June 27, 2011

My husband and I had such FUN hosting 4 sweet couples for dinner last night.  Several of these couples are newer friends and, they are delightful to get to know.  The women each offered to bring something and, I was amazed at how MUCH this helped me in the prep time.  Collectively, they brought: a wonderful appetizer, salad and dessert.  

I had FUN preparing fried chicken and Belgian waffles, sweet potato casserole and, green beans with bacon.  

The MOST fun in the preparations?  The table!  I had a BALL setting the table with a blue and white color scheme.  

Summer Fun…..sweet friends, lots of laughter, home cooking and, most of all…

Plan a dinner party TODAY!  You will love the time spent with dear friends.  

A blue and white table.  My favorite!
I used sea shells as place cards.   The entire bag was $3.99 from Michael’s .
A bouquet of flowers adorned the entry hall table.
My dear sister-in-law placed white hydrangeas in cobalt blue goblets for our niece’s graduation party this past May.
I loved the look and decided to “borrow” her idea.
A dinner table set for ten.
Chicken and waffles!   Down home Cookin’!
I started making the waffles one hour before the guests arrived.  Place cooked
waffles under aluminum foil in a glass baking dish.   Keep warm in an oven set on 250 degrees.

Sweet Potato Casserole 

5 cans Bruce’s sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
3/4 cup half and half
3 eggs, beaten
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1 t. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 stick butter, softened

In a mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes, half and half and eggs.  Mix well with a hand mixer.  Add the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla.  *Can add 1/4 cup additional half and half as needed.

Combine the topping ingredients in a heavy duty zipper top plastic bag.  Knead with hands until crumbled.  Pour over top of casserole.  Grease a glass 9 x 13 baking dish with butter and, place mixture in the dish. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until hot in the center. 


5 cans whole green beans, drained
8 slices thick sliced bacon, reserve grease 
3/4 cup chopped and roasted pecans
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. ground sea salt
1 t. pepper 

Lay the bacon slices on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until browned.  Let cool and…*Reserve the grease. 

Place pecans on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with 1/2 t. garlic powder, 1/2 t. cayenne pepper (optional) and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Toss lightly.  Drizzle 1/2 stick melted butter over pecans and toss again with hands. *Add more garlic powder per your taste. 

Place pecan pieces in a 425 degree oven and, roast for 5-6 minutes.  *Be careful to not over brown.  Cool. 

Spray a glass 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the green beans in the dish.  Cut up the cooked bacon with cooking scissors, approximately 1/2 inch pieces and add to the green beans.  Toss with hands.  Drizzle the bacon grease over the top.  Add the garlic powder, sea salt and pepper.  Add the roasted pecans.  Toss again with hands.  

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until hot. 

* FLAIR TIP:  For the second time in this posting, I credit my sister-in-law, Mrs. Tara Bryson.  She gave me the idea to pre-purchase chicken strips from Kentucky Fried Chicken.   Purchasing the chicken strips made serving this main course a SNAP!  I confessed to my guests that I did not actually fry all of that chicken!  The chicken strips were fresh and tasty.  EASY to serve too!  

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