Sabbath Dinner Party In 2-3 Hours
Fancy dinner parties are dying out. Due to women working, the economy, and a ton of other factors, people have found other, easier ways of entertaining. It seems like there is never enough time or money to make big, elaborate meals anymore.
Stop! Wrong! Party meals can actually be quite easy, as long as they are done systematically.
I have made and served two fancy, company meals a week, for 31 years.
Please keep in mind that my husband and I work over 80 hours a week combined, don’t have a car, have very limited cooking facilities and a moderate income. In addition, we live in Israel, where most fresh foods (including grains) need to be soaked, checked, and cleaned carefully before using. So if we can do this, anyone can.
The two meals are made and served to celebrate the Sabbath so the foods are mostly traditional Jewish dishes. In addition, the menu rarely varies since over the years these are the dishes we have grown to love.
If some of these dishes don’t appeal to you, Eggs and Onions can be substituted for the Deviled Eggs and Sweet Challah Kugel can be cooked instead of the Apple-Raisin Kugel. Coleslaw, Quick And Healthy Tomato Salad, and corn salad ( 1 can drained corn, Italian dressing to taste, 2 heaping tbsp. diced red onion, 2 heaping tbsp. green pepper) are all easy sides, if you don’t care for the green salad or the Israeli salad.
Vegetable Salad: Made with prepackaged greens. I add cut up cucumbers, sliced carrots and cherry tomatoes. Served with a wide selection of dressings.
Hummos and Crackers: Purchased
Deviled Eggs: Boil one egg per person. Cool and slice lengthwise. Remove the yolks and combine with mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture back into the whites using a watermelon scoop. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.
Vegan Tastes Just Like Chicken Soup: Recipe will be added later this week.
Low-Fat Matzoh Balls: Recipe will be added later this week.
Chicken And Soy Cutlets: Delicious but very inexpensive to purchase
Beef or Vegetarian Cholent (on special occasions)
Potato Kugel: Purchased
Low-Fat Apple Raisin Kugel: Recipe will be posted in a few weeks.
Cake or Cookies: Purchased or gifted from guests
Coffee Flavored Hard Candies: Purchased
After Dinner Snacking
Annette’s Almost Fat-Free Popcorn or purchased popcorn: I hate our hot-air popcorn maker so lately I’ve been buying an enormous bag of popcorn
Bag of Pretzels
Time and Money Saving Tips For Entertaining
Save work wherever you can. Notice we used prepackaged greens to avoid having to soak and check our lettuce.
Combine cheap foods with expensive foods. We added lots of inexpensive carrots and cucumbers to the expensive, prepackaged salad to make it go a lot further.
Serve small only amounts of expensive foods. American crackers are pricey in Israel, so we only serve a handful.
Share the work. My husband does the shopping, makes the soup, the bread and the muffins. My son helps with the serving and cleaning up.
Double up on the food. Since we usually have different company on Friday night and Saturday lunch, I can serve the same dishes twice.
Don’t wait till the last minute to prepare. By early Friday afternoon, my house is clean, the food is purchased and easy prep work is well underway.
If someone offers to bring a dish, always say yes. We frequently skip purchasing a dessert because a guest tells us they will bring a cake or a plate of cookies. However, as plans sometimes change at the last minute, we always have the ingredients to make a fruit salad as a backup.
Buy pre made when necessary. I have lived in Israel for nine years, and I still have been unable to master dessert making with the local ingredients. Therefore, all my cookies and cakes all have to be purchased. I also buy potato kugel, since I don’t own a food processor, and hand grating depresses me.
Don’t schedule any other big projects for the day. Dinner parties are quite doable, but they do take time to prepare. Save your errands, home repairs, etc, for another day.
Keep the dishes super simple. Almost every dish I serve, can be prepared in 10 minutes or less (minus cooking time).