In the current economy, ladies night for my friends and I might seem more potluck than posh. But, with combined creativity and cash three of good girlfriends and I pulled together quite a fabulous meal.
Just like a potluck, everyone contributed one part of the meal. However, various emails shared throughout the work day made the menu come together more like a dinner party. Check out all the recipes below!
The lovely ladies! (left to right, Rachel, Kristy and Ashley)
Kristy’s Shrimp Orzo
For the pasta:
~1 lb pastina (any small pasta; I used orzo)
3 cups low sodium chicken broth/stock
3 cups water
Cook the pasta. (I’m pretty sure this doesn’t require too much instruction.) Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.
For the shrimp (or clams & mussels, if you actually have them):
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
Cherry or grape tomatoes (add as many or as few as you’d like; I like a lot of them), halved or quartered
~1 cup dry white wine
1 lb shrimp, peeled & de-veined; or 12 mussels and 12 clams
Lemon juice (I used half of a lemon because it was really juicy; use as much or as little as you like)
Salt & pepper to taste
~1/4 cup chopped parsley
In a deep saute pan or Dutch oven, saute the onion in some olive oil for a few minutes, until translucent, then add the garlic. Let cook for another minute or 2, then add the tomatoes and wine. Stir and scrape all the tasty brown bits off the bottom and let cook for a minute or 2.
FOR SHRIMP: Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes on each side. Just before the shrimp is done, squeeze in the lemon juice and stir. Taste and add salt & pepper as needed. Pour everything over the pasta and garnish with parsley and olive oil.
FOR MUSSELS AND CLAMS: Add the shellfish after the wine and tomatoes. Put a tight-fitting lid on the pot/pan you are using and let them steam for 5-8 minutes. They should cook through in that time. Transfer the clams and mussels to a plate – and get rid of any that haven’t opened – and pour the wine sauce over the pasta. Put the shellfish on top of the pasta. Squeeze the lemon over everything, and garnish with some chopped parsley and olive oil.
Ashley’s Spinach Salad
1 bag of baby spinach (HEB brand is my personal choice, and it’s already washed)
1 bag of snow peas (snip off the ends if they are a bit stem-y or woody, might need a rinse)
1 bag of croutons (garlic and butter was my selection yesterday)
1 bag of vine-ripened tomatoes (really any will do) rinse off and slice in half for easier eating 🙂
Balsamic Vinaigrette of choice
Toss all ingredients together and enjoy!
Rachel’s super easy garlic bread
Fresh baked cibatta bread, sliced in half
1 stick butter
6-8 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup (approx) of fresh parsley
Mix ingredients and slather on bread. Place on baking sheet and put in 400 degree oven for approximately 15-20 minutes until bread is toasted.
The spread, complete with a light pino grigio.
I was in charge of dessert (not a big surprise). I knew that something chocolaty was in order and needed the perfect brownie recipe. Something more exciting that just plain brownies (just adding nuts does NOT make a brownie better). In my search for the best brownie recipe, I found another wonderful blog BakingBlonde. The Double Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies were #1 on her top 10 recipes from 2008 and I understand why. They were ridiculous from batter to baked! (Below is my photo, BakingBlonde’s image of the brownie is better – I need a new camera).