All American Dinner Party

When I heard we were having a country themed party with my sorority I was beyond excited! First off, I love, love, love country music. It’s a constant soundtrack in my life. I used to hate it, but when I was fifteen and working at camp, country stations are the only ones that exist in rural Missouri. So after three months of it, I learned to not only like it, I came to love it.

Not only would a country themed party allow me to listen country all night long but I would get to wear cowboy boots and it would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally host a dinner party!

I came up with a menu and made a guest list (as well as a great playlist!). I spent Friday cooking away and had a fantastic time. That is until about 30 minutes before people started to arrive and the temperature was reaching 86 degrees in my apartment and I had way to many things happening.

But it all turned out perfect! People arrived and we had waaaay more than enough food. I had a chance to curl my pigtails and slip into my cowboy boots.

Here are some tips I learned from hosting my first ever dinner party:

1. Turn the air conditioner waaaaaay down several hours before guests arrive.
2. Set up a separate table for drinks and another for the food. Keep them on other ends of the room so people aren’t crowded into one area.
3. Buy ice!! Whoops…
4. Include things in the menu that can be prepared earlier in the day (apple crisp!)
5. Have fun and enjoy yourself! There’s probably no real reason to freak, you’re guest are probably not stressing over the fact that the corn is cold.

There are very few pictures of finished food because as it came closer to arrival time, my camera was the farthest thing from my mind. It was more focused on ah! my chicken is burning but the inside is raw! My guests are going to get salmonella!

But here’s a peak at the menu along with the recipe for perfect fall off the bone chicken. The rest of the recipes are to come.

And no, thankfully no one was poisoned from raw chicken…crisis averted.

Menu:

Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken
Corn Bread with Bacon Butter
Corn on the Cob
Bacon Green Beans
My Famous Apple Crisp

I tried to prep as much as I could before hand.  Cooking for almost 30 people is a very daunting task and I knew that the crazy amount of chicken I needed to cook was going to take ages.

So let me break it down.

When I woke up I went to work on my apple crisps. I’m not going to be modest when I say I make a mean apple crisp. It’s very simple – just butter, flour, sugar, cinnamon and apples. Bake it. Done. Don’t you worry, I’m going to give more details in another post.

Next I made the cornbread. I’m not a huge cornbread fan so I did some research and found that cornbread takes a bit of work (and I was not about to go out and buy corn meal on top of everything else). So I read on several blogs that Trader Joes makes a great box mix. Egg, oil, mix, boom – done. And it must have been good because by the time I got around to getting a plate of food for myself, the corn bread had disappeared.

Then came the chicken. Oh the chicken. I went to Sam’s to buy in bulk and had my mom on the phone guiding me in how much chicken I would need. I got two packs of breast (5 each), one pack of drumsticks (around 20), and a pack of thighs (15 or so). Oh silly mommy, waaaay more chicken then necessary (I’ll have chicken leftovers well into next week). But here’s the recipe because honestly, it was pretty amazing chicken.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (with skin)
  • BBQ sauce – I used KC Masterpiece Kansas style, but your favorite will do
  • Garlic Salt
  • Salt and Pepper
How – To:
First off place the chicken in your baking pans. I bought disposable big aluminium pans I could throw away when done. Coat the chicken with garlic salt, pepper and a bit of salt. Now douse those puppies (chickies?) in BBQ. Let them chill in the fridge for several hours (like the time it takes to bake the other things!).
I did mine in batches, but cook the chicken, covered with foil, at 400 degrees for around 45 minutes. Check it out. Does it look really raw still? Stick it back in. Ovens differ, some chickens are fatter than others, so these times are very temperamental. But after 45 to an hour, uncover the chicken and put it in for 30 minutes. This will give it a nice crunchy skin texture and allow it to brown up a bit.
Take it out and poke around to make sure it’s not raw (it is? put it back in the oven! No food poisoning for our guests!)
Cover it with foil until you’re ready to serve! Or until you’re finished cooking the three other batches…
While the chicken’s doing it’s thing – boil the corn, fry some bacon (reserve a 2 strips) and to the rest add steamed green beans with lots of fresh cracked pepper.
What is that reserved bacon for? Oh you remember me mentioning bacon butter? Yup. Got that idea from HowSweetEats. She put her’s on grilled corn which my guests could also use it on, but I was thinking more along the lines of slathering it on the cornbread (yeah the one I didn’t get to eat…but don’t worry there was leftover and I made toast in the morning.)
And it’s very simple. Fry bacon. Chop it up. Mix into butter. Slather generously.
Serve everything on a checkered table-cloth and have someone pour you a drink! American only please. Whiskey and American beer all the way.
Hosting a dinner party is quite the task…but one I am willing to do again and again! Just maybe fewer people…
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