Monday, October 21, 2013

October Weekends | Easy Dinner Party Menu | Chicken Curry + Apple Crisp

October weekends have to be the very best weekends of the whole year, don't you think?  Our past one included the annual neighborhood fall festival for the preschool age set, an over due night out with Jimmy, and an evening with good friends and their children at our home.

I snapped a few photos and will share my tried and true recipes at the end of this post.  They are long standing favorites of mine and have made their appearance at more causal get togethers and dinner parties than I can count.  There are rarely any leftovers to speak of and almost all children (even picky eaters) seem to gobble them up.  The best part is they only get few dishes dirty and can be made entirely in advance.  I'd say "fool-proof" but Ina kind of has that word cornered with her last cookbook.

Everything was super casual and relaxed which made for a really fun evening.  The kids played so well together (aside from the 20 minutes when they were too quiet and we found they'd unwound an entire roll of toilet paper into the toilet that all ready has old house plumbing issues...) that Meghan and I were able to sit, drink wine, and talk for several hours after dinner, while our guys watched the baseball game in the family room.  

^^as you saw in my previous post, he's a baller ^^

^^even with a very casual dinner, it's nice to have something special on the table.  I used oasis to hold the candle and filled the rest of the pumpkin with water ^^
^^I served the Apple Crisp slightly warm with a really good Tahitian Vanilla gelato^^
^^kids and adults sat together.  Sippy cups and wine glasses intermingled.^^

^^The chicken curry was self serve.  I served it with rice and lots of fun toppings: chopped cashews, pineapple chunks, mandarin orange slices, green onions, toasted coconut, and chutney. ^^

Chicken Curry
(recipe source: Rachel Ray)
4 chicken breasts halves (I used 6 on Saturday, we had 4 adults and 4 children, most had seconds)
1 medium onion (I used 1 large)
2 inches fresh ginger ( I used about 3)
1 gala apple, half peeled, half with peel
3 cloves of garlic ( I used 5)
15 oz chicken broth (I added about an extra 8 oz)
1-3 TBS mild curry paste (I only used 1 TBS with children)
1/4 cup golden raisins (I used 1/2 cup)
2-3 TBS mango chutney
Sesame or peanut oil

Peanuts or cashews, green onions, mandarin orange segments, toasted coconut, pineapple chunks

Cut chicken in chunky pieces, dredge lightly in flour.  Cut onion in half and then into 1/4 inch strips.
Brown chicken in about 2 TBS of oil over medium heat.  (I use my large Le Creuset dutch oven and think this makes for an even tastier sauce because the chicken leaves lot of little brown bits.) I also cooked the chicken in two batches so i didn't over crowd the pan.  Remove chicken from pan, add onion, ginger, garlic and apple.  Saute for 3-5 minutes.  Add broth, scrape up brown bits.  Add curry paste and raisins, return chicken, heat to a boil, reduce to medium low and stir in chutney to thicken and sweeten.  Season with salt + pepper.  Simmer for 10-25 minutes.  Serve over rice with desired toppings!

My Mum's Apple Crisp
7 large granny smith apples
1/2 cup + 6 TBS sugar
6 TBS butter, diced in small pieces
10 TBS flour + 1 TBS
1 tsp apple pie spice or cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425.  Butter 9x9 baking dish.
Peel and slice apples.  Toss them in lemon juice.  Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, apple pie spice and 1 TBS flour.  Toss mixture with apples.  Put apples into baking dish.

Mix together 10 TBS flour, 6 TBS sugar and butter with a pastry blender until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle over apples and bake for 45-50 minutes till top looks golden brown.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


  1. So warm, inviting and elegant at the same time! Can't wait to have friends over and try this meal! May I ask where you got the berries for the pumpkin center pieces? I'm thinking I can find the chutney and vanilla gelato @ Fresh Market? Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you! Yes, berries from Fresh Market. You'll be able to find the curry paste and mango chutney there as well. My favorite brand is Patak's.

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  3. The food looks so yummy and perfect for October.

  4. What a great night! Yummy food, good friends, and a lovely centerpiece to top it off! Love that clever idea!

  5. I can't wait to make this curry recipe. It looks amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. I made the chicken curry tonight. It was delicious! It even got the seal of approval from my picky eater boyfriend. Thanks again for sharing!

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