I was compensated for this post by Green Chef, but all opinion are my own. Scroll to end for link to get 6 meals for FREE.
One of the things I want to focus on this year is spending more time with friends. We are all moms and between taking care of our families, husbands and households, there is little time left over to fill up our own cups. It doesn’t take long before connections weaken and phone calls happen less and less. I’ve noticed this trend in my own life the past couple years with newborns, babies and toddlers taking over my entire focus. I’ve set a goal to organize more girls night activities and last month I held a Garden Party themed dinner party with a couple friends.
I love to cook and decorate, but grocery shopping and food prep totally deter me from hosting get togethers as often as I would like. By the time I search for recipes on Pinterest, drag my kids to the grocery store and prep everything I’ve lost all the excitement and spent a fortune on extra food that will probably go to waste. That is why I decided to let Green Chef do all the work for me on this party and it was the best decision I’ve made in a while!
They prep, portion and package fresh, organic ingredients and send along step by step photo instructions with how to prepare the meals. It comes in the mail in a cooler box with dry ice to keep everything safe and fresh. Everything is so cute in it’s tiny little jars and baggies all labeled clearly and color coded. All the ingredients were beautiful, I often fail at making sure everything I purchase is at the right ripeness so this is a major perk!
We grabbed our aprons and got to cooking. I put on some music, my husband took the kids out and we got to just chat and laugh and cook together. Such a fun way to catch up and bond! Each week Green Chef releases a new menu of about 6 meals for you to choose from. That week the options were: Zucchini & Mint Fritters, Mediterranean Chicken, Steak Panzanella, Lasagna Rolls, Bacon Mac n Cheese, Crispy Ramen Tempeh Salad.
The first thing we made were the Zucchini and Mint fritters. You could make a couple large fritters, but we used them as an appetizer so we made little mini versions. The only prep work we had to do was grate the zucchini. After that we mixed everything together and pan fried them till they were golden and crispy. While they were cooking we boiled the quinoa and toasted some pine nuts.
The next meal we worked on was the Panzanella Salad with Steak & Mozzarella. I started by toasting the ciabatta bread. How cute is this pink Silicone Baking Mat ! Grabbed that at Ikea while I was shopping for table decor. I usually use parchment paper when cooking, but I love that this is totally reusable.
I let the steak sit in the ready made marinade which smelled so good. I can’t even tell you how yummy it smelled, I made everyone smell it too. Had to share the experience with everyone, ya know? I cooked it on stove a grill pan and when it was done, I let it rest and sliced it.
Then I chopped up a tomato and pepper and blanched some green beans. Everything else was diced and ready to go for us. We tossed the toasted bread and veggies together with the vinaigrette included and topped with the steak.
The Mediteranean Chicken Thighs were so easy to put together because you only use a large skillet to prepare the entire meal. We seared the chicken then added everything else in except the arugula, simmered for just a bit and threw the entire pan in the oven. When we plated it dish we put everything on the bed of arugula.
Zucchini & Mint Fritters, Lemon Quinoa, Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts
This meal was full of so much flavor, they all were so get used to hearing that. I have not been a fan of goat cheese in the past, but it added a creamy quality while the tomatoes added freshness to the dish. Every item except the goat cheese was organic in this dish. The portion was huge and I had enough left over for a midnight snack.
Panzanella Salad with Steak & Mozzarella
Don’t let the toasted ciabatta in this salad throw you off. The crisp green beans and bell peppers compliment the punch of flavor that the toasted bread takes on from soaking in the vinaigrette. The fennel and red onion are sliced so thin that it adds just a subtle flavor and doesn’t over power. How can you go wrong with delicious cubes of mozzarella in any salad?! The steak was so tender and full of flavor from the marinade that I almost couldn’t wait to eat it to put it on top of the salad. This would have been pretty awesome on a bed of spring mix greens if you wanted to make it go even farther for a party.
Mediterranean Chicken Thighs, Chickpeas, Artichokes & Lemon
This seems like the most complicated dish, but it was the easiest because it’s made in 1 skillet. The chicken thighs get a lovely crispy skin on them from being baked in the oven. They sit on top of a bed of arugula, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, roasted peppers and olives. I had never had a chickpea before and I am happy to report that they were delicious! I was a little worried because I am not a fan of the texture of hummus, but whole chickpeas have a crispness to them that I really loved.
We are already getting Summertime temps here in southern California so I ordered this picnic bench from Home Depot and they delivered it the very next day, totally assembled for under $100! It has been begging for some pretty decor.
This cake stand was a gift from Deedeemotique and I love how the bark edges were the perfect contrast to the bright blue table color. My mom gave me these white bird salt and pepper shakers for Christmas a couple years ago from Pier 1 Imports and the light pink bird cage is from Ikea.
I lined these light blue Ikea glasses with pink sugar and cut down a paper straw for them. You can see the beautiful detail in the glass plates, they were so pretty!
I made the most delicious flavored sweet water for us to enjoy! I let muddled mint and diced strawberries sit in a pitcher of water in the fridge for a couple hours and added some white sugar to sweeten it just a bit. It was so good! If you are looking for a soda alternative to cool off with this Summer this is it!
I also made a lavender rose sweet water that was so good too! I picked up these potted succulents while at Home Depot and painted the rocks blue and pot with black chalkboard paint. It made them pop so beautifully.
These little blooms came in a pack of 8 and I potted them in these biodegradable pots. When you are done with your party you can take the entire pot and plant it in the ground! How easy is that?!
This pink little garden tool is from a kids Hello Kitty set and I just wrapped the handle with jute.
I whipped up these little menus on Picmonkey.com and wrapped those with jute as well for a little extra detail. I love the way the purple linen napkin shows through the clear plate and hangs over the blue table top. A party is made by the small details that come together to create something special.
I am obsessed with these mini cutting boards that my neighbor created for me. I stopped by his house one night to ask him what supplies I would need to make them and the next day he dropped 6 off at my house. Can you believe that they aren’t even stained?! It’s maple treated with mineral oil to help protect it and it just turns the wood that amazing color. Having handy neighbors is the best! It’s a bonus if they are super sweet and willing to serve those around them.
While I was on Picmonkey I also made these cute little signs for a each place setting. “Friendships are like gardens, you must water them if you want them to bloom.”
It was such a fun night and using Green Chef just made it perfection. No worrying about messing up a new recipe or choosing produce or meat that is less than stellar. Green chef does all the work for you so you can actually enjoy your party. Imagine that! For all you party perfectionists out there, that may be a foreign concept, but it is possible! Not to worry my gluten free friends, they have you cover too. Meals cost just over $11 per person which is way cheaper than going out to eat and the food is so much better. Right now you can get 6 meals for FREE! Just pay $9 shipping. Link expires April 17th. Head over to Green Chef and check out this week’s selections, which one looks the best?!