Winter Dinner Party

Our New Year’s Eve was absolutely perfect. How was yours? Did you go out or stay in?

We decided once again to stay in. Really, I love any excuse to whip up a multi-course meal, and with the temperatures warm and the day sunny, we were both filled with energy and definitely felt like celebrating. After a tough workout at the gym, I headed to the grocery store to stock up for the big evening.

The menu was simple because it was just the two of us, but  this could easily be doubled or tripled to serve a small dinner party.

Appetizer: Baked Brie with Cranberry Apple Butter, Brown Sugar, and Walnuts

brie and cranberry apple butter

I have had a jar of Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter around forever, and I thought it would be a perfectly seasonal pairing with brie. This appetizer was ridiculously simple. I cut the rind off of a triangle of brie, then cut the triangle in half lengthwise. I filled the center with a mix of the cranberry apple butter, brown sugar, and chopped walnuts, then topped the next layer with the same. I popped this in a 350 degree oven until it was melted to my liking.

baked brie

It turned out ooey and gooey with great spicy flavors from the cranberry apple butter and a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar.

baked brie

To add some freshness and crunch, we used granny smith apple slices as dippers. We also had some whole grain crackers, and we devoured the entire thing. I know baked brie is fairly common, but I still love it. It never disappoints!

image

We waited awhile before heading back into the kitchen to prepare the rest of the meal. One of the best parts of eating at home is pacing the meal as you like it.

Side dish: Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Butter Glaze

roasted vegetables

Another super simple dish, I started this one by chopping butternut squash, broccoli, sweet potato, and red onion into chunks, then tossing them in olive oil and putting them in a 440 degree oven until soft and browned around the edges.

roasted vegetables

While these roasted, I simmered a mix of butter and aged Balsamic on the stovetop, creating a buttery, syrupy glaze that I poured over the veggies before serving. I ended up eating a big bowl of these veggies as my main meal and again for lunch the next day. I always make more roasted veggies than I need; they are so easily heated up for another meal. balsamic butter

Vegetables wouldn’t cut it for my husband’s dinner, so I thawed one of the steaks my mom got him for Christmas, a top sirloin, and prepared it in a simple but spectacular way.

Dinner (for him): Top Sirloin with Blue Cheese Butter

blue cheese butter

I seasoned the raw meat with a bit of black pepper, seared it in a dry pan that was very hot, then put the pan into the oven with the vegetables to finish it up. While the steak cooked, I made a quick and simple mix of blue cheese and salted butter in the food processer. What a combination! I had to keep myself from eating it by itself. . .

sirloin

Once the steak was cooked well, as the mister likes it, I topped it with the blue cheese butter. It was apparently incredible, with the butter and cheese softening over the meat with each bite.

sirloin with blue cheese butter

Of course, it wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a little bubbly, Perrier Jouet Grand Brut Champagne.

Perrier Jouet Grand Brut

Nutella Mousse for dessert finished the meal off with a little bit of sweet but not too much bulk. We ended the evening perfectly full and festive.

I would definitely make this meal again, from start to finish. It had the perfect mix of flavors and textures, offered some healthy veggies with some decadent cheese and chocolate, and made my warm kitchen smell amazing.

Do you have any go-to entertaining menus or dishes?

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Tags: appetizer, blue cheese, brie, champagne, cranberry apple butter, dessert, dinner, dinner party, entertaining, Food, menu, recipe, steak, wine

  1. Elizabeth’s avatar

    Sounds like quite the satisfying meal. If only I like brie, that rendition would be right up my alley.

    Reply

  2. Emily’s avatar

    Sounds incredible! You cannot go wrong with baked brie and roasted veggies. I like simple one-pot and one-dish meals (like tetrazzini) when entertaining. It’s great to prep something ahead of time and just leave it on the stove/oven while you hang out with guests.

    Reply

    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      Good thinking! I should have mentioned that if you are having a real dinner party, lots of these things can be prepped the day before. The mousse needs at least a few hours to set, and the veggies can be chopped, blue cheese butter made, and brie prepared. I hate spending all of my time in the kitchen when we have friends over! Though somehow everyone always ends up in the kitchen anyway!

      Reply

    2. Megan’s avatar

      Cranberry-apple butter — I did not know such a thing existed. I need to try that with brie now! Everything looks fab, especially all those veggies. Wishing you all the best in 2011 and hope we get to spend lots of time together this year!

