How to have a great dinner in six easy steps.

1. Coerce your friend with the biggest kitchen to open up her home for a dinner party.

2. Choose a meal with several ingredients. (Or, use the meal suggested below.)

3. Call/Email your friends and assign them one of the ingredients.

4. Choose a date and time to tell your friends to arrive at the house with the big kitchen, bringing with them their assigned ingredient.

5. When everyone arrives with their ingredient, cook the meal together.

6. Eat the meal. Have fascinating conversation. Laugh. Cry. Talk long and often about how great the apple dumplings are. Then talk about the apple dumplings some more. (Need conversation starters? Just a sampling of our conversations: Santa Claus…Chop Stick Usage…Stranger Danger…C-Section Recovery…Gingerbread House Construction…Fascist Governments…Children’s Christmas Concert Solos…Pick-Up Lines…and last, but certainly not least, Concealed Hand Guns. We’re Texans.)

as always, click to enlarge if you so desire

Here’s the incredible meal we shared together. Oh-my-yum.


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 lb. bowtie pasta
2 pkg sundried tomatoes, softened according to package directions and cut into strips
1 garlic head
1 can pitted black olives
16oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Slice chicken in bite-size peices and saute with sun-dried tomatoes and minced garlic until the chicken is cooked through. Cook pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, mix crumbled feta, pine nuts, and chopped olives. After the chicken, sundried tomatoes, and garlic have been sauteed, add them into the bowl of dry ingredients and toss thoroughly. When pasta is cooked, add it to the mixing bowl and toss again. The pasta is then ready to serve.


4 vine-ripened tomatoes
8 oz. fresh mozzarella (preferably the kind packaged in water)
basil leaves
fresh cracked pepper
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Slice tomatoes and slice fresh mozzarella. Wash basil and layer tomato slice, mozzarella slice, and basil leaf, repeating this pattern until you are through your ingredients. After layering, sprinkle salt and pepper on salad. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad.

(The above recipes are taken from the Bible study “No Other Gods” by Kelly Minter.)


Recipe is found here on The Pioneer Woman blog. This will be inhaled quickly, and then everyone will sit around discussing how great it tasted.

Disclaimer: The only thing I did to make this evening happen was conceive the original idea. After the friend with the big kitchen made her house available, she then found the recipes and assigned the ingredients. So basically I did nothing but enjoy the evening. What a gift.

Disclaimer 2: There was a time not too long ago I didn’t have nine friends I could email or call to invite to a dinner party. If that’s you, don’t lose heart. Just invite the people you think you might like to be friends with. People with cool shoes or funky jewelry are a good place to start. Just kidding. Kinda.

5 comments on “How to have a great dinner in six easy steps.

  1. What a GREAT idea and it looks like you all had fun! So, you actually prepared the meal together? Did everyone bring several different ingredients for all the recipes?

  2. Margo – Yep! One person brought chicken….another sun-dried tomatoes and pinenuts…another feta cheese…another noodles and olives, etc.

    Everyone brought their ingredients “raw”, and then we chopped, roasted, boiled, sauteeed, etc. together! It was SO MUCH FUN. We are totally making it a new holiday tradition! I’ll be pushing to do it again this summer as well.

    Daja – I have thought we could be friends in real life…the funky jewelry seals the deal. 🙂

  3. As I’ve already said like a thousand times, I had so much fun! I’m looking forward to coffee nights and getting to know everyone better!

  4. Star…I’m your mother-in-laws cousin from TN. Aunt Mayme gave me your website and I’ve enjoyed it so much. This is a great idea and I hope to do the same with some of my close friends and some who are not so close – yet, but who have funky jewelry &/or great shoes. BTW – Your children are beautiful.

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