Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ladies' Garden Party Luncheon

Earlier today, a friend and I co-hosted a garden party luncheon for 28 women at my home. Gardening seemed like a cute theme for our meal, especially since so many of our guests love to garden. It was an outdoor party, which is always fun (especially before the weather gets too hot!).

We set up seven tables on our patio, each decorated with different kinds of placemats, napkins, tablecloths, etc.—all fitting in with the garden theme. We served all the food buffet-style. Our guests just picked a plate and went through the food line, and could sit at any of the seven decorated tables.

We served up Southwestern Chicken Salad and a tortellini pasta salad for the main courses, along with garlic toast on the side. For appetizers, we served crackers and cheese spreads. For dessert we had crème brulee with raspberry sauce, chocolate dipped strawberries, and cordial-sized chocolate and raspberry mousse cups. For beverages we served wine spritzers, sparkling water and iced tea.

It was a fun luncheon to decorate for. The chicken salad was served up in a miniature wooden wheel barrow (that was lined first with aluminum foil, before putting in the salad). My friend arranged a garden-related centerpiece to set at the dessert table. And then on the main buffet line, we put the side-fixins’ for the chicken salad in pails and other gardening-related containers. The other foods were in dishes with a gardening motif on them. The two main salads were served with clean and new hand garden shovels. We arranged other little decorations like ceramic lady bugs and caterpillars all along the food line.

I’ve already shared most of the recipes for the foods we served today. The only one I haven’t shared yet on this blog is the recipe for the Southwestern Chicken Salad. That is below, along with a photo of how the salad was served up today. Now keep in mind, we made a huge amount of food today, because we were having a fairly large group over. I’ve pared down the ingredients to make a salad for 8 people.

Southwestern Chicken Salad

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. McCormick Montreal Chicken or fajita seasoning
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 bunch leaf lettuce, shredded
4 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
8 green onions, sliced
1 can sweet corn
1 can black beans
½ cup diced fresh cilantro
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (serve on the side)
Italian, oil and vinegar, or cilantro salad dressing

Rub chicken breasts with oil and seasoning. Grill over medium heat until done. Set aside; wrap in foil to keep warm. In a large salad bowl, toss the lettuces, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, corn, black beans and cilantro together. Slice the chicken breasts ¼ inch thick, against the grain. Serve the chicken, cheese and dressings on the side for guests to put on their salads.

Here’s a photo of the tortellini salad which we served:

Here’s a photo of our dessert table, with the garden centerpiece that my co-host made:

Here are photos of some of the tables set up:

What gal doesn’t enjoy gal time—especially while sharing a luncheon together on the patio?!! Today was wonderful! And now, I look outside and it’s getting ready to rain BIG TIME. I’m so glad we made it a garden luncheon and not a garden dinner. If it was dinner, we sure wouldn’t be eating outside tonight!

1 comment:

  1. It was such a pleasure to be part of your Garden Party. I did note the little things that really were that "wow" effect. The wheel barrows filled with food was an incredible way of displaying the food. It’s those little details that add the charm to why we were there. I also loved the cards at each of our places and have it up on my wall by my kitchen to keep focused on how I can better garden!