Spring Dinner Menu

Does the idea of throwing a large dinner party excite you, exhaust you or scare you? Maybe all three?  I get it. It’s fun to be the host and gather your family and friends for a special meal, but there is also a certain amount of pressure involved…  that is,  unless you plan ahead and come up with a menu that is simple to prepare, but will still be memorable for your guests.

Is there such a thing? Yes, there is,  and it’s not as hard to create as you might think.

The first step is a theme of some kind. This will help you to narrow down the menu choices, and provide harmony between all the dishes. Themes can be traditional, like Thanksgiving favorites or 4th of July picnic staples; fun, like a retro fondue party or serving nothing but pink foods; health-oriented, as in a 100% vegan meal; or ethnic, with a focus on foods from one country or one style, like tapas.

The theme that I have in mind for you is “Spring”… I am writing this, looking out into my back yard, and the sprouting tulips, darting robins and fresh green buds on the otherwise bare tree branches has put Spring firmly into my mind.

So, we can check off Step 1, the theme. The next part is all about preferences — yours and your guests’.  Do you want to go for a big bang? Do you want to keep it healthy? Is budget a consideration? What about time — how much time do you have to pull this together, and will you be doing this by yourself or with help? Buffet or sit-down? Does the menu need to be kid-friendly? How adventurous are your guests, gastronomically?

Each of these questions and answers will steer you towards a focus for the meal, and an image of how it will all come together. Here is what I put together for your Spring Dinner Menu:

For this Spring Menu, I was looking for ways to highlight my Your Spice of Life blends and sea salts in an easy, vegetable-intense meal that was fairly easy on the budget. By using the spice blends, you can present “ordinary” ingredients in a different, flavorful way.  Higher priced ingredients like salmon and lamb are served in mini portions, and even then, the lamb is bulked up with lots of fresh veggies to make it stretch even farther.

All of the recipes are available in the links but I’ve also collected them into one document for you in this PDF:  Spring Dinner Menu

There are a lot of things that I love about this menu, besides it being delicious:  it’s really easy to prepare. Here is a rundown on the tasks:

  • You’ll want to prep all of the veggies ahead of time — wash the veggies, dice and slice what needs to be, trim the asparagus, set aside.
  • Earlier in the day of the meal, you can entirely prepare the deviled eggs, hummus and pita chips.
  • Get the almonds toasted for the green beans almondine.
  • Prepare the Rosemary’s Chicken vinaigrette.
  • Make the lamb meatball mixture and form the mini meatballs
  • Prep the salmon by cutting into squares, placing on a plate and refrigerating until needed.
  • If you are short on burner space,  you can make the rice, asparagus, carrots and green beans ahead of time, then reheat them.

Everything else will move along quickly and will be easy to bring together at the last minute. If you have done all of the advance tasks, you will only have to cook the lamb and the salmon, and you can do that while your guests are enjoying the appetizers.

A fresh, Spring table decorWhen it comes to your decorating, I admit that’s not my expertise. I mean, I always have a pretty and welcoming table but there are SO many fantastic ideas out there for decorating your table. Since I like to keep things simple, I peeked at what Real Simple had to say; I found a gallery of 26 table decorating ideas for all seasons, my favorite of which used spice bottles as favors and placeholders!  Love that!!

OK, so you have your theme, your menu, a killer table and your family and friends all around you. Only one thing left to do:  enjoy yourself!!

______________________________________

Note on the photo of the table decor:  I saw this display the other day at Artique Co-op in Clifton Park. I just loved the way that everything looked so fresh and Springlike together! Artique is a co-op where Your Spice of Life rents space along with 100 other vendors. This vendor is named Livi’s Loft.

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Posted on April 5, 2012, in Home tasting party, Hurricane Curry, Racy Paprika, Recipes, Rockin' Moroccan, Rosemary's Chicken, Sweet Asian, Tangy Citrus, Za'atar and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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