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Hostessing Help!

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Hi All,

I need some help from the experts - I am hostessing a party in a couple weeks, for about 10 people total.  It's a pretty casual affair, but I would like to have at least two main dishes, some heavy appetizers. 

I am looking for some main dishes that are relatively easy to make - though I dont mind a bit of preparation, (just nothing complicated! lol!  ;)) 

And some heavy appetizer suggestions if you have some...

Here's the proposed menu so far:

Drinks - water, juice, soda, lemonade, wine (not a drinking crowd this time because everyone is driving)
Appetizers - pita chips with humus, cheese platter with fruit, veggie platter with dip (in a bread bowl)
Dessert: Chocolate fountain with various snacks
Missing: Main dishes
Missing: heavier appetizers

(Oh, I almost forgot! Anyone been to a pampered chef party? There's this one recipe that I am looking for and cant find on the website.  It's a chicken salad of sorts (I think) but you wrap it up in those Pilsbury crescent dough.  There were raisins and cheese in it, too I think, but I cannot for the life of me find it on the web.  Any help is appreciated!)

I think your menu is great, as it's not really around a "theme" or particular cuisine.  It offers flexibility.  I like to make a baked dish, such as lasagna.  You can make it earlier that day, leave it in the fridge, and then just bake it in the oven when you're ready for dinner.  Lasagna is great - it's filling, and you can make it with or without meat.  I'd serve it with bread and asparagus (if you're doing a veggie platter for the apps, I think making a salad would be overkill).

I have a few suggestions for a main course:
Pasta With Pesto - any kind of short pasta (I  like fusilli or penne), whatever fresh veggie looks best that day (broccoli or zucchini work well) and several jars of pesto. Boil pasta, saute veggies and throw together with sauce. Easy peasy!

Use one of the recipes on the Campbell's soup website for chicken and cream of mushrrom soup ( Sounds gross but tastes great. I like Chicken & Stuffing Skillet myself.

-I make a decent pesto alfredo chicken pasta casserole if you are interested.  (it's all made with jarred sauce so it is much simpler than it sounds.)

-Otherwise, spaghetti and meatballs is good if you can handle the messy aspect.  Plus you can find decent meatballs in the freezer section at the grocery store.

-I really like meatloaf.

-Grab a couple of the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store and just slice and platter before anyone gets there.  Surround with roasted or steamed veges.

I make a "mexican casserole" that's easy and a big hit (not so much if your crowd doesn't like mexican food though, or if you want something maybe fancier?).

Brown up 1 lb of ground beef with about half an onion.
Stir in 3 of the small cans of tomato sauce and 1 can of Cream of Chicken.
Layer a glass baking dish (I use a 3 qt size rectangular dish, about 9 x 13 or so?) with tortillas - seems to work best with flour (wheat or white is fine) but I've made it with corn tortillas too.  I just buy one pack of tortillas and use what fits - usually have a couple left over at the end.

If you are feeling adventurous, slice the tortillas into strips and make your layer of tortilla with the strips.

Ladle about 1/2 of the beef/sauce mix over the tortillas.
Make another layer of tortillas.
Ladle the other 1/2 on.
Cover/sprinkle with shredded cheese (I just buy the 4 cheese pre-shedded mix in a bag, 8 oz. should be plenty).
Top with some sliced green onions.

Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes - until the cheese is nice and melty.  We like it when the cheese starts to carmelize.

You can also add in olives, diced (fresh) tomatos or jalepenos if you want, and you can offer sour cream on the side.  I  used to make it with two layers of cheese, and then I started studying type II diabetes and I stopped that pretty quick. ;)


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