If you visit the blog regularly, you know I’m a mom who usually has a long list of things to do in preparation for every day that I am gifted. I wake up. Sit at my office desk, think of all the tasks I need to accomplish for the day at hand, and then I slowly start to tick the items off my checklist as the day goes on.
So when it comes to preparing meals for my family. Even if they are special, “Slow Down Sunday” types of meals, I still like them to be easy in preparation but delicious in my family’s tummy.
I look for my inspiration in preparing these meals from many different places. I might search on Pinterest. I might talk about it with my momma friends who enjoy cooking. I may even post on Facebook and ask my friends on social media what they are making for dinner on nights when I lack the inspiration to get on track for dinner.
But one of my favorite ways to learn and to find inspiration in the kitchen is by getting in the very heart of the home with some friends. Sometimes, that means I’m getting in The Viking Range Showroom with Chef Jayps or Chef Carlo. Other times, I may be in the same kitchen with a group of women who I would like to treat and learn more from in the process, and still other times, I enjoy a good old fashion #Cookfest, here in my home.
What is a #GSMCookfest?
A #GSMCookfest is when I get together with Ginger, Sabrina, and Gia. We plan out a menu according to our latest craving. We research recipes. Buy all the ingredients for each of our chosen recipes, and then get cooking up something good together.
For this particular Cookfest, we decided on Quick and Easy Easter Dishes. Easter Dishes in our home are usually the kind of dishes that simmer or bake for HOURS. In this case, my friends and I wanted to try out Backyard Farms Chickens. We wanted to make something fun for Easter. And we knew we would have fun in the process.
Our menu for the day consisted of:
- Quick Panzanella Salad
- Three Cheese Stuffed Hasselback Poatoes
- 40 Clove Garlic Chicken
- Bunny Cupcakes
- Easter Bark
All of these dishes and desserts are quite easy. The only one that took a little bit of time to prepare were the Bunny Cupcakes simply because there were a few more steps involved.
Everything came out delicious! We all were recharged and inspired in the kitchen once again, and now we are already planning our next menu for the next #GSMCookfest.
My friend Sabrina really mastered this recipe from Nigella.
- Brown the chicken
- Fry the garlic and fresh thyme in the same pan
- Deglaze the pan with a good white wine
- Pour over the chicken before baking at 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes (or until slightly brown).
- Remember to preheat your oven, and be sure to salt and pepper through each step.
Whenever making any kind of chocolate bark, the possibilities are endless.
This batch has everything from salted caramel, Oreos, peanut butter chips, Easter eggs, and sprinkles to give it a pop of color. To change it up for a different holiday, just change up the toppings!
My favorite kind of bark is dark chocolate.
Because all of us enjoy getting into the kitchen together, and we love putting everything on the table together according to our theme, while we were cooking, the boys agreed to set the table for us.
We just gave them our props, Sab’s fresh flowers, and told them how many people to set for.
Didn’t they do a great job?
One thing I’m surely enjoying? The time in the kitchen with Sabrina, Ginger and Gia is inspiring me to take better photos of my food. Sabrina and I would often watch in amazement how our friends Lady and Steph would move in synchronicity when styling a dish or a flat lay with ingredients.
Because we have been spending so much time together (even if we have a long hiatus in between) I see that with that same kind of swift strokes. Almost like a team. And I’m enjoying it…I’m really enjoying the process, because it’s not just about the finished product that we put on the table…it’s also about the process, RIGHT?
- 2 large ripe red tomatoes
- 1 container of cherry tomatoes
- 2 containers of organic black tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- a handful of basil torn
- olive oil
- balsamic dressing
- half of a french baguette cubed, tossed in olive oil, and salt and pepper
- Wash and cut your tomatoes to prepare them for your salad.
- Toss tomatoes with minced garlic, onion, and basil.
- Salt and Pepper tomatoes after drizzling balsamic and evoo.
- Toast your bread cubes and then toss into the salad when ready to serve.
- You can make your tomato salad ahead of time so the flavors meld a little in the refrigerator. Be sure to toss the bread cubes into the salad just before serving, so that the bread remains crunchy.
- This easy summer salad can be also be changed up by adding roasted vegetables.