Weeknight Dinner Party

Turn Up on a Wednesday

I love any excuse to host a dinner party, and that includes weeknights! Since I have a full-time job, weeknight dinner parties require simple and flavorful dishes, that I can whip up in two hours or less.  I also need to have a very organized and well thought out plan for the evening.  Check out how I crafted a four-dish menu that was ready to be devoured by 7:30pm on a Wednesday!

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The Menu

Cheesy Bread sticks with Crushed Cherry Tomato Marinara
Marinated London Broil
Roasted Zucchini with Lemon
Crispy Rosemary & Onion Potatoes


What You Need:

Bread Sticks and Marinara
1 Package Cheesy Bread Sticks
2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 Chicken stock or water
2 Tbsp Basil, chiffonade*

Marinated London Broil
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
4 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
4 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Oregano, dried
1 tsp. Basil, freshly torn
1 tsp. Thyme, dried
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
2/3 Cup Olive Oil

Roasted Zucchini with Lemon
2 Large Zucchini
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon, juiced

Crispy Rosemary & Onion Potatoes
2lbs Small Roaster Potatoes or Fingerlings, halved
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped

What To Do With It:

Prepare The Night Before

In a bowl, whisk together marinade ingredients until combined well. Put London broil in a large resealable plastic bag and pour marinade over it. Seal bag, pressing out excess air, and set in a shallow dish. Marinate meat in the refrigerator, turning bag once or twice, for 8 hours. 

I get the meat marinating the night before or morning of the party, that way it's ready to go when I get home.

Day Of Plan of Attack: 

Preheat oven to 425º.

Start with the marinara. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for one minute.  Add cherry tomatoes whole and reduce heat to medium low.

Let the tomatoes reduce down, stirring occasionally, and prepare the potatoes.

Rinse potatoes and slice in half.  Transfer to a 9 1/2 x 11 baking dish or sheet tray.  Slice onion into thin half moons and add to the baking dish.  Toss with olive oil, rosemary, and salt.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring halfway. 

Prepare zucchini.

Quarter the zucchini and cut into 1-inch size pieces.  Place in a baking dish with olive oil and salt.  Set aside.

When the potatoes have 20 minutes left to cook, pop the zucchini in the oven.  While you wait, finish the marinara and start cooking the meat!

Toast the bread sticks in the oven for 5 minutes.*

Once the tomatoes have cooked down and "popped," lightly smash them with a potato masher.  Stir in chicken stock and basil and turn the heat up to medium high. Simmer until the marinara is chunky and reduced.  Finish with salt and pepper and serve with the toasted bread sticks.

Now finish up this dinner and let your guests snack on the apps.

Remove meat from the marinade, discard the marinade, and pat the meat dry.

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, sear the meat on both sides for 2 minutes.  Place the skillet in the oven on the top rack and cook for 8 minutes.  Transfer meat to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes..  While it's resting, finish the supper up!

Remove potatoes and add salt and pepper.  Transfer to a serving dish with some fresh rosemary sprigs.

Remove zucchini and add lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Transfer to serving dish and finish with a little lemon zest.

Cut meat diagonally across the grain into thin slices and top with Kosher salt, a dash of Worcestershire and pepper. 

Grab a glass of wine and indulge!

Empty plates and dishes is a good sign!!

Empty plates and dishes is a good sign!!

Cost: $30
Feeds: 4

*Hangry District Tip: When toasting bread in the oven, you can tell when it's toasty enough when you start to smell it.  Use all of your senses in the kitchen!