Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baked potato bar

It's Tuesday and that means time for another Tasty Tuesday link up hosted by Lean Lena and Fairytales and Fitness. Thank you again for hosting!  Sunday we had about 8 people over at our house for dinner and wrestlemania. I'm not a wrestling fan but enjoy entertaining so I was agreeable with this plan :) The group had various dietary needs such as gluten free and vegetarian, so we figured some sort of fix-it-yourself option allowed for the most flexibility.

We decided on a baked potato bar with sweet potatoes and regular potatoes as well as veggie chili and various toppings.

First step was getting the potatoes baking.  We preheated the oven to 425 degrees.  While the oven was heating we scrubbed the potatoes, poked them with a fork, rubbed the outside with olive oil and some salt, and wrapped them in foil.  The wrapping in foil isn't necessary but we figured they'd stay warm longer that way since people may want to eat at different times. They went into the oven for 45 minutes. We took one out at that point to poke with a fork to see if it went through easily and since it didn't, we put the potatoes back in for another 15 minutes. At that point, we tested again and they were ready to go.

While the potatoes were baking, I made the veggie chili using this recipe from The Picky Eater blog. There was some chopping to start with, an onion and two bell peppers.

But it wasn't too much work after that.  Just sauté the veggies, and then add in the canned beans, canned tomatoes, veggie broth and seasonings.  This was a great recipe for veggie chili!  It had a really interesting depth of flavor.

Once it was time to serve dinner, we put out the foil wrapped potatoes (labeling which were sweet potatoes and which were regular) with the veggie chili in a crockpot to stay warm.  We also had cheese, sour cream, bacon, broccoli and green onions for people to use as toppings.

It was delicious and everyone seemed to enjoy the options. We also had beer and wine, with regular and gluten free cookies to end the evening. We had some chips, salsa, veggies and hummus out as snacks for people as they arrived before dinner was ready.  We had leftover chili for dinner today and I think I'll turn the leftover potatoes into a soup for dinner later this week.

Anyone have any recommendations for a good go-to for entertaining a small group?  I'd love to hear about it!