Dinner Parties can range from elegant, romantic evenings to amusing theme evenings.   Whether they are elegant and sumptuous or pure fun and frolic parties,  they are all easy step by step plans that fit into our “I CAN” motto and thinking.    So this elegant party will help you to see how to “knock the socks off” of your guests.   Give it a try.

An evening of beauty, romance, soft music, easy conversation.
(This could also serve as a perfect Valentine’s day party. Ask everyone to come in red.)

A dinner party for eight


Hot Stuffed Mushrooms
Bacon Wrapped Bread Sticks
Sunset Dip
Spicy Olives

Drinks :
Iced Ginger ale Sprintzers
Chilled red and white wines

Main Course:
Cabernet Potroast
Roast Potatoes
French Baby Peas
Green Salad
Rolls, Butter

Dark Chocolate covered strawberries
Mini Eclairs (buy frozen)
Chocolate Brownies (served with hot chocolate syrup) (buy brownies)

DRESS CODE:  Dressy.  Suits and Ties and cocktail dresses for the ladies.

Dress up for this elegant evening.

Dress up for this elegant evening.

Black Tie (Puttin’ on the Ritz)



Greet guests into your home, show them to a seat in your living room that is alight with candles glowing and an appetizer table set with small plates, napkins and plates of stuffed mushrooms; Bacon wrapped bread sticks; spicy olives and cocktail meatballs.  Nearby set up a station of Ginger Ale Spritzers; And a tray of wine glasses with a choice of chilled red and white wines.



Tried and true

preheat oven to 400 degrees

24 large mushrooms
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon chopped Greek olives ( you may substitute brown olives but it won’t be as spicy.)
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Romano cheese

Remove mushroom stems and gently hollow out the cap of the mushrooms.  Brush caps with melted butter or olive oil and set aside.Finely chop stems and saute with garlic in 1 Tablespoon butter or olive oil.  (Don’t let garlic burn) Remove mixture to a bowl and add rest of ingredients.  Mix well.

Fill caps and mound the mixture a little.  Place filled caps on a well buttered shallow baking dish and bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes.


Sweet and smoky bacon wrapped breadsticks
Sweet and smoky bacon wrapped bread sticks

These will disappear in about a minute at your party.

1 package plain or sesame seed bread sticks
bacon,  each slice cut in half
brown sugar
Cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap each bread stick in 1/2 slice bacon twisting it down the bread stick as you go.  Mix some brown sugar with a little Cayenne pepper and dip bacon wrapped bread stick into sugar mixture.  Lay each stick on a baking sheet and bake until bacon is done but not real crisp.   Serve warm.


bean dip

2 cans white navy beans or Northern beans, drained
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic,  peeled and mashed
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 scant teaspoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tablespoon finely chopped green pimento olives

You may put all ingredients into a food processor or mash and mix ingredients together in a bowl.    Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Serve with:   Pita wedges that have been spread with olive oil and sesame seeds and toasted.   Split pitas and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with seeds.   Toast then cut into wedges.


Spicy Olives with Cayenne Pepper

Spicy Olives with Cayenne Pepper

1 jar Large pimento olives
Red cayenne pepper
1/4 cup Olive oil
In a large skillet,  heat olive oil and sear olives quickly. Remove olives, place in a bowl and sprinkle with as much cayenne “heat” as you and your guests can take.





Ginger ale/orange spritzers

Ginger ale/orange spritzers


  • 1 qt orange juice
  • 1 liter ginger ale (chilled)
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • orange wedge (optional)
  • maraschino cherry (optional)
    Mix orange juice, ginger ale and lemon juice together in a pitcher.
    For each serving:  fill glass 3/4 full of crushed ice.  Pour in Ginger ale mixture, place an orange wedge on the glass and place cherry on top of soda mixture.



4-1/2  lb. Beef pot roast
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup water plus 3 tablespoons
1 package brown gravy mix
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Rub your beef roast with salt and pepper and place in your crock pot (slow cooker).  In a small bowl, combine chopped onion, water, gravy mix, ketchup, wine, Worcestershire sauce and garlic.
Blend well and pour over beef.   Place the lid on your crock pot and cook on low 8-10 hours.
Remove the meat when done and slice.   Place sliced meat on a platter and pour some gravy over to serve.  Garnish with a bunch of parsley.    Serve extra gravy in a small pitcher or gravy dish.


Crisped on the outside with bits of bacon and full of flavor.

Golden Roasted potatoes flavored with rosemary and bacon

Golden Roasted potatoes flavored with rosemary and bacon

6 large baking potatoes, peeled and sliced into wedges.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 strips bacon,  diced
4 sprigs fresh rosemary,  rough chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl, combine potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper and diced bacon.  Mix to coat potatoes well.  Pour out onto a large baking sheet and place rosemary on top of potatoes randomly.   Bake until potatoes are golden and tender.  (45 min. to one hour.)

