Weekday Dinner Party: Part I

I have never been a huge fan of entertaining.  I find it so stressful.  I usually freak out over what to cook, how to meet everyone’s dietary restrictions, and how to you cook multiple dishes that all need oven time when you only have one oven.

My hubby, however, loves nothing more than a full house.  The more the merrier.  What there aren’t enough chairs for everyone?  Let’s break out the camping chairs (I really am not kidding about that one.)  Not enough plates?  Let’s just use paper and plastic silverware (also not kidding about that one either.)

I have had to learn to relax my expectations for throwing dinner parties.  No Ina Garten perfectly decorated tables for me; just good company and, fingers crossed, good food.

With more and more of our friends having kids and being homebound, the weekday dinner party has become the new norm.  The challenges with this weekday dinner party: (1) What is yummy enough but easy enough to cook for more than two on a weeknight, and (2) What travels well when you have to pack it up and bring it over to homebound friends.

Last night we had our first weekday dinner party with our newest friends to become parents.  Rather than pick up take out I thought a home cooked meal would hit the spot so I went with one of my favorite weekday dishes but switched it up with a new side dish.

First the side dish – Arugula and Watermelon Salad.  Ina, I might not make a dinner party like you but I still love your recipes.

This was super easy to make, tasted great, and traveled exceptionally well.

First, cut a seedless watermelon into 3/4 inch cubes.

Then toss with arugula.

Mix up the salad dressing – lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper – in a separate bowl.

Shave the parmesan cheese into curls.  Or if you are me, buy them pre-shaved from Whole Foods.

If you are bringing this over to someone’s house, package the salad, dressing, and cheese separately to assemble there.

I have to say this is definitely a new addition to the salad rotation.  The spiciness of arugula balances the sweetness of the watermelon so nicely.  The tartness of the lemon and the saltiness, nuttiness of the parmesan cheese add a nice compliment.  It is such a delicious combination – the new parents thought so too.

You will have to check back tomorrow for my favorite weekday dinner recipe.

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