Easy entertaining menu

I think my friends are getting used to being fodder for the blog! My dear friend Sheska was in town visiting from Vancouver and so we decided to throw a dinner party. I do love cooking, but I wanted something relatively easy to be put together and that could be made in stages if necessary. 

For appetizers we had baked brie, mussels with chorizo and mussels in a cream sauce. 

Dinner started with an arugula salad with chopped dates and a balsamic honey vinaigrette. 

The main course was a leek galette with pancetta and a pork sausage with pear galette.  Some wine on the table along with some crusty bread and everyone was happy.

My grandfather collected a lot of things over the years and there was a pile of slabs of marble out at my grandparents house. I pulled this piece out of the pile and it worked great as a serving platter. Then finally an apple crumble with vanilla ice cream for desert.  

While there was some prep time involved in making dinner, everything was easy to bring from the oven to the table. The galette was in the oven while we were eating appetizers and it required very little time and effort from putting it in the oven to on the table. 

Sheska is a chef and I'm used to cooking off the cuff so I'm including recipes and our adaptations. 

Baked Brie


  • One round of brie
  • 2 Tbls fig jam (I recommend Bonne Mama)
  • 1 tsp equal parts chopped thyme, sage and rosemary 

Place brie in small oven safe dish (I used an iron skillet). Spread fig jam on top and then sprinkle with herb. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. We served it in the skillet on a trivet with sliced bread. 

Mussels in Cream Sauce and Mussels with Chorizo


  • 2 lbs mussels scrubbed and debearded

First make the sauces. While they simmer bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pan. Drop the scrubbed mussels into the pan and let them steam for 3-4 minutes until the shells are open.

Cream Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 Tbsp equal parts chopped thyme, sage and rosemary 
  • Salt and pepper

In a small saucepan melt butter and add chopped shallot. Saute until translucent. Whisk in white wine, half and half, herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Then pour over mussels. 


  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 8 ounces fresh chorizo (removed from casing)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (and a little more if you like some heat)
  • Salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium heat and add chopped onion. Cook until onion is almost translucent and then add the chorizo. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the white wine, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for about five minutes. When done pour over bowl of mussels. 

Arugula salad with dates and balsamic vinaigrette. 

Serves 6


  • 6 cups of arugula salad
  • 5 chopped dates
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds 

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Whisk all the ingredients together. A note about honey....I used a dark fall honey, which has a hint of molasses to it and adds a great depth to the flavor. If you don't have great fresh honey, I would suggest using 1 Tbsp of honey and a Tbsp of molasses. 

Caramelized Leek and Shallot Galette

I actually used a recipe for this one! I have been using the Moose Wood pie crust for almost twenty years and it is super easy, so I highly recommend using this pie crust recipe. 

Savory Sausage Galette

So for this one we kind of riffed on this recipe. I had a couple of picky eaters over and I wasn't sure they would like fennel. Instead of fennel we used half a pear and omitted the sun dried tomatoes. We also used the Moose Wood pie crust recipe. Also, we just used Italian sausage. 

I would highly recommend making a galette for your next dinner party. Super tasty and super easy to make! 



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