French Baby Peas
Easy and beautiful,  emerald green peas with pearl onions and herbs.

Lovely emerald peas and pan seared pearl onions

Lovely emerald peas and pan seared pearl onions

2 bags frozen baby peas
1 bag frozen pearl onions
2 Tablespoons, chopped fresh parsley
1/4  teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoon butter
Place frozen peas in a medium size saucepan and just cover with water and add salt.  As soon as water boils,  remove from heat drain,  place in large bowl and add butter and mix gently.   Meanwhile, in a large skillet, place two tablespoons olive oil and pour in the onions.  Saute until onions begin to brown slightly.  Remove and add to peas and toss gently.  Sprinkle chopped parsley over and serve immediately.

Shopping List
1 beef roast 4-1/2 lbs.
1 package brown gravy mix
Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon wine
1 medium onion (sweet if possible)
1 liter  ginger ale
1 quart orange juice
marachino cherries
white and red wine
24 large white mushrooms
onion powder
fresh parsley
Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
5-6 Dark Greek olives or 1 can chopped brown olives
Romano Cheese wedge
1 pkg. Small pitas
1 jar of sesame seeds
olive oil
6-8 large baking potatoes
fresh rosemary
1 lb. bacon
brown sugar
cayenne pepper
fresh basil
1 small bottle small green pimento olives
1 large bottle large green pimento olives
2 bags frozen baby peas
1 bag frozen pearl onions
sea salt
bread sticks, plain or sesame
1 head ice burg lettuce
1 bag mixed greens
1 bunch carrots
Italian Salad Dressing (Good Seasons packet mix)
Strawberries (fresh)
dark chocolate chips
dark chocolate ice cream syrup
Brownies (box mixes or ready made)
Dinner rolls
coffee and tea

Table Decorations
Think elegant!  Layer plates,  put on your nicest tablecloth (neutral or fine print on solid background.  Look around your home, put things on the table you would never think of such as things from your bedroom, porch, etc.
Use scarves to flow down the middle of your table as added interest and elegance.

Idea for an elegant table place setting

Idea for an elegant table place setting





more detail.  I used a small flower arrangement at each place setting

more detail. I used a small flower arrangement at each place setting












Day before: 

  • Choose serving dishes, utensils, glasses and table setting items.  Wash and dry and have ready for tomorrow.
  • Wash salad greens in a bowl of cold water with 2 tablespoons vinegar to remove any residue.  Rinse and pat dry completely.   Place in an bowl with a barely damp paper towel over the greens and cover tightly with foil.  Do this only  If you don’t have a salad spinner they only cost about $5 – $6 and they make salad greens crisp.
  • Chop parsley, place in sealed plastic bag and refrigerate.
  • Make Sunset dip and refrigerate tightly covered.
  • Refrigerate your wines if you haven’t done so already
  • Make spicy olives and refrigerate.  Let come to room temperature 2 hours before party.
  • Set Table Tonight or late afternoon.  Put out two sets of salt and pepper shakers

Early on the day of the party: (remember the roast has to cook on low for 8-10 hrs.)  Put roast and ingredients into crock pot) Now you can go back to bed for awhile.

After you wake up again ~

  • cut up tomatoes or any other ingredients for salad and refrigerate in plastic bags.
  • 2:00 p.m. ~ prepare mushrooms and peta breads, don’t bake yet.  Just wrap and refrigerate.
  • Saute pearl onions for peas.
  • Wrap bacon around bread sticks and prepare but don’t bake until 15 minutes before guests arrive.  Refrigerate covered.
  • Set up trays with glasses for spritzers and wine.
  • Set up coffee pot to simply plug in later and have water in a tea kettle for tea drinkers.
  • 3 hrs. before guests arrive – shower and dress

Wear an apron or cover your nice clothes because you still have work to do in the kitchen.

  • 2 hrs. before guests arrive ~ prepare potatoes but don’t bake yet.
  •   Put your rolls on a plate or in a basket and cover tightly.   Place butter on table.
  • 1 hr. before guests arrive -
  • place potatoes in oven
  • 45 minutes before guests arrive
  • Be prepared to plate pot roast after guests arrive and have started on appetizers.
  • Double check all last minute things to be done.
  • Uncork wines and let them breathe till guests come. (tastes better)
  • 30 minutes before guests arrive:
  • light candles on table and around the house
  • bake mushrooms and pita bites
  • Cook peas and keep warm.
  • Prepare salad with dressing and other ingredients
  • Make spritzers and place these, wine and appetizers on your table with small plates, napkins

They’re here: RELAX, take a deep breath, put on your most dazzling smile and greet them in.

About 10 – 15 minutes before serving dinner:   Excuse yourself – Take roast out of crockpot, slice and plate and pour gravy into container and call everyone to dinner – Enjoy.


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