A simple & elegant meal

I’ve had a few very busy days, all of my children and their boyfriends visited for the long President’s Day weekend. It’s always wonderful to have them home and their visits are packed with lots of food and fun. Now that things have quieted down, I have time to share with you an easy meal that will satisfy even your hungriest family and friends! It’s easily customizable to meet your guests food preferences. With eight around the table on Sunday there were many food preferences (likes and dislikes) to be taken into consideration. Let me explain…

Sunday’s dinner needed to be easy to prepare, delicious, and filling for everyone. This is not an easy task when the family consists of eight people with wildly varying food preferences. My youngest is a true vegetarian, and me—I’m not really into many vegetables. The rest of the family fell somewhere in between these two extremes. So the easiest way to accommodate everyone’s taste buds was to customize their meals. It’s very easy to do!

I chose chicken and eggplant cutlets as the ‘meat’ for the meal, simple to prepare and easily baked in the oven. The side dishes consisted of a romaine lettuce salad topped with diced apple and feta cheese, roasted butternut squash, broccoli rabe, roasted broccoli florets, and rice pilaf. I knew this would allow each person to enjoy at least two sides with their ‘meat’.’  Now for the elegant twist to the meal: toppings for the cutlets. Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella cheese and prosciutto for each guest to customize their ‘meat.’ I had cheese and prosciutto on top of my chicken cutlet! (Delicious.) My husband and son enjoyed all the toppings.To customize the cutlets, place the toppings onto each individual and return them to the oven for long enough to melt the cheese. Not only do the toppings enhance the flavor of the cutlets they provide bursts of color to the otherwise golden brown cutlets.

Next time you serve a simple meal, ‘elegant’ it up with simple additions that boost both the flavor and visual appeal of the dish and awaken each guest’s specific taste buds. Your family and friends will feel special! You don’t ever have to tell them how simple it was...