The Perfect Holiday Dinner

The Barefoot Contessa.  On her last show, Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, cooked a sumptuous meal fit for a king in 30 minutes using easily accessible ingredients.  As usual, Ina was expecting a guest for dinner and wanted to prepare something delicious and impressive.  Her guest, a notable food blogger, arrived just in time to assist Ina with making the pasta.  Ina said that she doesn’t usually cook with guests present, but the time spent together with her guest in the kitchen allowed them to get to know each other and served as an invitation into Ina’s world.  Cooking with someone is a great way to make friends.  Plus, you get to sit down together when you are done and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  A good meal is truly a bonding experience.  It worked for Ina.  I’m sure it will work for you.  Try out the recipes below by clicking on the link below and tell lifeaccessories about your experience cooking with a friend.  Bon appetite!

Recipes For The Perfect Holiday Dinner

  • Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Tagliarelle with Truffle Butter
  • Cognac Cream
  • Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
  • Red Berry Trifle

What’s For Dinner?

October 4, 2010
By: Cheryl Maxie

Coming up with creative new ideas for dinner night after night can be a nightmare. For those of us with a family, the challenge is often making something that will be a treat for the grown-ups and something that the kids won’t give to the dog rather than eat themselves. I found some great alternatives for tasty meal ideas from The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics cookbook. Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) hosts a show on the Food Network and her specialty is coming up with menus that delight her guests and give her plenty of time to enjoy their company because more of the meals are easy to prepare and can be made in advance. When I first thumbed through the book, I was enticed by the beautiful photographs of meals that sounded good enough to serve to royalty, yet had recipes easy enough for even a novice cook to follow with successful results. For my first meal, I selected the Broiled Red Snapper with Mustard Sauce and Capers. According to Ina, this dish took only about 20 minutes to prepare (including cooking time) and was special enough to serve to your most treasured guests. With only 8 basic ingredients to work with, I discovered she was right. I was able to run in after a long day, whip everything together in 10 minutes and cook it in 15 minutes. Since the sauce looked so good in the picture, I served it with rice (which the kids love) and green beans. Before I tested it out myself, I let my mother have a taste. Once she dipped her fork into the tender fish, covered in the creamy mustard sauce, that was it. I never got my plate back (even though she had already eaten dinner and claimed to be coming down with a cold.) When I tried it myself, I couldn’t believe that something so simple could taste so good. I am trilled that I have found another recipe to add to my repertoire of winning entrees and can’t wait to experiment with what the book has to offer. If you don’t already own a copy, “The Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics” can be purchased on Give it a try for yourself and let me know what you think.