Plan for Dinner (03-08-19) Pt. 1

20190303_115654 The last two weeks I have enjoyed getting to make dinner for my family on Friday night. (New baby pic for cuteness!) This week, I’d like to actually wanted to document my process. Partially to share my love for throwing fancy dinners, and partially because this one is a little tricky, and I need somewhere to think this through. So, here goes!

Despite doing Italian last week (rosemary bread, garlic cream bowties, and brownies), I was at a loss for what I could do with the stuff I have in the house already, so I’m doing Italian again this week. My plan is to take my family to Provinos: one of my all time favorite restaurants in Chattanooga, TN. Sadly, I am currently living 2,398 miles away from this lovely spot, so I have to improvise.

They are most famous for their buttery Garlic Butter rolls and their salads. Amazingly, I was able to find recipes for each from the comment section on this blog post. So, that’s two pieces of this dinner down. We’ve got bread and salad. But what about the entree? What about dessert? Well, I have a thought. My husband LOVES mint chocolate chip ice cream, and unfortunately I just finished the last of it a couple days ago, with him only able to grab a couple of spoonfuls. So, maybe some home made min chocolate chip? I found a decent looking recipe ( I think my mother-in-law has an ice cream maker). So, we’ll see how that works out. As for the entree, I am planning on either stuffed pasta shells (a family recipe), or lasagna (no real recipe, just 375 for 45 minutes) with home-made noodles. Not sure which I’ll do at this point. I don’t really know yet. We’ll plan for lasagna since making the noodles would be a really fun challenge.

Speaking of planning, how do I plan a meal like this? Start with ingredients. What do I have, what do I still need? I like to make a table (like the one below)


I don’t have any red wine vinegar, but I have some white vinegar which should work. I’d rather use fresh garlic than pre minced. I need some ricotta cheese and spinach. I might have enough mint in my garden, but I have to check. And I think I need a little more heavy cream and half and half, but I think I’ve got everything else.

Next thing is time. Salad dressing, ice cream, and lasagna noodles I could make the previous day. Much better than last week, where I basically made everything in one afternoon. So, lets look at time for the rolls. 20-30 minutes for first rise, knead for 20 minutes (seriously? that seems like a long time), then rise for 20-30, then shape, then rise for ANOTHER 20-30, then bake for 15. So, total maxumum of 2 hours and 5 minutes. Lasagna bakes for 45.

So, if dinner is at 7, start the bread around 4:30, and start lasagna at 5:45. Cool. If I can’t finish stuff on Thursday, the ice cream needs “a few hours,” so start that at 4 or before. The dressing should take 10 minutes or less.

So, that’s my plan! Join me in part 2 to see if it works out!