“What can I do?” Patrice said looking furtively about the kitchen.
I laughed. We normally get together at her house and I’m the helper. Tonight the roles were switched for my Chicken Soup for the Soul Dinner Party, and I could tell she was feeling a little out of place without a kitchen utensil in her hand.
“Ok. Brown the sausage,” I said.
“Oh, good! I have a task!” (I’m not kidding – that is what she said.)
As my husband got everyone drinks (and dutifully took pictures as assigned), Pat and I continued putting together the great food that Chicken Soup had sent to me. Conversation flowed back and forth and then our other friends arrived as well. The smell of dinner soon got everyone asking “when will it be ready?” and “it smells good!” Patrice and I worked together as we had so many other times in a coordinated orchestra between stove, sink and plating.
We were about to break bread.
What made the night a little more special was we were combining friends. We’d been friends with both Patrice and Vinny for over ten years and we were introducing them to Amy and Dwayne (the parents of those adorable god daughters I keep talking about!) They had known each other professionally, but not in the “friend” capacity. Only time would tell how they would all get along, but I had a good feeling that tasty food and wine would bring us all together.
We decided to make the Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Bean with Tomato Sauce using the Chicken Soup for the Soul Tomato Basil pasta. We also used the Crispy Sour Cream Onion Soup Topper, but on the salad (which Patrice graciously provided) instead. We broke into the onion straws early to get a taste and before we knew it there were barely enough for the salad! Everyone agreed they make a good snack and would go well on a variety of foods.
The food came together nicely and made a lovely table. The sauce for the pasta did not disappoint and everyone thought it tasted wonderful. We all vowed to check out the local grocery store to see how many of these great Chicken Soup food products we could purchase. I know we’ll all be searching for the Soup Toppers!
As we sat down to eat, we all were having a little too much fun so I snapped a few more pictures.
As we ate and chatted, it soon became apparent that Dwayne was the conversationalist. He regaled us of stories from his childhood (many which cannot be retold in print) and folklore from around our town. He grew up here, like me, and had numerous knee slapping stories to tell. In no time, everyone had full bellies and laughing faces.
Good food, interesting conversation, wonderful friends and tasty food. What more could you ask for in a dinner party?
Dwayne brought along a spice cake with cream cheese frosting – perfect for this time of year. Most of us had more than one piece – despite being a little full from dinner! It was the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
As our party wound to a close, we divided up the extras and sent some on with our guests as parting gifts, vowing to get together again soon for another great meal.
(Later Amy told me that the god daughters had enjoyed the pasta too!)
You can check out the recipe we used here. One hint: We drained off all the fat from our sausage so it wasn’t greasy. We had plenty of water/juice with the water from the broccoli rabe and the sauce. But if you like that added fat flavor I’d suggest draining off the fat first and then adding it back in as necessary. Thank you to Chicken Soup for the Soul for this great opportunity to not only taste their delicious food, but to also continue to be part of the Chicken Soup family. ~Sue