Dinner & Discussion, Week 3

There is something about finding a groove… I think we are starting to find it. At this point the group is comfortable with each other, the setting, and how things seem to flow. The discussion was some of the best we had yet.

One thing I haven’t quite found the groove of yet has been planning the menu. In theory I am supposed to plan the menu over the weekend so I can strategically plan and prepare for how it will be executed during the week. But I gotta say, it has not worked out that way one bit. We are in a very busy season of life and as a result several of these menus have been coming together very last minute. And what I am learning from this is that it is okay. Yeah, it would reduce a little stress but it is all still coming together. I have to remind myself, I’m new to all this so I’m not going to do it perfectly by any means.

For this menu I knew I wanted to do something with beef. But what? I had just done two roasted meat dishes in a row. So why not something a little down home like meatloaf. Mmm meatloaf. I know from the blogg-o-sphere that there are many people that don’t have fond memories of meatloaf but I do and I still enjoy it. Plus I figured a few of the people in the group would appreciate a dish from their day.

Meatloaf fixin's

My bigger problem with meatloaf was to serve or not to serve potatoes. Silly question to ask but for us, we don’t eat too many potatoes these days (except for sweet potatoes) and so far I have served potatoes at the last two gatherings. And then it hit me… Cauliflower mash! Creamy white thing to serve alongside meatloaf. Perfect.

The other dish I knew immediately that I wanted to pair with this menu was a deep dish chocolate cream pie. Oh my goodness, it was worth it.

Meatloaf: I am a big fan of adding pork sausage to my meatloaf. So I took this recipe and added it to it. I also added some greek season to it as well. Flavor booster. And of course I couldn’t do meatloaf without a sweetened ketchup sauce over the top.

Caulilfower Mash: I was surprised at how well this dish was received. Granted it was loaded with butter and I did lace it with one russet potato but you still clearly knew it was cauliflower. Needless to say, there was none left.

Cauliflower Mash

Butternut Caprese Salad: Okay, I have to admit, I saw the first butternut squash of the season in the store and I had to find a way to incorporate it into the menu. Enter another good summer/fall straddler. Caprese with butternut squash and avocados. You just can’t go wrong with this combination.

Apple Walnut Chard & Mixed Greens Salad: This week I was at a loss as to what salad to make. This salad was one of the first raw chard salads that actually had me going back again and again. So I thought by adding in some other greens to mix up the chard might be an introduction to an ingredient that doesn’t seem to get a whole lot of love. I think it worked pretty well. And it used up the celery from the lentils from the first week’s menu!

Chocolate Cream Pie: It should not surprise you one bit that this is a Smitten Kitchen recipe. I couldn’t leave it alone though and had to do a deep dish version because we all know you just don’t get enough filling with the regular version. Simply double the pudding recipe and fill it pretty high, eat any leftover pudding or pour it into ramekins.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Dinner and Discussion is a weekly gathering over a meal and discussion. Read more about this series.

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