I hope your weekend has been a good one. The weather has been so pretty here (but actually a little chilly!) I mentioned the other day in the Halloween post that I was not going to do my Halloween dinner because the weather was so warm. Instead, I decided to save it for this fall-like weekend. So I am sharing it here with you – along with a game plan of how to create it. (Some of this is “live and learn” that I will do the next time I make this meal.)
Here was the menu:
Not my best lettering since I was in the middle of preparing the sandwiches when I remembered the chalkboard still read Happy Halloween. So step one in the game plan would be to do a chalkboard menu the day ahead. (See, I told you this was “live and learn.”)
I would also make the blondies a day ahead. The recipe I used was a very good one…Ina Garten’s Chocolate Chunk Blondies. The recipe is available here, and it is in her book, Foolproof.
I could not find the chocolate chunks that her recipe called for so I used half the amount in chocolate morsels and the other half in M&M’s (in the autumn color mix.) Here is the colorful batter all ready for the oven.
And here is the delicious dessert after baking.
If your dessert is made a day ahead, the plan for the day of this meal would be to first set your table…
Then prepare the tomato soup. Again, I used a recipe from Ina Garten’s Foolproof cookbook, “Easy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons.” The recipe for it is available here. I substituted rice for the orzo in the recipe this time, but the next time I make it I am going to make 4 changes.
1. Leave out the rice or the orzo completely.
2. Leave out the salt. (It had plenty from the stock.)
3. Leave out the saffron. I thought it masked the flavor of the tomatoes, and I love the flavor of tomatoes…so why mask it?
4. Add a little chopped fresh basil as a garnish…basil compliments the flavor of tomatoes.
(This was the soup early on…before rice and cream were added.)
The next part of the game plan for this lunch is to make the salad. This is absolutely my favorite salad and my daughter’s favorite. I got the recipe from my friend Robin, who also gave me the recipe for the potato soup that is so delicious. This salad is a winner.
Hold off on adding the dressing until you are ready to serve the salad. After making it, prepare the grilled cheese sandwiches. I did not use the recipe from the Foolproof book for these. Instead, I used her Ultimate Grilled Cheese recipe from the How Easy is That? cookbook. Adding the bacon to these sandwiches is what really makes them good.
The recipe for it is also here. Or you can watch Ina actually prepare the sandwiches in a video segment from her show.
The sandwiches are the last thing to make for the meal. So when they are finished, you are ready to put it all on the table for serving.
The buffet is ready.
The table is ready.
Everyone can serve themselves from the buffet.
And after enjoying the soup, salad, and sandwiches, dessert is easy-peasy with the super rich blondies and ice-cream.
This will be the game plan next time. Today I had not prepared anything ahead of time, so my sons helped out in the kitchen with everything. (Thanks, boys!) Or better yet, maybe next time they’ll prepare it all.It really was a good meal to enjoy on a brisk fall day. I hope you will get to try out some of the recipes – especially that yummy salad.
until next time…