Because I’ve been known to use their laundry machines, and cooking for people is kind of my new favorite thing, I invited Evan’s roommates over for dinner. I had a leftover pork loin in the freezer from the last time I made Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin, and it was so good the first time I just made that one again. I bought the groceries ahead of time (even took a trip to Trader Joe’s during work today) so I would have plenty of time for prep when I got home. Since timing is the hardest part of cooking, especially with guests coming over, I find it helpful to plan out the meal on a mini timeline so everything finishes at the same time and nothing is forgotten.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
(Leftover) Sweet Potato Chowder
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin
Pound Cake with Blueberry Sauce and Whipped Cream
I also find it helpful to prep as much as possible before actually cooking anything. I got the grating cheese, dicing, sauce making, cream whipping and spice rub mixing all done before I even turned on the oven.
I really liked these Brussel sprouts, a recipe of Ina Garten’s, which were super simple with very few ingredients.
All you need is:
1.5 lbs Brussel sprouts
3 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 tbsp grated Parmesan Reggiano (I added this per my mom’s suggestion, so good)
Preheat oven to 400, slice Brussel sprouts in half and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a pan and roast for 35-40 minutes, shaking the pan a few times to brown the sprouts evenly.
Just like the first time I made the pork, I coated it in the spice rub, browned it in a pan with olive oil, coated with brown sugar mixture and roasted for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Sometimes it pays to cut corners, as I did with the mashed potatoes. Buying the frozen ready-to-mash potatoes saves so much time and effort AND you can still doctor them up as you like. I sautéed a clove of minced garlic in a tablespoon of butter in a pan for a couple minutes, and added it to the finished mashed potatoes.
Boy dinner parties are fun too, just with very different topics of conversation.
Dessert was my favorite part (thank you to Evan’s mother for sending us back with leftover pound cake!). I put a carton and a half of blueberries into a pot with the juice from half a lemon and 1-2 tbsp of sugar over medium heat for almost 10 minutes, until the mixture was syrupy and dark purple. Also, I whipped some whipping cream with a drop of vanilla and 2 tsp of sugar to put on top. I think everyone was really happy with the results.
And I was happy when they did the dishes 🙂