Sunday, October 23, 2011 |

Impromptu Dinner Party

     I was in the mood to have a little dinner party and cook up some fabulous eats. It was just a party of 5 and a few hours later a post came up on my Facebook wall that went something like this; "Went to a quaint little Home Chef Bistro tonight for dinner. Breaded stuffed portabel mushroom with Italian sausage, 2nd course was toasted garlic broschetta with fresh Myers tomatoes with a melted white cheese. 3rd course. Herb crusted wild salmon laid over a bed of Chicory, Curly endive salad with bed blue cheese crumbles, almond slivers with dry ed cranberries with a spritz of aged balsamic vinegar dressing. Did I mention the glasses of 2009 Layer Cake Wine." That's my friend Patty's interpretation of the whole evening. It was amazing and all her friends wanted to know where this little "Bistro" was located. Well some good things need to remain a secret, but what an awesome review that any restaurant would be proud to receive!
     That's just it though, I love making people happy. I knew that my dad was going to be installing a new door on the shop in the back yard, Mom loves my cooking, Paul and Patty both have very long stressful weeks, and it was so nice to be able to do something nice for them. Dinner was actually planned out to be very simple and everything can be done ahead of time. The most elaborate part of the meal was the Stuffed Mushroom Appetizers, which took the most prep time, but they had no problem standing on the baking sheet until I was ready to put them in the oven. While those were cooking I put together the already waiting ingredients for the Bruschetta. So while appetizers came out, wine flowed and than when everyone was ready I popped the fish in the oven, took out the salad I had also prepared ahead of time and voila! Dinner was served.
     I lit my ceramic pumpkins on the mantel in the dinning room, turned on my electric fireplace, minus the heat and a quiet dinner with conversation continued. I need to perhaps not serve so much wine after a long work week, because everyone went home happy and satisfied by 9:30!But it just goes to show you that it doesn't take all that much to make people happy and satisfied, and with a little bit of pre-planning you can have an enjoyable and relaxing dinner party. Here are the recipes for the evening.....

Holly's Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 2 pkgs of baby Portabello Mushrooms cleaned with stems removed (set aside)
  • 1 (6 ounce) package dry stuffing mix
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 roll of pork sausage cooked
  • butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Arrange mushroom caps on a medium baking sheet, bottoms up. Chop and reserve mushroom stems.               
  2. Cook pork sausage till no longer pink
  3. Prepare dry stuffing mix according to package directions. (I used the onions and celery as well)
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Mix in garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together reserved mushroom stems, prepared dry stuffing mix, cream cheese and sausage. Liberally stuff mushrooms with the mixture. Top with the bread crumbs then drizzle with the butter and garlic. Season with salt, pepper,
  7. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until stuffing is lightly browned.               
  8. Serve warm


This one is quick and simple and can be done so many different ways. Dice up tomatoes, add garlic, onion powder, dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Slice any kind of french bread or other artisan breads of your choice, spread lightly with olive oil, top with the tomato mixture and a slice of Mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 till cheese is melted and just beginning to brown or the bread is browned around the edges. Serve immediately.

Dijon Fish

This fish dish is easy, quick, light and can be done with any fish of your choice. I prefer Salmon, my husband prefers Talapia, but can be done with any fish of your choice.


Fish fillets
Dijon Mustard
bread crumbs
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Take your fish fillets and dry them real good. Place in a foil covered baking dish for easy clean up. Layer the Dijon Mustard (I prefer stone ground, has a milder flavor, but you can use any you like) over the fish fillets. Liberally top with bread crumbs. You can use the pre seasoned, but I like the Panko crumbs and than I just lightly add some Italian seasoning on the top. Salt and pepper to taste. Melt butter (depends on how many fillets you have) in microwave safe dish, and lightly drizzle over the fish and bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until your fish flakes easily with a fork. Turn the broiler on low and put fish in the broiler for a couple of minutes to allow the top breading to become a little brown and crisp up.

Again, each one of these dishes was made up a couple of hours prior to everyone's arrival, so all I had to do was pop everything in the oven, pour the wine, and enjoy my guests.

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