Saturday, May 25, 2013

Last Minute Dinner!

This week, I invited the family over for dinner - with a preschooler-friendly menu in mind. At the last minute, I asked my daughter to bring her new boyfriend, figuring she’d decline since meeting the parents is a big deal. She’s been playing things low key, dropping hints and then announcing she was “in a relationship” via Facebook. She said they could make it.  ACK! “They,” meaning the new guy was coming too. 
It couldn't be as bad as the movie, right? Right????
Did I mention the house was suitable for family but not for guests? I mean, we've been working on patio project so our house was a mess of dirt tracks and dust bunnies! Did I mention this meeting was a big deal?  When it comes to cleaning or cooking, I pick cleaning every time.  I'm an "all day" sort of cook.  With limited time, I didn't want to be totally frazzled when our guest walked through the door. Plus, cleaning produces endorphins and burns calories! 

Fortunately, I live two blocks from my Fresh Market grocery store and a mile from a French bakery. Have I mentioned when we were deciding where our empty nester home would be, I refused to move when Fresh Market was built within walking distance? Hence, our screened porch and patio project we planned to christen with the family dinner that night.

I needed a simple entrée that could be made for a crowd. Just because I live out of the box doesn’t mean I don’t have a bag of tricks. Off to Fresh Market I went. Boneless chicken breasts were on sale! A sign for sure! So I picked up my favorite Vidalia onion dressing. Why is it my favorite? See those words? GLUTEN-FREE!

Cut up fruit, bagged salad, carrots, tomatoes, and corn on the cob went in the cart.  A stop by the French Bakery for brownies, lemon bars and a macaron made with almond flour for me (see Virginia’s post on how to make them when you have time Virginia's macarons) and back home I flew to, gulp, trap and release dust bunnies.
I set the oven for 350 degrees, covered the chicken with the Vidalia dressing and baked  them for 40 minutes or so depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts.You can also dress it up with grated cheddar cheese or bacon strips. My daughter-in-law has had to give up dairy so we went with healthy! But that is it! Easy!

How did dinner go?  We like the guy our daughter likes and he liked the chicken. He even brought me flowers!  Whew!


  1. What a great idea! sounds tasty! And you live within walking distance of lemon bars? Awesome!

  2. sounds good! now I"m hungry...

  3. I've used Italian dressing when I bake chicken, but not the Vidalia. That would add a wonderful flavor!

    I don't blame you for not wanting to move, Julie! Empty nest or not, you have a beautiful home and setting. Why go through the heartbreak of leaving all that behind and starting new when you don't have to?

    We're having one of those "meet the parents" times for the next week. Our oldest son's girlfriend is flying in this evening for a six day date.

    She lives in eastern Pennsylvania...they met on-line...he flew out there in February to meet her this week will be their second date.

    And our first chance to meet her.

    Am I nervous? Not as much as I'm sure she is!

    But the big question: will their story have an HEA ending? I'll let you know!

    1. Jan, a friend of mine met his wife online. She was a New Zealander and we lived in Oregon. His whole family was completely skeptical (what, there are no girls in Oregon??).

      They've been married 15 years now, three kids. Absolutely happy with each other!

      The internet can be a beautiful thing.

  4. Blogger added extra Vidalia pics. Hmm.

    I normally make my own lemon bars too but time was of the essence.

    Praying for your meeting, Jan. We all want HEAs for our kids.

  5. Excellent read, and helpful too. I felt like I was there with you through the process. Better yet, it gave me ideas for dinner. Yum-E.

  6. Yummy!! I love that Salad Dressing. I use Ken's version.

    Never thought about it on chicken.

  7. Glad to inspire. I am willing to try any salad dressing on chicken. Except ranch.

  8. Julie, I thought of you this week when I was reviewing a cookbook -- gorgeous Canadian published. Mennonite Girls Can Cook : Celebrations and one of their contributors cooks gluten free so there are some nice recipes in it. They also have a blog -- Mennonite Girls Can Cook -- that has gluten free recipes as well. It seems there are more and more options out there all the time.

    I'll pass on the chicken since I'm a vegetarian. Love your porch though but my favourite part of your post was the dust bunnies! I have some of those hopping around my house too. They must be multiplying due to spring fever!

  9. We've used Italian dressing and Red Bell Pepper dressing, but not the Vidalia. Sounds great! We'll have to give it a try.
    And that's exciting news for your daughter. :) Smart guy--the flowers were a nice touch.

    1. Oh, I need to find the red pepper dressing. And, yes to the flowers. Love em.

  10. Vidalia? What is this Vidalia of which you speak??
    (Walla Walla Sweet Onions every time, baby.)

    And I loved that movie! So bad, but soooooo funny. Talk about torturing the characters.

    I can NOT imagine anyone not loving you and Man-O. That you cooked AND cleaned says so much right there.

    Love this post and I see many happy moments in the future!

  11. Julie, what a great idea for a quick meal!

    And LOL on the dust bunnies photo!!!! OMGosh, I need to buy some ears to put on my pet hair bunnie!!! :) :)