We were having friends over for dinner on the 27th and I was really having a hard time deciding what to serve. At this time of the year, everyone feels like they’ve been eating way too much and are literally craving something light. So, it was initially my intention to serve a delicious, but light dinner so that everyone could feel satisfied without having to adjust another notch on their belt. When I decided to serve fish, I figured it would be a nice light alternative to all of the festive meals, snacks and treats that we all tend to indulge in over the holidays. However, as I began to scour my own recipes and search for some new ones, I found some great Italian recipes that I just had to try. Although the meal was not the light meal I originally intended, I did try to balance our the rich and creamy seafood lasagna with a nice big salad and a side dish of mushrooms. It is always a bit of a risk trying something new for company and I figured I was pretty much “walking the plank” when I tried four brand new recipes at one dinner party. I did stick to a tried and true dessert, but everything else was a first and all of the recipes were keepers. The meal was great and nothing was too difficult to make.
Italian Dinner Party Menu:
I must admit the pictures are not the best. Remember, we had company for dinner. No time to stage or adjust the lighting. In fact, I had to hide my frustration when my camera only allowed me a couple of shots before my memory card was full….thanks Eden!! Oh well, if you want to see fabulous pictures, you’ll have to visit the original sites that the recipes were found on.
I’m not even going to bother typing out these recipes. I followed them pretty carefully because I was trying them all for the first time. Here are the links and I’ve added a few notes below outlining a few of the changes I made and tips for success.
Big Italian Salad from Once Upon a Chef
Seafood Lasagna from Taste of Home
Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits from Damn Delicious
Italian Roasted Mushroom Salad by Paleo Paisan
Chocolate Mousse Cake one of our family’s favourites
Exceptions and Hints:
- Roasted Mushroom Salad: I ended up using white, cremini and shiitaki mushrooms and omitted the portobello mushrooms that were suggested, but just as a matter of preference. Also, be sure to use trays with sides as the mushrooms will release juice as they roast and caramelize. I coated all of the mushrooms in oil and pepper at the same time in a large bowl, but separated them onto two sheets so that they had lots of room to roast. Mushrooms do not like to be crowded when they cook.
- I used two cans of crab meat instead of imitation crab in the Seafood Lasagna. I also wondered about adding a tablespoon or two of white wine to the sauce, but didn’t and it was lovely without. Be sure to allow time for the lasagna to “stand” before serving. Mine was a bit runny, but I could tell it would have been fine had I given it 5 more minutes to sit.
- The Big Italian Salad recipe doesn’t list green onions under the ingredients, but it was in the pictorial instructions, so don’t forget to add them in.
- The Chocolate Mousse Cake is a light and decadent dessert that never fails and is always delicious. I chose to make this cake because it is easy and you can make it a day or two before. I love that! Also, my son has been eating “gluten-free” for the last couple of months (just a trial) and there is no flour in this cake. I love that this flourless cake was a favourite long before the gluten-free experiment. It is a great option if you are trying to avoid wheat/grain.
If you enjoy Italian and seafood, you are absolutely going to love this combination. The recipes blended wonderfully. Both the mushrooms and lasagna were absolutely scrumptious….and those biscuits. Mmmmm….delicious!