Tag Archives: party

Surviving Winter

Winter has been hitting full force at my house for the last week or so. Since it has been cold and snowy since October, more snow and cold is starting to get really old and discouraging. All of us are a little stir crazy. And last week was only the halfway point of “winter”, so we aren’t done yet.

One way I’ve discovered to combat these mid-winter blues is to have parties. Inviting guests over and preparing food can seem really overwhelming. But I’ve found it can be fun and gives you something to look forward to as well.

Last year, my husband and I started an annual formal dinner. We send out a formal invitation – usually just altering a template for a wedding invitation on Microsoft word. Everyone dresses up. We make “fancy” food and serve it on the best china. We plate the food and serve it in courses. It is a ton of fun. It can be a bit of work, but in the end, it is worth it. Here are some pictures from this year’s formal. Please don’t mind that the food pictures aren’t the best – I just snapped something quick on my phone rather than make my guests wait while I staged something nice.

Winter Formal

Beet Salad

Cheesecake

But having people over doesn’t have to be fancy. I wanted an excuse to hang out with some friends one day. So I had an early Galentine’s Day lunch this week. I kept it fairly simple – a couple kinds of quiche, salad from Costco, and simple chopped fruit. Brownies for dessert were a hit and easy to make ahead of time. When I’ve done these in the past, I often ask people to bring things – drinks, fruit, bread, etc. So then it is even less work for me. But it feels so luxurious to eat a real meal and sit down with friends during the week. Pro tip: make extra so you already have dinner for your family that night.

While the formal dinner wasn’t the healthiest meal I’ve ever eaten, we tried to make it a good balance. We served salad, vegetable soup, and veggies with the main course. My china dishes are a bit on the small side, which is great for keeping portions under control.

With my Galentine’s lunch, I made all the dishes something I would want to eat while being health conscious. Lots of veggies available in the quiches. Salad and fruit are easy, nutritious sides. You could skip dessert if you really wanted.

Remember, not everything has to be perfect. I was doing my laundry during the Galentine’s lunch. All the snow in the street made parking a bit crazy with 5 vans in my garage and driveway. Kids were running around and needed diapers changed. But we all still had a great time.

How do you combat the winter blues? Do you have fun entertaining ideas or traditions? I’d love if you shared them in the comments!

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Steak and Feta Quesadillas

What game day foods are your favorites? Wings? Pizza? Chips and dip? We keep it a bit more snack and finger food at our house typically. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat only unhealthy foods.

Today’s recipe is great for your game watching party or a quick weeknight dinner. The spinach packs a great nutritional punch without being an overpowering flavor. Using cream cheese and just a sprinkling of feta lowers the sodium compared to a normal cheesy quesadilla. Enjoy!

Steak and Feta Quesadillas (Serves 4, as a meal)

Steak and Feta Quesadillas

1 T. olive oil
1 large (10-12 oz) sirloin steak, thinly sliced*
½ large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 ounces ⅓ less fat cream cheese
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 large whole wheat tortillas
¼ cup low fat sour cream

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook steak about 3 minutes, or until beginning to brown.

2. Add onions and garlic; cook for 2-3 minutes more, or until onion beginning to soften.

3. Add spinach, cream cheese, and feta. Cook, stirring, until cream cheese is melted. Remove from pan (if using same pan for quesadillas).

4. Wipe pan clean (if using same pan). Heat same skillet (or a griddle) to medium-high heat. Place one tortilla in pan. Cook for 1 minute, until beginning to warm. Flip. Spoon about 1/3 cup steak mixture evenly over half of tortilla. Fold tortilla in half. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until each side is crisp. Repeat with remaining quesadillas.

5. Cut into wedges to serve. Serve with sour cream.

Nutritional Analysis:

Calories: 420
Protein: 25 g
Fat: 24 g
Saturated Fat: 11 g
Cholesterol: 85 g
Carbohydrates: 25 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 414 mg

Recipe notes: You could use a variety of different meats here. I’ve used sirloin, flank steak, and leftover tri-tip. It all turns out really well.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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