Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Party: Tonight!

So I shared with you my plans for the party set up and theme, but here are my “dining and entertainment” selections for the evening. I plan to portion the food dishes into “finger foods” and share on small plates in order to add a formal touch to the party.


The most important part of any party! I’m creating an All-American menu, with a special emphasis on Chicago, in honor of Mr. Obama’s hometown. Here are two recipes I’ll be making:

Deep Dish Barbecued Chicken Pizza

3 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
1 medium red onion peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced mushroom
1/2 tsp. salt divided
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts thinly sliced or shredded
1/2 cup hickory-flavored barbecue sauce
1 12-inch pre-baked pizza crust
2 cups grated smoked gouda cheese or shredded mozzarella

1. Heat oven to 450ºF. Cover baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil.
2. Rinse chicken. Pat dry. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
3. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken. Sauté 2 minutes, or until exterior is no longer pink. Remove chicken from pan with slotted spoon.
4. Add onion and mushrooms to pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Remove pan from heat.
5. Return chicken to pan. Stir barbecue sauce into chicken and vegetables. Place pizza crust on baking sheet. Arrange half of cheese on pizza crust. Top with chicken mixture. Top chicken with remaining cheese.
6. Bake at 450ºF for 10 to 12 minutes, or until crust is crisp and cheese melts. Let stand 3 minutes before cutting. Serve immediately.

• For true “Chicago” flair, I’m making my pizza with a “deep dish” crust.
• To save time, I’m using Swanson® Premium Chunk Chicken. I’ll be able to skip right over steps 2 and 3, plus I won’t have to worry about defrosting and shredding boneless chicken breasts.

Franks Under Wraps (a spin on the Chicago-style hot dog)

Prep : 15 minutes
Bake : 15 minutes

½ package (17.3 oz.) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
10 frankfurters (about 1 lb.) , cut crosswise into halves
Prepared mustard

1. Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 40 min. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix egg and
2. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Cut into 20 (1/2") strips. Wrap pastry strips
around frankfurters, pressing gently to seal. Place on baking sheet. Brush with egg
3. Bake 15 min. or until golden. Serve with mustard for dipping. Makes 20 appetizers.

• If you’re going with the Chicago-theme, serve with yellow mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickles, peppers, and celery salt, but NEVER ketchup!

Games & Entertainment
Of course we’ll be watching live coverage of the Inauguration on television, but we’ll also have plenty of games to entertain us:

1. Predictions
Give each of your guests a form where they can each make predictions about the night’s events. For example
• What color dress will Mrs. Obama/Mrs. Biden/the Obama girls wear?_____________________
• How many times will Obama say “change” during his speech? _________
• Who, if anyone, will cry? (Can be someone at your party or shown on TV)____________________________
At the end of the party, tally up the results. The guest with the most correct predictions, wins!

2. Name Game
• Before the party, create a list of words that are “off-limits” for the party. (For example, “Obama,” “America,” “Democrat,” “Republican,” “Bush,” “President,” etc.)
• As each guest arrives, give them a necklace with quarter tied to it. (I use ribbon and tape the quarters to the ribbon, but you can really be creative about what you use here. You could, for example, hand out mini-American flags instead of necklaces).
• Each time a guest is caught saying one of the “off-limits” words, they must forfeit all of the necklaces they have accumulated to the guest who catches their slip-up.
• The person who has the most necklaces at the end of the night wins!

3. Quiz
• Distribute a trivia quiz to all of your guests, which they can take in teams, or individually.
• After everyone is finished, go over the correct answers out loud and have each person or team grade themselves. Have a prize ready for the winner!
• If you search online for “Inauguration Quiz” you’ll find several you can use. Here’s my favorite.

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