You all know me by now, that part of my entertaining mission is delegation!

Delegation makes a night of entertaining more affordable and takes a lot of stress off of the hostess!

Delegation means different hands preparing the meal, allowing for the addition of the guest’s cooking flare to shine through.

Adding a little touch of something “different,” but yet “simple,” can add ZIP and EASE to your dinner party. So my family prepared a delicious meal for our out-of-town guests last week.

It started like this:

Driveway lined with cars.

The reason why we gathered.

Simple appetizers on the side patio.

1 pkg. Jiffy pizza crust mix
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. onion powder
Assorted vegetables (sliced mushrooms, diced tomatoes, green peppers, olives, onions or celery). Prepare crust as directed on package. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. Blend cream cheese into sour cream and mayonnaise. Add seasonings. Spread evenly over crust. Arrange vegetables on top and sprinkle with cheese. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour. Cut into desired serving pieces.

Chicken thighs and breasts sizzled on the BBQ.

My marinade secret? Costco’s Teriyaki sauce – add your own brown sugar, dry mustard, ginger and soy sauce. Fast and easy, and you’ll make the bottle last a lot longer!

Creamy Potatoes Gratin (made the night before) re-heated in the oven.

(Recipe, here! Fresh celery from our garden.)

Baguette bread sliced, heated, and served with a zippy, garlicky butter.

Roast a whole head of garlic cloves: tear away as much of the outer layer as your can, cut off the top, drizzle with olive oil, bake at 500 for 25min in a pan with a little water in the bottom. Smash the garlic and mix it with 1 1/2 cubes salted butter. Add green onion and that’s it! The more garlic, the tastier!

Strawberry salad was tossed.

Spring mix greens, cooked crumbled bacon, fresh strawberries (sliced), toasted almonds, roasted ramen noodles, and sesame seeds.
Dressing: (wait until last minute to toss)
½ c oil
¼ c sugar
2 T. white wine vinegar
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt

Platter of fruit kabobs with easy, creamy, dipping sauce.

½ c. sugar
2 T. flour
1 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1 T. butter
1 egg
1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped
In small saucepan, combine sugar and flour. Gradually whisk in pineapple juice. Add butter. Cook and stir until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil – for 1-2 min. or until thickened. Remove from heat.
Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, stirring several times. Fold in whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Serve with fruit.

The food was ready, we all grabbed hands and sang our family Friesen Prayer of thanks, and then we gathered around the buffet table filling our plates.

Dessert – cake, ice cream, and fresh strawberries from our garden.

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 cubes butter
1 c. water
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. sour cream
2 eggs
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. vanilla and mix together.
Pour in cookie sheet with sides (jelly roll pan). Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
1/4 c. cocoa (more or less to taste)1/2 c. milk (start with slightly less)1 cube butter
Cook these three ingredients together until bubbly.
Add: 4 c.powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
Nuts may be added.
Pour frosting on hot cake when it comes from oven. Frosting may run over sides.

Our hot summer night’s party had come to an end.

Pool light turned off.

Party lights and music turned off.

We said our good-byes.

This post seems to be centered on the food that was served at our dinner party, but we all know that ultimately this night was not about the food. It was not about whether or not the meat was overdone or undercooked, or whether my table was set just right.

Our night was about hanging out, laughing, and letting our hair down – about being real with each other, catching up on old times, and reconnecting.

Of course it always helps to have some great cooks contribute to the meal! And in our family, that seems to happen every time.

(Very top photo: Great family cooks in my family! Thank you Di, Lin, Addie & Lisa for contributing!)

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