People say it’s hard to shop for women, but I actually think it’s harder to shop for men. My ex loved food, tennis shoes & sports so I had some easy guidelines. Dinner parties were usually very easy to pull together with some simple things. You can have elegance & fun and still keep it masculine.
I would set the table with a large sheet of brown or white parchment paper. Mark place settings with drawn on squares and their names above the “place mat” in a dark blue, bright green or deep purple.
Keep your flowers neutral with a variations of colors of Green & White. You can also add small succulent plants to your dinner table, bar or outdoor area. Use empty silver cans or Mason jars as vases.
Light with candles!! Fill white or brown bags with sand and a small tea light. Use a couple of these to light outside tables or your pool. You can also fill your pool with a few floating candles. You can also use mason jars filled with screws & nuts/bolts as a holder for small tea lights for your tables and bar area.
Take two large galvanized tubs with ice and fill one with classic bottled sodas. You know Coke, Bubble Up, etc. And then the other with a variety of bottled beer. You can get a variety of world sodas & beers from Cost Plus World Market.
Brie & Crackers
Spinach Dip with a Crudite Platter
Smoked Oysters, Garlic Cheese, Pepper Jack Cheese, Thinly Sliced Apples & Crackers
Tortilla Chips & Salsa (Use Blue Corn, White & Yellow Corn Tortilla chips to add color & extra flavor)
Bruschetta & Melba Toast
Spiced Popcorn: Try taking some sweet and savory seasonings and shake with popcorn in a brown paper bag. Shake and serve in small bowls. You can do a sweet and spicy, a savory & smokey and just sweet & buttery. Use what you have in the cabinet and get creative.
Macaroni & Cheese
Oven Bar-b-que Ribs & Chicken
Black Beans & Lime/Cilantro Rice
Stir Fried Cabbage w/Bacon
Coke & Root Beer Floats in Beer Glasses
Macaroni & Cheese:
Small Elbow Macaroni
Shredded Sharp Cheddar, Colby & Jack Cheese
Boil your water for the macaroni and add a bit of olive oil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend your shredded cheeses together in a bowl and set aside. Cook the macaroni. Once the macaroni is cooked season with salt, pepper and a dash of cinnamon. Melt the butter. I use a half stick, but that’s cause I love me some butter! Now you in a casserole pan you are gonna layer the macaroni & cheese. So layer of macaroni and then a layer of cheese until you get to the top where the top is cover with cheese. Half way through spread some melted through and then again on top of the top layer of cheese. Cover and insert into oven until cheese is melted through. If you like a little brown crunch on the top then uncover for about 5 minutes or until brown.
Barbeque Ribs & Chicken
Whole Cut up Chicken
Slab of Baby Back Ribs
Tony Chachere Seasoning
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Worcestershire Sauce
I clean and marinate my chicken and ribs first and have them sit over night in a rub. Remove the membrane from the ribs and keep as a whole slab. I combine the salt, pepper, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, TC seasoning, garlic powder & onion powder. Then I sprinkle and rub into the meat. Refrigerate over night.
To make the sauce add an equal amount of tomato paste & chicken stock together in saucepan and whisk together on a medium-low heat. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin, paprika, TC seasoning & garlic powder. Whisk in yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar. Juice about two lemons and add to your sauce. You can use one if you don’t like too much tang in your sauce. Whisk in your brown sugar in. Use your own discretion. I like a little sweetness so I don’t use a lot. Stir in your Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or the Worcestershire sauce for some color and salt. Add a bit of liquid smoke if you like a little smoke in your sauce. I like a little heat, so I add a couple drops of Siracha. Siracha is very very hot, but it’s got great flavor so use your own discretion and stir in a drop at a time so it doesn’t get too hot if you only want a hint of heat. Simmer sauce on low heat.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Add a little bit of water, liquid smoke to your pans for chicken & ribs. In your ribs pan, add a like three or four whole cloves to the bottom of the pan under the ribs. Cover your meat pans and cook. I watch them to see if they are to my liking… but about hour and a half or so. For the last half hour cover in the barbecue sauce and continue to cook. If you would like a browner/crisper skin on your chicken, remove the cover for the last half hour and watch.
Black Beans & Cilantro-Lime Rice
Canned Organic Black Beans (canned is so much easier, Trader Joes has organic ones very cheap)
Cook your rice. Juice your limes and chop your cilantro. Stir in fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro, salt, pepper & garlic powder into your cooked rice.
Chop Onions & Garlic. Chop up Smoke Turkey. Heat Olive Oil in saucepan. Brown Onions, Garlic & Smoked Turkey together. Add Black Beans. Season with Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika & Chili Powder.
I serve Rice and Beans separately so people can combine if they want.
Stir Fried Cabbage w/ Bacon
Head of Green Cabbage
Thick Sliced Bacon
Dice up your bacon. I use almost a whole pound because it shrivels up and we are a bacon eating family. Render the bacon down in a large pot until bacon is crispy. Remove and drain. Chop your onions & garlic and add to the bacon fat and sauté . Cut up your cabbage to your liking. I like cutting in half and then making thin slivers of cabbage to sauté . Stir in your cabbage a handful at a time. You may need to add a little bit more oil to stir fry. In that case add a little olive oil. Once the cabbage is completely cooked re-add the bacon and place in serving dish.
Now just a warning I cheat with cornbread. I use Jiffy or Marie Calendars mix and will add fresh white corn, diced jalapeños and/or sharp cheddar cheese. You can also make a little honey butter to go with it. Set your butter out to soften it, then whip in some raw honey and serve! DELICIOUS!
Coke/Root Beer Floats
This is pretty self-explanatory. Serving them in classic Beer Glasses make it fun, maybe add a little cool whip or whip cream to it! If you are in Texas you might wanna use that Blue Bell!! YUM YUM YUM!!