chill out

perfecting the “done before they arrive” dinner party- a work in progress

Categories: Appetizers, Poultry, Desserts, Dinner Party, Posted on November 2, 2011 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (1)

The old saying a stitch in time saves nine holds true when entertaining multiple gatherings. Tonight’s dinner is the first of four. I’ve been strategically stocking the freezer with key components. These designated hitters when brought in from the cold will hit a homer each time they come up to a new plate.

Desserts can be a real stumbling block. Personally I don’t do well with fussy last minute ends. Time to find a show stopper that won’t add stress the day of.

Frozen chocolate crepes fit this bill. While not easy or quick to prepare, they can be made on a quiet day then stowed in your deep freeze for weeks. Simply unwrap, serve with a drizzle of vanilla cream, a few fresh raspberries and these little devils are sure to get a standing cheer.

Plan ahead- this dessert is going require several hours. First make the chocolate mouse. A quick clip using a cuisnart.

chocolate mousse

While the mouse is chilling whisk together the crepe mixture.

chocolate crepe batter

Once the batter has rested. Make the crepes using two nonstick pans.

chocolate crepes

Once the mouse is “set” it’s time to assemble the crepes.

frozen chocolate crepes

Freeze, then wrap individually and freeze until ready to serve.

frozen chocolate crepes

Weeknight business dinners are best with a canapé (or two), main, then dessert. With the start (chicken enchilada canapes) and the finish (frozen chocolate crepes) ready in the freezer all I needed was a suitable main course. Part of me longed for my favorite high end takeout in Cleveland- J Pistone Market. Then it dawned on me, they obviously make everything earlier in the day so why couldn’t I take a page out of their playbook and do the same.

Dinner tonight is going to feature my favorite pick up- chicken Milanese. I caught a snippet of Giada boasting one the other day on TV with a fennel and cherry tomato sauce.

chicken breasts

Chicken breasts get a slight pounding.

dredging

Then a quick dredge in flour, egg yolks and seasoned crumbs.

chicken Milanese

Saute until golden. When ready to serve reheat in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes or until warmed through.

fennel and cherry tomato sauce

The sauce can be made ahead of time too. Thinly slice the fennel and halve the cherry tomatoes.

fennel and tomato sauce

A quick saute ahead of time. Then while the chicken is warming, reheat and stir in a dollop of mascarpone.

angel hair pasta

Angel hair pasta tossed with a little butter and fresh herbs. Round out this midweek main that comes together in minutes.

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