Chic Weeknight Dinner Menu
Awhile back, one of my girlfriends called me and said “HELP!! My husband invited his boss and wife over for dinner tomorrow night and I have no idea what to make!” We hung up immediately and I pulled together this chic weeknight dinner menu in a flash. It’s light, flavorful and most of the prep can be done in advance. Don’t worry….no one will know you didn’t spend all day preparing. 😉
Tomato Avocado Bruschetta
(Tip: You can chop the tomatoes, mince the garlic, prepare the goat cheese/cream cheese mixture and vinaigrette in advance. Also, this recipe calls for the baguette to be grilled but I use the Fresh Market French Rounds, which require no additional preparation.)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic or white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box grape tomatoes quartered or 1.5 cups chopped tomatoes, well drained
1 avocado-peeled, pitted and diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh basil
4 ounces goat (chèvre) cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1 loaf French bread
Olive Oil for grilling
In medium bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar and salt; whisk to blend. Add tomatoes, avocado, garlic and basil; toss gently. In small bowl, combine goat and cream cheese until evenly blended; chill until ready to assemble. Brush bread slices with olive oil. Place on grid over medium heat. Grill until toasted on both sides. Spread goat/cream cheese mixture over toast. Cut each slice in half. Top with tomato mixture. Serve immediately.
Source: Everybody Cooks, Dierbergs
Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas and Pea Tendrils
(Tip: It sounds way more complicated than it is. You can grate the ginger and mince the garlic in advance)
Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat with nonstick spray. Whisk chili sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon ginger in small bowl. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, on prepared sheet. Spoon chili sauce marinade over and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Preheat broiler. Spoon any marinade remaining on baking sheet over salmon fillets. Broil salmon without turning until browned in spots and almost opaque in center, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet.
Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in wok or heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and minced garlic; stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add sugar snap peas and stir until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine, and pea tendrils and stir just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drizzle with sesame oil.
Place pea tendrils on one plate, then layer 1 salmon fillet and garnish to your liking. Serve and enjoy.
Wine Spiked Berries & Ricotta
(Tip: You can prepare the red wine sauce and ricotta mixture in advance.)
1 large orange
1.5 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup plus tablespoons sugar
2 cups mixed raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or strawberries
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using a sharp paring knife, cut two 2-3 inch strips of zest from the orange. Using the fine rasps of a handheld grater or a microplane, remove 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from another section of the orange Reserve the rest of the orange for another use.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the wine, the 1/2 cup sugar and the orange zest strips and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about one-third, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool.
Put the berries in a bowl. Remove the zest strips from the syrup and pour over the berries.
In a food processor, combine the ricotta, Grand Marnier, vanilla, grated orange zest and the 2 tablespoons of sugar and process until smooth. Spoon the berries with some syrup into glasses or small bowls and top with a dollop of the ricotta mixture. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Keep this elegant little menu in your back pocket just like that little black dress that always looks fabulous…I have served this on a number of occasions and it is always a hit. I usually pair with Groth Sauvignon Blanc or Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc.