The Myers' family gathered at my house over the weekend to celebrate the matriarch's birthday. We were originally going to eat out at an Italian restaurant, but decided to stay home. I stayed with the Italian theme and it turned out to be an easy feast to make for a group
I was too busy cooking to get pictures of the food, but it was delish! I promise!
First things first! This dinner party was a last minute decision we made the night before, so I didn't really have the time or the energy to make homemade bread. I went with the next best thing - Bridgford Frozen Ready Dough. I took 2 loaves out of the freezer very early in the day and let it thaw a bit. These are very easy to make in a loaf pan. Just spray the pan and plop the frozen loaf into it. It will thaw and rise and will be ready to go in the oven when you are! I didn't want the mess of slicing the bread (I'm lazy like that), so I decided to make these into rolls. I sprayed 2 pie plates and pulled the dough into 8 pieces each. I rolled the pieces into balls (sort of - they look kind of rough but that is okay) and placed them into the pie plates. 8 dough balls in each one. Then I left them alone to rise until I was ready to bake them
I started the Red Sauce early in the day. I chose to make it in a slow cooker to save room on the cook top. This ended up being a wonderful idea. It is the first time I made this sauce in a slow cooker - it turned out really delicious. This is a wonderful sauce that I normally cook low and slow, but for some reason the flavors were intensified making it in the slow cooker - I will only make it this way from now on!
After the red sauce was simmering nicely, I mixed up the Meatball ingredients. I love these meatballs - the fresh basil really adds a nice flavor! I could eat these all day long! I popped these in the oven about 45 minutes before dinner was to be ready. I let them rest and kept them warm until ready to serve. At this time, you could put them in with the sauce if you desire, but I was concerned they would make the sauce greasy, so I decided against that idea
After I took the meatballs out of the oven, I let it cool down a bit to about 375 degrees. Now I was ready to cook the bread. I wanted to leave one set of rolls plain and one I dressed with a delicious parsley herb butter. We had steaks the previous night, and I made this butter to go with the steaks - it was so good! I knew it would be great on the rolls...
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 good sized garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together. Give it a taste and make any necessary adjustments and then chill until ready to use
I melted about 1 tablespoon of this and then brushed it all over the rolls. I put both pans of rolls in the oven and cooked at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. I let them cool a few minutes, pulled them apart and served. Delicious!
While the bread was baking, I started heating the water for the noodles, and while the water was coming to a boil I started the Alfredo sauce.
I absolutely love this Alfredo sauce recipe from Kittencal on food.com I found this several years ago and have been making it this way ever since. I found the flour measurement to make this too thick, so I recommend using only 1/2 the amount of flour called for in the recipe. Other than that, make it just as stated and go on the heavy side for the thyme (I use fresh thyme)- it is a nice addition! Don't skimp on the garlic either! and don't try making it low-fat. It is Alfredo sauce and has lots of fat and calories - that is just the way it is. Beware! You won't ever eat Alfredo out again!
By this time my water was boiling and I was ready to make the noodles. I purchased the refrigerated noodles because they cook in boiling water about 2-3 minutes and they taste so much better than the dried - in my opinion (and I don't have the KitchenAid pasta roller/cutter set yet to make my own - hint hint to the hubs). I also picked up some cheese ravioli for something different
Everyone had arrived by this time and helped me get everything into serving dishes and set out on the table. Served with a salad and Italian dressing - It was an easy and delicious meal to enjoy with the family!
My brother-in-law and his wife Amanda brought a yummy key lime pie for dessert to round out our meal - it was so nice to have everyone together...well almost everyone...Madison is in GA and was missed!