Monday, December 23, 2013

if i were dropping dinner off to a friend...

photo by jonathan canlas

my sister texted me last week and asked for some suggestions of what dishes she should make to drop off dinner to a friend...and it had to pair well with homemade soft pretzels. i didn't think about it again until the next day and by the time i emailed everything over, i was too late. big bummer. my sister was gracious and thanked me anyway. then i thanked her as well because i thought it would make a great post for this series.

this week is probably busy for all of us, right? last minute shopping, holiday parties, present wrapping...wouldn't it be nice if one of your friends texted you one morning and said, "i'm bringing you dinner tonight. what time do you want it?" they don't leave any room for a yes or a no. just a time that would work for them to drop it off. sneaky, yeah?

when i got my sister's text, i immediately thought of soup and salad...and dessert, of course. it's something easy you could start in the morning when you a have little time. chop up some veggies, add some broth and then let it simmer all day. your house would smell pretty spectacular too. i turned to ina, deb, ree and joy for this scenario. these ladies have created the majority of my go-to recipes. here are some things i would consider making if i were dropping off dinner to a friend.

i'm quickly learning to avoid the presumption that i'm the first one to create the original version of any recipe. because i started googling my ideas. at first i was bummed. but then i was stoked. you mean, i had the same idea as so and so? grilled cheese croutons in tomato soup was one of those was the cranberry upside-down cake. sorry. back to the suggestions. first soup suggestion: easy tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

second in line for soup possibilites is a black bean and pumpkin soup. remember the reason this series exists? i have a knack for recipe picking. it's a simple process really. if my mouth waters, like i literally salivate while reading through a recipe? it's a winner. so read through this one before you dismiss it. trust me.

the last pick is great because deb says, "it's exactly the kind of recipe you can choose to make in late in the afternoon and still eat for dinner." this comes in handy for all the procrastinators out there, myself included.

salad is the most important part of any meal. you know those surveys your children fill out at school just before mother's day asking questions about your favorite color, favorite food and how tall you are? well, our children are 4 for 4 when it comes to my favorite food. everyone answered salad and everyone got it right. i take my salads seriously. and then i have some dessert. 

i like this recipe because it's unexpected, but the flavors are still very familiar. these kinds of recipes end up pleasing more people than you would think too. always an extra bonus.

and behind salad door #2? my salad namesake. i would be remiss not to include this in the list. many men and meatatarians go for seconds of this one. and yes. i just made that word up. that's one of the fun parts of blogging. wait. strike that. not a made up word. also another fun part of blogging.

the final salad choice is like that girl in high school who didn't talk much but when she did it was really profound or funny. (someone once described me that way. best compliment ever. it may have actually gotten me through my high school years.) this salad just looks like a slaw but i believe deb when she says it's pretty much the best thing ever

now on to dessert! quick note first...dessert isn't really expected when someone knows your bringing over dinner. that's what makes it so special when you do. but if you don't get to making it because your day has gotten away from you? no harm done. it's really just the icing on the cake. wink, wink.

dessert numero uno: tres leches cake. because everyone needs a good version of this in their recipe arsenal. and because cooking for cinco de mayo is super fun. and i like flan and this is easier than flan.

the second suggestion for dessert? you guessed it! cranberry upside-down cake. because it too is surprising and familiar all at the same time. and we don't know how much longer fresh cranberries will be around. well, i don't anyway.

and finally, my favorite find for this post. mocha hazelnut marble cake. because it made me think of nutella. and marbled ANYTHING is always my first choice. here's a tip for any non-coffee drinkers. pero or postum are a good substitute for coffee or espresso powder in most recipes. i drink it with milk and sugar almost every winter night. with toast. i know. i'm an old woman. but i swear it makes me sleep better.

there you go my friends! a hearty list of suggestions if you were dropping off dinner to a friend.

p.s. to receive a couple extra "if i were..." menu ideas and secret recipes every month that i only share via email click here. and this is my only post for the week. holiday family time is the best, yeah? and there's also only a few more weeks till belinda arrives on island to start shooting the first group of recipes for the cookbook. wahoo!

happy holidays and merry christmas everyone!

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