The First Dinners With Dan Dinner Party!

Dinners With Dan Dinner Party!

Last Thursday was the first Dinners With Dan Dinner Party, and it was a great success!  I’m already looking forward to the next dinner party this month!  (And I learned a lot from this first one, like make sure to get recipes the day of or right after so I’m not posting this a week late =).)

My friend Simmy hosted the evening and it ended up being a small and intimate gathering as my friends Meg, Ashley, and Kristen also joined in the festivities.  The recipe for the evening was simple: bring a dish to share (anything was fair game!) so we could all enjoy a great dinner and I would post pictures and the recipes after!

I made my All-Vegetable Lasagna for the dinner party, but read on to find out about the other amazing dishes we all enjoyed!

My friend Meg brought a Pimiento Mac and Cheese

From Meg: “It’s taken from Radically Simple by Rozanne Gold. I love this cookbook because all of the dishes use very few ingredients (usually 5-6), so they’re, well, radically simple to make. :)”

What You’ll Need:

  • 12 oz. dried pasta (I used veggie elbows)
  • 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed
  • 6.5 oz jar of roasted peppers
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 large garlic clove

How to Make It:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook for 12 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile, combine the cheese, roasted peppers (including brine from the jar), mayonnaise, and garlic in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Drain the pasta well and toss with the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately!

Meg's Pimiento Mac and Cheese


Next up is Simmy’s Hummus and Romesco Sauce.

What You’ll Need:


  • 1 can chickpeas (drain most of the water out. leave about a tbsp)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tsp. salt (I prefer sea salt)
  • 2 tsp. paprika

Romesco Sauce:

  • One jar of red peppers (drain the water)
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. salt

How to Make It:

1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and mix.
2. Enjoy!

Romesco Sauce:
1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and mix.
2. Enjoy!

Simmy's Hummus

Some notes:

For the Hummus, there are a few additional things you can add to your taste preference:

1. Sriracha (i add this to everything)
2. extra honey – if you like it sweet. Just note that you would want to add less oil if you are doing this.
3. red peppers
4. jalapeno
& anything else your heart desires!!

This is pretty spicy. If you want it less spicy, add less red pepper and more extra virgin olive oil.


The last three dishes were all brought by Kristen, and all of them were absolutely delicious.  Let’s start with her Braised Romano Beans.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1/2 cup minced carrot
  • 1 cup minced red onion
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup peeled, crushed ripe tomatoes, preferably plum tomatoes, with their juices (I used regular medium-sized tomatoes)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds romano beans (flat green beans), ends trimmed (or fresh cranberry beans in their shells).

How to Make It:

1. Heat oil in a deep skillet or a shallow three-quart saucepan. Add celery, carrot and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables barely begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, a few minutes. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until mixture is well combined, about 5 minutes.

2. Add beans, setting them in pan all in one direction. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer. Baste beans, season with salt, reduce heat to low. Cook gently, partly covered, turning beans in sauce from time to time, until beans are very tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings.

Kristen's Braised Romano Beans


Next, Kristen made a delicious, simple, Roasted Eggplant.

What You’ll Need:

  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of Pepper

How To Make It:

Cut the eggplant into a dice, drizzle it with the olive oil, and top it with as much rosemary, salt, pepper as you desire.  Roast at 400° for about 50 minutes.

Kristen's Roasted Eggplant


Last, Kristen made a wonderful Summer Panzanella.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • An ample handful of basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ears of corn

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

How to Make It:

1. Roast corn (in the husk) in the oven at 400° for about 20 minutes.  Cut kernels off the ears.

2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

3. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the ingredients.

4. In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, corn kernels, and basil. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

5. Serve immediately, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Kristen's Summer Panzanella


So, there you have it!  The dishes from the first Dinners with Dan Dinner Party!  Thanks again to Simmy, Meg, Ashley, and Kristen for a great night!

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