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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hosting a Fall Soiree + Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe


I love spending time outside when the fall air turns chilly and crisp. The fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves turning hues of yellow and orange, baggy sweatshirts and of course, pumpkin spice lattes. What's not to love? 

If you're like me, you love to host a great dinner party at home. Ever since we received our new outdoor dining set, I envisioned myself hosting a fall dinner with all the likes of fall: pumpkin beer, a heavy red wine, and great company. If you're planning on having an outdoor dinner party, read on for my no muss, no fuss tips for throwing together an effortless and cozy look.


First things first: decide on a color scheme. Find a fall item you love to set the color palate for your table. I decided on using the colors from my favorite tartan scarf to inspire my scheme. In an effort to keep my look cozy and relaxed, I placed pillows at the backs of every other chair and added a few blankets. Don't worry if they don't match perfectly, as this will make your table look more effortless. Providing blankets will also allow your dinner guests to linger and stay warm as the sun goes down. 

Drape your table with a beautiful floor-length tablecloth, like this one from Market Linen to add an extra element of warmth.

For the place settings, keep things simple. I used classic white dinnerware and added a pop of color using gold flatware that can be found for as low as $2.00 each at Target. As a simple and affordable alternative to napkin rings, tie twine around the napkins for a rustic look.  

A good hostess knows that guests can get embarrassed to ask for more, so to keep the evening carefree, place several bottles of wine on the table and your stockpot. Guests will be able to easily help themselves to seconds without disturbing the dinner conversation.

Food & Beverage

My next tip is to serve a large portion and a meal that will stay warm. I used my stockpot from Le Creuset to serve my soup in because the stoneware keeps soups and stews warm for up to an hour. You don't have to serve an elaborate meal to have a great dinner party. Something as simple as fresh bread and soup is such a comfort that your guests will feel satisfied. In an effort to have plenty of food and keep everyone warm, I made classic chicken noodle soup and served a crunchy french baguette with each bowl. 

Keep your guests in mind. Is anyone a beer drinker? What about those who only prefer their bourbon on the rocks? Remembering your friends' and family's preferences will show that you were mindful of them while planning the evening and leave a lasting impression. More over, it will keep everyone at the party in a pleasant mood as they imbibe their favorite drink. 

I tend to serve more red wine in the colder months, as they pair better with heartier dishes. However, as a sommelier candidate, I also recommended an unoaked Chardonnay to pair with the soup as they are a great match.  

Chicken Noodle Soup

Preparation:  15 min
                  Cook Time: 30 min  Total Time: 45 min                       

          2-3 chicken breasts (depending on size of the breasts)
          1/4 cup white wine
          3/4 cup chopped white onion
          2 cups of rotini noodles
          4 tbsp butter
          2 tsp chopped garlic
          3/4 cup chopped carrots
          3/4 cup chopped celery
          1 1/2 -2 (32 oz) containers of chicken broth (depending on how chunky vs soupy you like it)
          1 tsp fresh lemon juice
          2 tsp Italian seasoning
          1 bay leaf
          2 tsp chopped italian parsley
          Salt & Pepper to taste


1) Over medium heat in a large stockpot, melt butter. Add your chopped onion and wine and allow to simmer for 2-
    3 minutes. 

2) Add chopped vegetables, bay leaf, garlic and chicken broth, raising the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

3) Once the broth is boiling, add in your raw chicken breasts and allow them to cook all the way through.

4) While chicken is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the noodles.

5) After 25 minutes, your chicken should be cooked thoroughly. Take them out of the pot and place them onto a 
    cutting board. Lower the soup's heat to low/medium. 

6) Cut through the middle of your chicken breasts. If they are cooked thoroughly, begin cutting each breast into 
    cubes. (If they need more time, add them back and turn the heat back up.) Once finished, add them back to the 

7) Add lemon juice, noodles, italian seasoning and salt & pepper. Stir until combined. 

8) Serve immediately. Place a piece of french bread on a plate next to each bowl. 

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