Since Labor Day often signals the unofficial end of summer in most people’s minds, I decided to fête the occasion by inviting a few close friends over for an intimate fall harvest dinner party! Most of us were still in shorts and tees since it’s been so hot out. But I just cranked up the A/C, and we all had a blast.
One of my favorite aspects of party planning is coming up with the perfect menu to set the theme. This time around I consulted my Fall Recipes Pinterest Board for inspiration and decided on Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash, Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Homemade Cheddar Biscuits, and of course, the perfect comfort drink to wash everything down…
Moscow Mules, served 2 ways!
And Ginger Peach!
Next came setting the perfect table to really capture the spirit of the event. I already had the plaid napkins from my picnic set and a rich burgundy colored table-cloth that I use around the holidays. So I just picked up a fresh autumn bouquet that I arranged in mason jars and these adorable baby pumpkins and squash that I used as placecards.
One of the keys to being a good hostess is NOT spilling drinks on anyone’s shoes! I may or may not have passed that test…
In any case, my fall twists on Moscow Mules were a BIG hit, so I’m happy to share the recipes with you guys as well…
I absolutely LOVE having friends and family over for dinner, but as the temps crank up, the last thing I wanna do is slave over a hot stove and
force my husband to wash be faced with a sink full of dirty dishes afterwards.
One of my favorite summertime entertainment hacks is a simple, delicious, backyard shrimp boil served with a pitcher of ice cold raspberry ‘tee-time’ punch (basically and half & half spiked with Raspberry Smirnoff).
For the shrimp boil, all you need to do is find a BIG OLE pot and follow this recipe. Trust me, it’s fool-proof! I also like to toss in a few whole garlic cloves for a little extra zing. You can either make it on top of the stove and transport it, or fire up your outdoor grill. Once everything is all cooked up, you just dump it all out on top of a few sheets of newspaper or butcher’s paper, and let the crew dig in and fill up their own plates. I recommend keeping a few moist towels on deck for sticky fingers! Clean up is easy since you make everything in one pot. When everyone’s done eating, just roll up the scraps in the old newspaper to discard.
As for the real star of the show… just follow the recipe below, and let the good times roll!
During last week’s snowstorm, Eric and I were tucked safely inside our apartment with a full Netflix queue and plenty of snacks and comfort food to keep us snug, including big bowls of warm chili. I’m always testing out different chili recipes, and I love this version because it comes together so quickly. The roasted beets also give a nice texture and unexpected flavor dimension.
- 6 ounces yellow beets (or red ones… if you dare!)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 cup kidney beans
- 1 lime
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Prepare Ingredients
Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel beets, halve, and slice as thinly as possible. Mince garlic. Drain black beans and kidney beans, then rinse both. Quarter lime. Pat beef dry with paper towel.
- Simmer Chili
While cornbread bakes, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add spice mix, garlic, beef, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until meat loses its color, 3-4 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, 3-4 minutes.
- Bake Beet Chips
Add beets to baking sheet from cornbread and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Arrange in a single layer, transfer to
oven, and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes.
- Thicken Chili
Stir in black beans and kidney beans. Cover pot and cook until chili is thickened and flavors are melded, about 5 minutes more. Remove pot from heat. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Garnish chili with all the things: Cheddar, beet chips, and lime wedges.