Monday, March 9, 2009

A Birthday Party on a budget...

This weekend I was determined to host a dinner party for 11 guests at our place, to celebrate our special friend’s birthday but I was hesitant to spend anymore than $40 to do it. In the past I’ve never really had a budget and usually found myself stepping into the grocery store and coming out with more than $100 worth of groceries, some of which never got used but this time it would be different. I would schedule and plan out each component of the meal and head to the store only once with my list. I’m proud to say it worked…
Our Birthday Menu consisted of:

Roasted Garlic - Garlic Bread
Helena’s Meat Lasagna
Baked Ravioli in Alfredo Sauce
Caesar Salad
Fresh Fruit Tarts
Ice Cream Birthday Cake (my gift to the birthday boy)

Some of the above are my tried and true favorites but I did try a new recipe that I created from a variety of different recipes I found online and this one was a favorite among all of our guests. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did…

Baked Ravioli in Alfredo Sauce

3 pkg.frozen Four Cheese Ravioli, cooked, drained, as per package
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ small red onion, minced
½ tsp minced garlic
1 package of sliced mushrooms
2 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Romano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoon bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 400º F. Grease an 8-inch-square baking dish.

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil then add salt. Add ravioli and cook for 8 minutes to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic. mushrooms and saute until tender. Add heavy cream and cheese, and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in pasta. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs over pasta mixture; cover with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake for additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.


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