Great dinner! Great friends!

What’s better than great food and great friends!?  Last week we had two past co-workers of mine over for dinner.  It was great to get together again, talk, tell stories that have been told many times, and laugh!

For dinner we served:

Carrot Ginger Soup – This is a great recipe from  We used the lowest sodium chicken broth we could find (there were about 6 different low-sodium, and no-sodium-added) versions in the grocery store.  Homemade broth would be better of course.  I grated the ginger root and would use more the next time, but we really like ginger!  We also omitted the cinnamon that was in the recipe and added a couple of sprigs of thyme from the garden.  We served this with a small dollop of sour cream and a  drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar on top.

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad – This salad was inspired by a couple of recipes and salads we’ve had in restaurants.  It would be best if the beets were grilled but we roasted them in the oven. We used mixed young greens, the roasted beets (warm, not hot) in cubes, strawberries, goat cheese, pecans and a balsamic dressing.

Chicken Marbella – This is an odd recipe and “Chicken Marbella” sounds much better than Prune and Olive Chicken as its listed on the site.  As odd as it sounds it is a delicious dish!  We marinated it overnight and followed the recipe quite closely.  Good served with rice or couscous.  We served it with a couscous mixture (including mini lentils, small pasta, quinoa) and steamed asparagus topped with lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

Dessert: Moo-Less Chocolate Pie – there are many recipes for this pie, but this is the one we usually turn to.  This makes a wonderfully rich, chocolately silky pie that is dairy free.  If you are serious about making this dairy-free, be careful when you buy the chocolate chips.  Our grocery store (SuperStore) has only one kind (store brand) of chocolate chips that don’t have milk products. Also, the ready made chocolate crust that we use is dairy free!  We served this with strawberry coulis and a strawberry garnish but its also great with raspberry.

It was a great evening.   Relaxed and fun.  We look forward to more entertaining as we finish our renovations!