Here’s how it went down:
Cranberry-Walnut Salad w/ Feta & Apples - the little salad that could, that took me just five minutes. All I had to do was chop the lettuce, then dump in copious amounts of the good stuff – walnuts, crumbled feta and dried cranberries. I did all of this the morning of the party and kept the salad in the fridge. I also had a friend chop up some Gala apples and throw them in right before we put this out, while I was getting the rest of the dinner stuff out of the fridge. Served with a raspberry-poppyseed vinaigrette, this is a never-fail salad combination that just about everybody seems to love.
Tortellini Pasta Salad - adapted from Lane at Supper For A Steal, after I read her post noting that this is a great filling option for vegetarians. I don’t think I had any vegetarians at the soiree this year, but you just never know who might have a (vegetarian) friend in town tagging along. That happened last year, and I was happy to have her, and luckily (whew!) had plenty of vegetarian options for her. I wanted to continue that trend this year. I used frozen cheese tortellini for this (You didn’t really think I made homemade tortellini, did you? Are you crazy?). I gave the tortellini a quick cook, then tossed it with a herb vinaigrette and a little Parmesan, and stirred in chopped yellow peppers, grape tomatoes, and some roasted asparagus I had left over from earlier in the week. I made this the day before and kept it refrigerated until the party. Easy, peasy, DONE.
Grilled Pizzas – while I was setting out these dishes inside, Jeff was outside firing up the grill. He had pre-cooked all of the pizza toppings which meant that all he had to do was stretch out the pizza dough and give it a quick grill, then top it with San Marzano pizza sauce (none better) and mozzarella cheese. He then had our guests band together in small groups, pick their toppings, and create their own pizzas. Toppings included spicy Italian sausage, pepperoni, prosciutto, grilled chicken, crispy bacon, ricotta cheese, red and green peppers, sauteed fresh mushrooms, artichokes and banana peppers. Read Jeff’s full Grilled Pizza Tutorial here.
Stop back tomorrow for the final installment of Sangria Party Week – dessert! And here’s a secret – I didn’t make a single one of these desserts. And it was glorious.