out to eat but in today’s economy this is a great way to spend an evening out with friends without spending big bucks.

I’ve shared this idea with some of my colleagues and they’ve all said how much they loved it so I wanted to share it with you.

Do you have a great idea for a dinner party?