HOSTING GAME NIGHT
Having friends over for dinner and games can be a fantastic way to spend an evening. Often, it can be less expensive than meeting them at a hip new bar or going to some sort of show and can easily be just as fun, the food and drinks as good, and because you're hosting in your home, much more intimate and inviting.
Between my friends and I, there's a decent selection of board and card games in our repertoire. For cards, we love playing Hand and Foot, Three's Wild, Oh Hell, and a number of others. As far as board games go, some of our favorites include A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, Dixit, and our go-to classic Settlers of Catan.
As long as you have a deck of cards and good company, you're pretty much set to go on the game front. Now for the food:
For dinner, I wanted to make something quick, filling, and delicious. This evening, I tried out making chicken gyros. The wonderful thing about them was that only were they quick, filling, and delicious, but I served in a "build-your-own" fashion so each guest could customize their gyro.
For the chicken, I simply grilled it with some Mediterranean-style spices (I couldn't find a Mediterranean spice at the grocery store, so I made up my own). Using coriander, salt, rosemary, oregano, and a smidgen of cinnamon, I was able to create some pretty flavorful chicken with spices I already had on hand. You could easily add or substitute portobello mushrooms if you have a guest that prefers to go meatless.
The toppings were what really made the dinner in my opinion: romain lettuce, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, red peppers, and tzatziki sauce (which is a sauce you can easily make yourself, but i was really going for the easiet options and Holy Land Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce is always delicious). I also grabbed some pita chips, celery, and baby carrots for dipping in the tzatziki sauce. After cooking up the chicken, it was just a matter of cutting the veggies and voilà, the delicious dinner was served.
Of course you can't entertain without a dessert. But you don't need to spend hours making an elaborate croquembouche or pretty macarons (although I will absolutely not discourage it). My dessert was simpler than my entree but just as yummy (I thought at least).
I did a very easy and very lovely baked peach. There's not much to it: halve the peach and remove the pit, slice a sliver off of the peel so it has a flat sitting surface, sprinkle some brown sugar and honey on top, and bake in the oven until its golden and soft enough to cut with a spoon. After taking them out, I added a little more brown sugar and honey for garnish. This pairs so well with a vanilla bean ice cream that I unfortunately forgot to serve. I didn't hear any complaints though.
Hosting can be fun, easy, and a great, motivating reason to tidy up your home. You don't need an elaborate theme, a difficult dish, or a guest list complete with mailed invitations (although again, I do not discourage any of these). You just need some good food, a fun game, and some terrific people to join in.