Friday, October 21, 2011

Cookin' Up a Top Chef Themed Dinner

Interested in hosting a dinner party, but not worried about doing ALL the cooking yourself?  Then host An Episode of Top Chef themed dinner!  This was an amazingly fun dinner for everyone and super tasty too!  If everyone only has to bring one thing and its their specialty, then of course the menu is going to be amazing!  For the invite to this dinner, ask guests to sign up for which category they would like to enter (appetizer, side dish, or dessert.) I had 3 slots in each category, so I could make sure I had each category equally represented.  I also asked guest's to email me the recipes so I could create a recipe book for each guest as a parting gift.  I provided the main dish.
Decor: I used a black tablecloth and made a centerpiece out of a stack of cookbooks, a cloth chef's hat (purchased at Party City), and a green pepper and onion.  Basically anything cooking related. I also created a sign modeled after Bravo's Top Chef logo and listed the "Cheftestants" as well as the date of the party as the episode air date.  At each place setting, I created "Rate the Plate" sheets for each course in which guests were to score each dish.  I also made chef hats out of white poster board and tissue paper which I wrote the "Cheftestants" names on as placecards/ party fun!  You can find tons of tutorials for this online.

Menu:  Since the focus of this party was yummy food, I'll get right to the recipes...

Appetizer:  Rustic Roma Calzones
 1 package shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 tube Pillsbury pizza crust

Spray baking sheet with Pam.  Spread pizza dough and roll it out and cut it into squares.  Add mozzarella, pepperoni, and spaghetti sauce. Fold the dough into a triangle and roll up the corners.  Bake at 425 degrees for 9-13 minutes.

Appetizer:  Pigs in a Blanket
Mini Hot Dogs
1 can crescent rolls

Cut crescent roll dough into small strips.  Wrap strip around  hot dogs and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in 350 degree oven until dough is slightly browned.

Appetizer:  Goat Cheese Brushcetta
French Baguette
Goat Cheese
Bottled Bruschettas from Trader Joe's

Slice bread and lightly toast in oven. Spread goat cheese on toasted bread and top with a spoon full of brushcetta.
Main Dish: Poulet a la Marguerite
9 chicken breasts
16 ounce whole berry cranberry sauce
8 ounces French salad dressing
1 envelope onion soup mix

Mix cranberries, French dressing, and onion soup together.  Place chicken side by side in a 9 x 13 pan and spray with cooking spray.  Spoon sauce over chicken.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1½ hours.  Remove foil near end of cooking time.

Side Dish: Taco Soup
1 lb.  ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
Taco seasoning packet
1 can of black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can corn
1 can crushed tomatoes
Small jar of salsa

Ground the pound of ground beef, add onion and taco seasoning packet.  Mix the remaining ingredients in a large pot or crock pot. Add the cooked meat mixture and simmer for at least ½ hour.  Optional garnishes: sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro chopped olives
(optional) serve with corn chips

Side Dish: Grandma’s Amazing Cheesy Potatoes
6 White Rose (may be called White New Potatoes) Potatoes , Boiled (Cool and Shred course)
2 cups cheddar cheese (grated)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup green onions (chopped)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups sour cream (room temp.)
2 tbsp. butter melted (dot on top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add the cheese to the potatoes first, then add other ingredients.  Bake uncovered 25- 30 minutes or until center is hot. I usually make a double or triple batch for the family.

Side Dish: Vegetables with a Dijon-Basil Dressing
Hariot Covert thin green beans
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
Button mushrooms. Quartered

(in blender)
4 cloves of garlic
1 bunch basil leaves (20-25 leaves)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil green beans.  Saute peppers and mushrooms in olive oil.  Drain after cooked. 
Blend and drizzle in olive oil until it becomes a thin consistency.  Pour over vegetables.

Dessert: Magic Cookie Bars
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
½ cup margarine, melted
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup butterscotch chips
1½ cups flaked coconut
1 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  In a 9 x 13 inch pan, pour in melted margarine. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the margarine. Next place the chopped nuts over the crumbs, and spread the chocolate and butterscotch chips over the nuts. Add the coconut over all, and pour the milk evenly over the top.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Cool at least 20 minutes then cut into desired sized bars.

Dessert: Chocolate Dipped Oreos
½ package melting white chocolate
10 oreos
10 chocolate chips

Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler on the stove.  Drop oreos one at a time into chocolate to coat.  Use tongs to remove oreos and drop on wax paper.  Refrigerate.  Melt milk chocolate & swirl on top of oreos with a spoon.

Dessert: Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch
Use leftover melted chocolate from previous recipe
2 large spoonfuls of Peanut Butter
¼ cup mashed peanuts
3 caramels

Melt and mix together all ingredients.  Put on wax paper & refrigerate.  Then drizzle with chocolate & refrigerate again.  Break into pieces before serving.

After we were full as can be and scores were tallied, we announced the winners.  I made ribbons in each category for the winners.  Everything was delicious though...I would make any of these recipes again for sure!

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