Invite a Friend to Dine

Today is National Eat with a Friend Day. It comes around every year on November 25. This year it happens to coincide with Thanksgiving – how convenient! Not everyone has family nearby to celebrate our National Day of Thanks. And not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving for whatever reason.

National Eat with a Friend Day is designed to recognize the value of bonds between friends. For true friends, it doesn’t matter if you saw one another yesterday or 20 years ago, that connection remains. Dining together gives us time to catch up and strengthen those bonds once more.

One of the benefits of Eat With A Friend Day is that people are, by their very nature, social creatures. Isolation leads to depression. Okay, there are anti-social people out there that choose to opt out of the experiment that is socialization. Believe me, I get that. There are times when I think pulling the blanket over my head and not dealing with the silliness of people is better. (I could have said stupidity of people, which in more accurate as to how I feel at times, but I’m really working on kinder words).

Speaking of kindness, there is a movement out there pushing for Eat with a Friend Day be used as a way to bring attention to the isolation many of our seniors experience. Even if living in a Senior Community, not everyone participates in community meals or activities. We should encourage our seniors to socialize. Better still, participate in Meals on Wheels or even better, visit. Eat with a Friend is all about breaking the grips of isolation.

After nearly two years of separation and social restrictions, we need to take that time to break bread together if possible. Reach out to one another, and Eat with a Friend.

Eat with a Friend Spread
Whole Roasted Chicken
Truffle Mashed Potatoes
Crispy Roasted Asparagus

National Parfait Day
Strawberry Jell-O Parfait

Whole Roasted Chicken
5 lb Chicken Roaster
1 tablespoon Fennel Seeds, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 tablespoon Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 tablespoons Butter, melted
Parsley optional for garnish
Fresh Thyme optional for garnish

Heat oven to 400-degrees.

Trim away any excess fat from the cavity of the chicken. Set chicken aside on the counter while the rub is made.

Note: To toast and grind your own Fennel Seeds, place about 4 tablespoons Fennel Seeds into a dry skillet over low heat. Toast, shaking the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon, until seeds are fragrant with a slightly “toasty” aroma. Grind with a Mortar and Pestle to desired consistency. Store in a small spice jar and use as desired.

In a small bowl, whisk together fennel seeds, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Rub 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture inside the cavity of the chicken.

Melt butter, add to the remaining spice rub mix well. Spread mixture evenly over the chicken skin.

Truss the chicken with twine, Place on a roasting rack and cook for 60 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches 160-degrees.

Remove chicken from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Note: For table-side carving, scatter fresh parsley and thyme on a large platter. Place chicken on platter. Carve as you would a turkey, removing legs and thighs first, then wings, wish bone and breast meat.

Truffle Mashed Potatoes
6 Russet Potatoes
3 Garlic Cloves
Half and Half, as needed
1/4 cup Butter, soft
Truffle Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
Truffle Oil as desired

Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large pot, cover with about an inch of water. Peel garlic cloves, leave whole. Add to the potatoes in the pot.

Bring water to a rolling boil. Cook the potatoes and garlic cloves until very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the half and half, and the butter then mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little truffle oil. Serve and enjoy.

Crispy Roasted Asparagus
2 lbs Asparagus
3 tablespoons Butter
1 Lemon
2 tablespoons Thyme Leaves
1/2 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Heat oven to 400-degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Trim asparagus, set aside. Melt butter in a skillet. Remove from heat. Add asparagus, coat well in butter and set aside.

Zest lemon into a mixing bowl. Pluck thyme leaves from sprigs, add to lemon zest. Add breadcrumbs, Parmesan Cheese, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Place about 3/4 of the breadcrumb mixture on a plate or pie pan. Remove asparagus from butter, allowing excess to drip back into the pan. Toss asparagus with breadcrumb mixture.

Lay asparagus in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Top with remaining bread crumb mixture.

Roast in the heated oven for about 6 minutes or until asparagus is just tender and bread crumbs are browned.

Arrange on a serving platter, top with any breadcrumb mixture that may have been left on the baking sheet. Serve immediately.

What is the perfect way to end a beautiful supper surrounded by friends? With a light yet satisfying dessert of course. Maybe that’s why National Eat with a Friend Day and National Parfait Day are one and the same. Enjoy!

Strawberry Jell-O Parfait
1 (3 oz) box Strawberry Jell-O
1 cup Boiling Water
1 cup Cold Water
10 fresh Strawberries
3 cups Whipped Topping, divided

In a large bowl, mix Jell-O with boiling water. Whisk until Jell-O is fully dissolved into the water. Whisk in cold water. Reserve 1/3 cup of the Jell-O mixture.

Slice strawberries. Reserve some of the slices to decorate the parfait. Dice remaining strawberry slices slightly smaller, add to the remaining Jell-O.

Spoon Jell-O Fruit into 5 dessert or wine glasses. Tuck some of the sliced berries into the Jell-O against the glass for a decorative presentation. Reserve a few sliced berries for the finished parfait.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill glasses until Jell-O is set. Overnight is best, but 6 or 8 hours will do.

Fold 2-1/2 cups of the whipped topping into the 1/3 cup of reserved Jell-O. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to serve, spoon topping mixture into glasses of set Jell-O. Garnish with remaining 1/2 cup whipped topping and a slice of berry.

Serve and enjoy!

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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