Easy 3-Course Summer Dinner // Sponsored by Cheeky Home

#makemealtimematter

Such a sweet and simple phrase. What does it mean to you?

For so many Americans a meal is simply a bowl of multiple tones of brown mush consistency. Or Big Mac on the coffee table in front of the Bachelor blaring all too loud. And what saddens me the most is a meal where people are mesmerized looking at their phones more than the person in front of them. While I am guilty all of these things, I am also fiercely aware of them and try to change my habits one meal at a time. 

I've teamed up with Cheeky Home to bring you three easy recipes that can help make your mealtime matter this summer.  Cheeky is on a mission to raise awareness of hunger in America and they have donated over 7 million meals to people in need. For every pack of plates that you purchase, Cheeky donates a meal. The cause is spreading like wild fire and I am proud to hop on and contribute to this change. 

Without further ado I would like to introduce you to the newest line of Cheeky Home, DINNERWARE!

Having been on multiple campaigns with the company and watching them grow from paper to real plates has been wonderful. There is something so magical about watching a confident new company grow and blossom. Cheeky is the real deal and they are here to stay. 

These plates are wonderful. I was so excited when I opened my set that I accidentally dropped one of the bowls while walking back to my apartment and it didn't break! They are durable and they make food look oh-so-glamorous. 

Even if I am having take out Chinese food or heating up frozen fish in the oven I almost always set the table and that is certainly my first step in #makingmealtimematter. Below you will find a super simple 3-course summer lineup that you can make for just you and your man friend or for a dinner party with friends! Either way, it's fresh, flavorful and it works! I've also listed up a few tips that can make your normal dinner a night to remember. Cheers! 

PEACH CAPRESÈ SALAD
WITH HONEY BALSAMIC DRIZZLE

4 Ripe Peaches thinly sliced
12 Thin Slices of fresh mozzarella cheese
20-25 Basil leaves  
¾ Cup of Balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons of honey

In a medium saucepan heat balsamic vinegar and honey on medium high until boiling. Reduce to simmer and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes until mixture has reduced and thickened.

Arrange peach slices, mozzarella slices, and basil leaves in an accordion on a Byron Salad plate. Lightly drizzle with balsamic honey mixture to serve. 

Gathering around a dinner table can be so memorable. Surrounding yourself with good food and great company has spectacular potential.

Can you tell I am sucker for a dinner party that is big or small from this post?! Because I definitely am! If throwing a dinner party for 2 or 10 makes you overwhelmed use some of these tips for a smooth evening!

Can't Stop the Feeling - J. Timberlake
Swap out Netflix for Pandora. T.V. is such an easy distraction and an excuse not to talk to one another. Don't get me wrong, I'm not into dead silence either. Turn on some music for an un-distracting compromise.

Break out the good stuff
There is a time and a place for paper plates. If you're throwing a dinner party break out the good stuff. You've got a dishwasher and the extra two minutes of rinsing plates at the end of the night will be worth it. I promise. If you're really crazy... you'll even throw some wine glasses on the table.

Sometime eye catching
Grab a centerpiece! Flowers always work, but you don't have to be a florist or have a green thumb. Throw some fresh produce into a shallow serving dish or throw a bunch of fun and not cheesy questions into a fishbowl to ask during dinner. Not into personal questions... trivia works too! 

Table Setting like a pro!
Forks go on the left large to small. Knife first, then spoon on the right. Remember this always, K? This is one of those good things to learn like cursive. 

Get a little crazy!
If you have invited people that you mostly don't know (hey it happens!) think of some kind of neutral activity. Make your dinner a wine tasting activity and have a different wine for each course. Wanna get really adventurous?! Make everyone try their first bite blindfolded. 

The good kind of moody...
A little good lighting goes a long way at a dinner. Throw some tea lights into a few mason jars for an instant and cheap lighting effect. If you're really going all the way... string some fairy lights!

HEIRLOOM TOMATO
& BASIL PAPPARDELLE PASTA

 1 Vidalia onion thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 Teaspoon of salt
½ Teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ Cups of water  
1 Pint of heirloom tomatoes halved
4-6 Medium tomatoes on the vine largely diced
1 Tablespoon of freshly minced garlic
1/2 Cup of thinly chopped basil leaves
1 Pound of Pappardelle pasta noodles or thick pasta noodles such as linguini
1 Cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large Dutch oven heat oil on medium and add in thinly sliced onion. Cook onion for 5-10 minutes until tender and translucent. Add in fresh garlic, tomatoes, water, sugar, salt, pepper and half of the chopped basil leaves. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Let mixture simmer for 30 to one hour. If you are short on time 30 minutes will do but the flavor will develop stronger if simmered longer.

Cook pappardelle or pasta noodle that you have chosen according to package for an al dente noodle. Toss the pasta with stewed tomato mixture                                  

DECONSTRUCTED
WHISKEY CHERRY SHORTCAKE

 2 Cups of cake flour
1 ½ Tablespoons of sugar
2 Teaspoons of baking powder
½ Teaspoon of course salt
1 ¼ Sticks of cold unsalted butter
2/3 Cup of cold whole milk
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

1 Pound of cherries halved
1/3 Cup of whiskey
1 Tablespoon of orange zest
½ Cup of sugar
Juice from half an orange

2 Cups of cold heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons of sugar
1 Teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
*Optional Add in 1-2 Tablespoons of whiskey for extra whiskey flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Pit and half cherries and place them in a large bowl. Stir in sugar, whiskey, orange zest, and juice and cover. Refrigerate for a minimum of four hours.

With a stand mixer whip heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract and sugar until soft peaks form. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until shortcakes are served.

Combine milk and lemon juice and set for 30 minutes or used store bought buttermilk. In large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a handheld cheese grater, grate butter into flour mixture and combine with hands or a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly but still dry.  Add in buttermilk and mix with a fork. Form four round biscuits onto baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden.

Cut cooled biscuits in half and top with a large spoonful of whiskey cherries onto one biscuit. Top with whip cream and spoon leftover juice from the infused cherries onto the whip cream. Top with other half of biscuit.

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This post was sponsored by Cheeky Home. You can grab their new dinnerware line in Target stores now! All opinions expressed are my own.