One of the things that the kids and I have missed most about home is hosting people for dinner or parties or other events. It's funny because I don't think I necessarily would have considered myself a hostess. It's not like I had a party every weekend, but looking back we usually had someone over at least once a week for dinner, a BBQ, or just a football game. A few weeks ago, Kennedy started complaining about the fact that no one comes over to our house. As I've mentioned before, we go over to a friend's on Wednesday nights and I think she is starting to miss that piece of our lives--our friends and family coming over to see us. So, with Eric's birthday falling on a Sunday, I thought I would take the opportunity to have some people over whether he wanted to celebrate or not.
I have finally gotten enough necessities for the kitchen that I figured I could throw together a simple dinner. Unfortunately, I still haven't found a baking dish (really I never would have guessed it would be so hard to find a 9x13 baking dish!), so I had to figure out a different way to make my parmesan chicken, but I managed. I had also just used the oven for the first time when I baked the cake, so I turned it on without realizing that Eric had stuck the broiler pan back in it that morning. I figured I could just stick the chicken on top of the broiler pan. Not so. After a half hour, it was still pink. So with a hot oven and oven mitts (I just found silicone trivets that double as hot pads), I laid towels down on the kitchen counter to put the chicken on and then pulled out the broiler pan and stuck it in the sink. Because the heating source is on the bottom, I was much more successful the second time I put the chicken in! The oven and stovetop are so small that with 2 pots on the stovetop, I didn't have any extra space for anything else!
The pan I cooked the chicken on was really a cookie sheet, so it wasn't deep enough to pour sauce and cheese over the chicken. It was more like chicken tenders (dipped in panko crumbs mixed with Italian seasoning...definitely not Italian bread crumbs but they do the job!), Prego spaghetti sauce from Costco, and mozzarella cheese sprinkled over the top (I haven't seen real parmesan cheese anywhere here and the green can of Kraft parmesan is about $10 at the grocery store, so we had parmesan chicken without the parmesan). I also managed to put together my first salad, but had no luck finding any salad dressings even remotely Italian. We had oriental dressing. Oh well. We do have a very good bakery down the street, so we had baguette slices with olive oil and garlic as an appetizer. That was delicious! I'm so very glad that is one thing I can get here...I love carbs!
We also had the cake for dessert, of course. It was pretty dense because Eric was sure that once the butter and sugar were mixed well that it was done, and I was more than willing to agree with him since it was my arm that was about to fall off. Now, I understand why you use a mixer to make it light and creamy. Nevertheless, we ate it and the flavor was good. No one complained, anyway.
Re-telling the story now, I realize why it is that we haven't had anyone over since we got here. Nothing is quite the way I want it to be. And when I have people over, I want everything to be my way (I know. You're shocked!). Thankfully, the people I had over were not judging me and are in a similar situation but with no real desire to start cooking, so they would have been happy with whatever I'd served them.