      Reply

    3. Heather’s avatar

      What a beautiful dinner – I love roasted veggies – I never remember to add onion to mine but I bet that would taste fantastic.

      I love making “restaurant” meals in – you may have leftovers and there is something wonderful about enjoying what you make.

      Reply

    4. Lori Lynn’s avatar

      Great menu!
      Wishing you a delicious 2011!
      LL

      Reply

    5. Michelle’s avatar

      This looks like a lovely dinner to ring in the new year! I’m a huge fan of adding compound butter on top of steak – like garlic butter or herb butter. Yum!

      Reply

    6. Michelle’s avatar

      This looks like a lovely dinner to ring in the new year! I’m a huge fan of adding compound butter on top of steak – like garlic butter or herb butter. Yum!

      Reply

    7. Kate @ Diethood.com’s avatar

      I would’ve stayed in, too, if that was the menu I was going to be served! Oh I would’ve probably attacked your brie! That’s one heck of a way to have your cheese – YUM!

      Reply

    8. Alexandra’s avatar

      This meal sounds absolutely delicious! I like the idea of using the crunchy apples for dippers instead of the obvious cracker option. Recently, I ate a similar brie dish that was prepared with peach jam and pecans. This one sounds even better though & I can’t wait to try it out at home.

      Reply

    9. Belinda @zomppa’s avatar

      What a meal this was!! I love how unpretentious brie really is. Happy 2011!

      Reply

    10. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

      The brie looks divine. That was a great New Years feast!

      Reply

    11. kateiscooking’s avatar

      Sounds like a perfect New Years Eve meal! I love roasted veggies and am going to have to try your way instead of putting the balsamic on as they roast. Happy New Year

      Reply

    12. alicia’s avatar

      That looks like a great meal! and you know I love some bubbly to round out a special meal!

      Reply

    13. Daisy’s avatar

      Happy New Year! you guys had one incredible feast. I love baked brie with apples and omg that bleu cheese butter – heavenly!!

      Reply

    14. Enrico’s avatar

      seriously – you see a can of something lying around for months, and from there you whip up a multi-course meal – you must be one of the most creative people – do you ever get board with regular food? When you go out to eat, are you very fussy about how the food is prepared and presented? do you usually order creative and unusual items on a menu or seek out restaurants that are not just your typical high class service and quality but also brilliant with their ingredients? Looking at your photos I wish I had a wheel of brie and some of this trader joes jam to eat at work. Fantastic!!!

      Reply

    15. Dionne Baldwin’s avatar

      I would totally try that baked brie with cranberry apple butter. That sounds way too good!

      I don’t really have any go-to entertaining dishes but I think I may want to come up with some standard ones. I usually make whatever hits me that day or my daughter makes her stuffed shells, which are quite popular.

      Reply

    16. Jason Phelps’s avatar

      Baked Brie is dangerous to have around! Looks like a great dinner to enjoy while ringing in the new year.

      Jason

      Reply

    17. Kerstin’s avatar

      What a fantastic meal and great idea to pair the cranberry apple butter with brie! Happy New Year!

      Reply

    18. Jessica’s avatar

      The perfect new year’s eve! My husband and I went out to a French restaurant but in the end, wishing we had a multi-course home cooked meal instead =) Your cranberry brie looks so amazing!

      Reply

    19. megan @ whatmegansmaking’s avatar

      I love to see what other people serve for dinner parties! It gives me ideas for the future :) It looks absolutely delicious! very elegant. :)

      Reply

      1. traveleatlove’s avatar

        Thank you! :) I love reading other people’s menus too, it is so inspiring!

        Reply

      2. Tracy’s avatar

        Your site is absolutely wonderful! A great mix of humor, food, reviews…I love it and cannot stop laughing at your interview post.

        Reply

        1. traveleatlove’s avatar

          Thank you so much! I am heading over to check out your site right now!

          Reply

        2. sexy prom dresses’s avatar

          These are my New Year’s resolutions: 1)Make an? effort to make someone’s day brighter once a week. 2) Maintain my GPA, and volunteer much more both on campus and inside my community. three) Run a half marathon with my sister four) Remove unnecessary or negative stressors in my life 5) Produce a recipe binder, attempt new things, take pictures for the binder 6) Make an effort to stay in contact with buddies and family members. 7) Get more sleep!

          Reply

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