Friday, January 8, 2010

Dinner Party!

Tuesday night, some of our good friends were coming into town, so we decided to throw a shindig at my apartment, and I cooked dinner for everybody. On the menu: Fresh Fruit with Fruit Fluff Dip, My Mom's Homemade Lasagna, Garlic Butter French Bread, Baby Spinach Green Salad, Strawberry Shortcake, and "Better than Sex" Cake. :o)

Fresh Fruit with Fruit Fluff Dip

Megan brought me a fruit tray to serve the early arrivals with pineapple, grapes, honeydew, and cantaloupe. I added the left over strawberries from my shortcake to the plate too.

For the dip, I use one box of softened cream cheese, a container of marshmallow creme, and a spot of vanilla. Mix until smooth. Recipe courtesy of my cousin Melissa Ivie! It's my favorite fruit dip, and it's always a huge hit!

Cindy's Homemade Lasagna

My mom makes the best lasagna EVER. See the recipe below.

1 package of fresh hamburger meat - (I get 96/4 lean ground beef; 2 lbs size package)
1 large can tomato juice (any kind)
1 package of spaghetti seasoning mix - (if you want spicier get an extra pack depending on the size of the hamburger you get)
1 box of flat lasagne noodles - any kind (but NOT oven ready)
1 16 oz package of mild cheddar cheese (any kind)
1 large container of small curd cottage cheese
Vegetable oil for cooking

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to keep noodles from sticking. Add lasagne noodles once it is boiling & let them boil until tender - it will take 10 minutes or longer? Stir occasionally and test with fork to see when tender. Once tender, drain hot water from noodles and cover noodles with fresh cool water until ready for layering.

While water is boiling, cook hamburger meat on stovetop in a non-stick fry pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil in the pan to prevent sticking. Stir hamburger meat to help it brown with a wooden fork or spatula until fully cooked. Drain any oil if any is left after cooking. Pour tomato juice into frypan with meat & add spaghetti seasoning. Stir until well mixed and let simmer -stirring frequently - for a about 5 minutes or longer (approx.) until juice & seasoning are well blended.

Grate cheddar cheese & mix it with the container of cottage cheese and set aside. (Other cheeses like mozzarella or monterey jack could be added per your preference, but I use cheddar.)

Once all 3 parts are prepared, grease bottom & sides of a 13 x 9 cake pan (glass works good, but any kind) or a large corning ware casserole dish with shortening or butter. Cover bottom of dish with a layer of meat, then a layer of noodles, then a layer of cheese mix. Continue alternating layers until all is used. End with a layer of the spaghetti meat sauce on top of the cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Cook in oven at temperature on the lasagne box - 375 degrees. It will need to cook at least an hour and a half or so - until it is all bubbly. It will be like a casserole if it is cooked long enough. As long as it doesn't burn, you can't overcook it, and it gets better ever time you re-heat it in the oven.

This can be prepared the day before and then heated for an hour or so before serving. Serves quite a few(8 or 10) depending on your serving size.

*I pair lasagna with a red wine like a shiraz or a cabernet. Yum. :o)

French Garlic Bread

I just bought a couple loaves of French bread, sliced it, added a dab of butter, some garlic salt, and then baked in the oven for a few minutes.

Baby Spinach Green Salad

It's just spinach with toppings, haha. I use parmesan cheese and candied walnuts or pecans. Although we used a new blush wine vinaigrette - which is delish!

Billy's Belated Birthday Strawberry Shortcake

I missed Billy's birthday in December right after finals because I was out of town, so I owed him a dessert. He asked for strawberry shortcake, so I pulled this recipe from Paula Deen off the Food Network website:

The only difference was that I had to trim the cake since my bowl is angled and then I stuffed the trimmings into the hole space on the inside layers. To garnish, I used the top side of the cake on top and then filled the center with the leftover custard and then topped with the full strawberries.

Kayln's Bon Voyage "Better than Sex" Cake

See I asked Kayln what type of dessert she wanted me to make her to send her off on semester at see, and here is the text message she sent me: "Idk something chocolately cakey caramely maybe whipped creamy or toffeey. Any of that is good. No coconut." So that is exactly what she got, haha. I looked for a caramel cake of sorts, and then I found a couple of different recipes and kinda adapted it to my own liking. See recipe below.

I baked a german chocolate cake as directed on the bake of the box, and then directly after removing from the oven - I poked holes in the cake with the end of a mixing spoon and then poured a can of sweetened condensed milk over the top of it followed by a jar of caramel ice cream topping. Then I put it in the fridge over night to set. Before serving, I frosted it with a small container of Cool Whip topping and sprinkled with toffee pieces.

Jaime and Mattie approved of the cake. Nobody told me though - is it really better than sex? Haha. :o)

After dinner, I forced everyone into a picture, which was quite a hassle, as you can see we had quite the crowd - I wound up having to make three trays of lasagna! - but the picture was well worth the trouble. And I think overall a great time was had by all! I got lots of compliments on dinner too! :o)


  1. That strawberry shortcake in the bowl looks so delicious! Yummy! Prettiest strawberry shortcake I have ever seen! Mom

  2. P.S. Thanks for the compliment on my Lasagne! Glad you like it. I wish I would've been there to enjoy it with you. I haven't made it in awhile and I'm starting to get a craving for it!!!:o) Maybe you can make it for my birthday dinner. Ha!