If med school doesn’t work out, you can always be a caterer!
The title is a direct quote from my mom… Gotta love her. Since Wednesday is my day off, she hired me to “cater” her game night. Each month, her and 11 other ladies get together for food, drinks, and a crazy dice game. I had a lot of fun planning the menu, and tried to keep everything on the healthier side! The menu for the evening:
Celery Sticks with leftover Herbed Greek Yogurt
Tortilla Chips with Homemade Salsa and Guacamole
Roasted Chickpeas (Salt & Vinegar and Cumin & Pepper flavors)
Baked Spinach Arancini with Chipotle Ranch Sauce (these were so popular that I couldn’t edge my way in to get an individual photo! You can see them in the bottom left corner of the picture of the entire spread though!)
Fresh Fruit Salad (raspberries, blackberries, black grapes and cantaloupe)
So many good parts to this night! First, the entire menu was vegetarian, healthy, and mostly homemade (minus the guac and some Ranch dressing). I also had so much fun making everything, and the salsa came together so much faster using the new Magic Bullet slicing gadget (despite the minor power fail mishap…) It also made my mom so happy to be able to walk in the door and be able to focus on the other details for her night, like pulling gift bags and game tables together! The ladies all loved the food, and I really enjoyed all of their reactions when they learned that something that tasted so good was good for you too! It was also fun getting to get to know some of them during the game. My friend Amanda and I filled in for two absentee regulars, and learned the crazy game that is Bunko. There is pretty much no skill involved, just rolling dice and lots of luck! Everyone revolves around 3 tables and trades partners, giving the ladies (some of whom have been playing together for 20 years!) a chance to catch up. It was my night for luck - I came in first place and won the grand prize! Amanda was not as lucky, but got the booby prize for lowest score. We both had a lot more fun than we expected!
Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas
(adapted from OhSheGlows)
3 cups chickpeas
2 cups white vinegar
Kosher or sea salt
Boil 3 cups of chickpeas in a 1:1 water:vinegar ratio for about 20 minutes. Keep covered with the fan on to keep the whole house from smelling like vinegar! Pour chickpeas in a collander and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Spread on a greased baking tray and sprinkle with desired amount of salt. Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes, or until chickpeas are crisped and crunchy.
Cumin and Pepper Roasted Chickpeas
3 cups chickpeas, rinsed
1 tsp cumin
pepper to taste
Drain chickpeas well in a collander. Mix with spices and roast according to above directions.
(adapted from EatSpinLive)
1 lb baby Portobello mushrooms
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
6 handfuls of baby spinach
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Remove stems from washed mushroom caps. Line mushrooms on a baking sheet, and finely chop stems. Saute the stems with garlic and olive oil until they begin to soften. Add spinach to skillet until wilted. Top with Balsamic vinegar. Fill each mushroom cap with a spoonful of veggie mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Top with Panko bread crumbs and broil for 3 minutes. Serve warm.
Baked Spinach Arancini
(adapted from a Costco cookbook)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, minced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
4 cups vegetable broth, heated
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp chipotle chili powder (or cayenne or paprika)
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Meanwhile, slowly heat broth in a separate pot. Add rice and wine to sauteed onion mixture; cook while stirring until liquid is absorbed. Add a ladle of broth and cook until liquid is absorbed; add another ladle. Continue the process as you would a risotto until broth is completely added. Stir in spinach until slightly wilted, and then add butter, cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Once the rice mixture has rested, roll into ping pong sized balls. Beat eggs together with a dash of chili powder, and mix bread crumbs with 1 tsp chili powder (can use more or less depending on how much kick you want!) Dip rice balls first in egg and then roll in bread crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Cook the arancini in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, and broil for 2-3 minutes before serving. The arancini should be crispy and warmed through. Serve with dipping sauce – red pepper aioli, sun dried tomato aioli, Herbed Greek Yogurt, or chipotle ranch are all great options. To make chipotle ranch, take 1 cup light ranch dressing with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and 1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, and use Greek yogurt to adjust spiciness.