In the era of Pinterest when everything seems perfect in other people’s homes, entertaining can seem to be a daunting task. It can feel like if you can’t put together a magazine worthy tablescape or pinnable spread for a kid’s birthday party you are somehow not quite up to snuff. There is certainly a time and a place to go all out and bring out your best decorating ideas and make some fancy appetizers; perhaps even set up a cocktail bar with fancy simple syrups and garnishes. Some kids’ parties really need a good bar, don’t you think? Just kidding!
I had been talking to Jan about her new book that she was writing with Julie this summer and I was really looking forward to picking up a copy. The book focuses on low key entertaining where the emphasis is creating a comfortable place to share good food with friends and family. The presentation of the food does matter but Jan and Julie show in their book that creating an attractive table doesn’t need to be overdone to make guests feel special and welcome in your home.
I have a brand new baby at home with me and I love having people over still, but I want their visit to be stress-free so that my husband and I can enjoy the company of friends and family without worrying about serving an elaborate spread of appetizers. I don’t have a lot of time to cook right now so I’m also conscious of making sure that any food I make is kid-friendly since I’d rather not make boxed macaroni and cheese for Timothy too often. When I read through the Gatherings book, I was drawn to the chicken finger recipe right away. It was my favourite item to order on a menu when I was a kid and I knew that Timothy would love to be part of our taste test.
I made the chicken fingers on a Sunday afternoon with just my little family at home. I didn’t make the full batch which calls for two pounds of chicken breasts because chicken was expensive that day at the grocery store, so we just bought a small package. My husband is gluten intolerant so I got him to pick up a package of gluten-free crackers and I pulverized them in my little mini food processor. I followed the directs for the marinade but cutting back the quantity slightly. The chicken had sat in the yogurt bath in the fridge for half the afternoon and then I breaded and pan fried the chicken fingers. You could bake the chicken fingers if that’s your preference, but these are a treat and pan frying them makes them taste even better with a nice crunchy texture.
The verdict all around: best chicken fingers ever. I really wish I’d made a full size batch because Timothy and Simon got the lion-share of what I made. Poor Simon doesn’t get chicken fingers often at all since he can’t get them at a restaurant, and I was happy that Tim was eating something other than crackers for lunch. These chicken fingers are right up there with homemade mac and cheese in his books, so that is mighty high praise.
I’m not sharing the recipe for the chicken fingers on the blog today because I encourage you to buy a copy for yourself and perhaps for someone on your Christmas list. There are so many recipes that I want to try over the next few weeks that fit right in to my plan for relaxed and welcoming entertaining. The recipe for chicken fingers was under the kids’ party ideas, but who among us can turn down chicken fingers? You know they would be a huge hit at any party. Be sure to make the full batch, because they will be snapped up in a flash.
Here’s the link to Amazon for the Gatherings book! It is also available in book stores so if you see one at your local store, pick one up there. Enjoy!
Disclosure: I received a copy of Gatherings: Bringing People Together with Food for review purposes. All opinions are my own. This post also contains an affiliate link and I would receive a small percentage of compensation for any purchases made through the link.
#GatheringsBook – the blog tour!
Check out all the #GatheringsBook bloggers:
Mardi from eat. live. travel. write. Top tips on entertaining from Gatherings.
Mairlyn Smith chose Gatherings as one of her top new Canadian cookbook picks.
Charmian from The Messy Baker is writing about the Pecan Bourbon Blondies.
Isabelle from Crumb Blog made Nenshi Pie
Jenny from The Brunette Baker made pear and cardamom cream cheese tart
Stephanie from Clockwork Lemon made sweet and spicy mixed nuts
Valerie from A Canadian Foodie made “man candy” (bacon wrapped dates!)
Britt from My Daily Randomness made pulled pork with real baked beans
Robyn from Planet Byn made peanut butter honey granola
Libby from Libby Roach Photography made braised beef short ribs and Yorkshire pudding
Meg from Sweet Twist of Blogging made peanut butter balls
Louisa from Living Lou made prosciutto-wrapped prawns
Liliana from My Cookbook Addiction made simple French onion soup
Rhonda from Olive and Ruby made sticky cocktail meatballs
Jenn from Chocolate Shavings made roasted brussels sprouts with a grainy mustard sauce