Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Gaming Dinner

Since Don and I moved back to Bellingham, Gaming has been a regular part of our weekly routine. We currently have three campaigns going which we rotate between Tuesdays and every other Friday. It's been a vital part of our social life as not only do we have great fun with an activity we enjoy so much, but it's with some of our closest and dearest friends. Shortly after we moved here and joined the group we started doing weekly dinner rotations on gaming nights. Seriously, we have a schedule and everything. It's been an exciting adventure as we have some very culinarily talented friends among our group so each gaming session brings a new variety of home cooked delights as we each try to one up the last hosted dinner.

This week Don and I happened to be up for rotation and we stole this one straight from Cora Reuter which she prepared for us when we were in Tacoma last week. Not only is it delicious but it's inexpensive and feeds an Army. Cora, if you are reading this I was SHOCKED after I mixed all the noodles, veggies, cheese, and sauce together in a giant bowl that it all actually fit in my pyrex dish! Thanks Cora for bringing this recipe into my life and I'm excited to pass it on. The recipe is called "Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables" is by Giada de Laurentiis and can be found on the Food Network Website. No huge modifications or improvements here. This one is perfect exactly as written. Follow the instructions and you can't go wrong. It's even vegetarian friendly.

The other thing that is great about Gaming Nights and every once in a while entertaining for 8 to 10 people is that it gives you a great opportunity to use up things like a giant head of red cabbage that it would take just the two of us weeks to get through. Last night I made a warm red cabbage salad seasoned with balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with feta and toasted sunflower seeds among other surprises.

Balsamic and Feta Warmed Red Cabbage Salad

1/4 cup of Sunflower Seeds
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3/4 head of red cabbage, quartered, cored, and then shredded into thin strips
Olive Oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 Tablespoons dried currants
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Couple of springs of fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds

Toast sunflower seeds in a small warm dry skillet over medium heat. The seeds are done when slightly golden brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool so they do not burn.

Meanwhile, heat large skillet over medium high heat, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Saute red onion and garlic a few minutes until softened, stirring frequently so as not to burn he garlic. Add shredded cabbage and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook cabbage tossing with the tongs frequently until cabbage is moist and softened but not totally wilted. Remove from heat. Add sunflower seeds, feta, currants, Balsamic Vinegar and chopped rosemary and toss thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated. Serve immediately and sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish.

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