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How to Give a Dinner Party When You Hate Entertaining
How to Make Easy Pizza Pork Chops and Impress Your Guests!
Stick It in the Oven and Enjoy the Evening!
As a die-hard introvert, I'd rather spend an evening at home reading a book by the fire or playing a board game with my family than inviting people over for dinner and chit-chit (without a doubt, chit-chat is my kryptonite). But sometimes I simply can't avoid socializing no matter how hard I try. When that's the case, I call upon Mama Rosa's Stick-It-in-the-Oven-and-Forget-It Italian-Style Dinner featuring Pizza Pork Chops. I just relax and enjoy my guests while this complete meal bakes in the oven – no more running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head cut off. Who knows? With such a simple, stress-free recipe, I may actually start to like the superficial, mind-numbing conversation about asinine subjects and not pray with all my might that my guests leave early!
Baked Potatoes in Foil
Scrub six baking potatoes. Dry them with paper towels. Wrap each potato in tin foil. Put the potatoes in the oven at the same time and same temperature as the parsley carrots and pizza pork chops.
Baked Potatoes in Foil
Pare 8 to 12 medium carrots. Leave whole and place in 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Add 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons butter or margarine. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a dash of pepper. Cover. Bake with the potatoes and pork chops.
Stuffing for Pizza Pork Chops
Mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano and 1/4 cup chopped onions with 1 cup packaged Stove Top herb stuffing. Prepare stuffing according to label directions but use only 1/3 cup water and 2 tablespoons butter.
Pizza Pork Chops
- 6 double-rib pork chops, 1-1/4 inches thick
- 1 box Stove Top Herb Stuffing
- 10-1/2 ounce can pizza sauce
- 8 ounce can seasoned tomato sauce
- 3 slices sharp cheddar cheese, halved diagonally
Pizza Pork Chops
- Cut a pocket on bone side of each chop.
- Trim off excess fat.
- Fill pockets with stuffing.
- Season chops with salt and pepper.
- Place chops in shallow baking pan.
- Pour both sauces over chops.
- Cover tightly with foil. Put in oven with potatoes and carrots.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Stuff the Pork Chops
What do you think of Pizza Pork Chops?
Pizza Pork Chops -- Ready for the Oven!
Take the potatoes, carrots, and pork chops out of the oven and give them some finishing touches before serving:
Potatoes Roll potatoes gently under your hand to make them mealy inside and then immediately cut through with a fork, making a crisscross on top of each potato. Press on the ends, pushing up to fluff. Top each potato with a pat of butter. Yum!
Carrots Sprinkle with snipped parsley before serving. They melt in your mouth!
Pizza Pork Chops Top with cheese and enjoy!
I also serve a tossed salad with Italian dressing. For dessert, I buy something yummy from the store that sticks to the Italian theme: tiramisu, spumoni, cannoli. By keeping it simple, I'm not worn out by the time my guests arrive and can smile game fully through all the chit-chat!
Nutrition Information for Pizza Pork Chops
|Serving size: 6|
|Calories from Fat||774|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 86 g||132%|
|Protein 169 g||338%|
|Sodium 3450 mg||144%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Ways to Make Dinner Parties More Fun for Your Guests and You
As an introvert, I've dreaded giving dinner parties in the past (and still do but not as much). However, over the years, I've learned some ways to make them more enjoyable or, at the very least, more tolerable.
Play a Game
After eating a big meal, I'm usually stuffed and tired. My concentration is spent and I can't bear any more small talk. But there are still two or three more hours before guests make their exit. What is an introverted hostess supposed to do?
I've found playing a game makes the evening move faster. A carefully chosen game is a good vehicle for stimulating conversation, getting minds energized, and making everyone feel involved. I prefer games that are simple and fun and don't make guests feel stupid. I also like ones that appeal to a wide-range of ages. Three of my favorites are:
Wits and Wagers – Even my 77-year-old mother, who loathes playing games, likes this one. You compete as teams or singles. One player reads a card and everyone writes down a guess: In what year was the Kentucky Derby first run? How many Academy Award nominations did the 6 Star Wars movies receive? What percent of Americans think that it's morally wrong to cheat on their taxes? How many pet dogs are there in the U.S.? Players then place their bets on the response they believe is closest to the actual number.
Truth Be Told – This is a marvelous game for generating conversation on a wide array of topics and getting to know one another in a fun, lighthearted way. The host reads a card that poses a question: I've always had a soft spot for ______. When I can't sleep at night, I ______. I would go back to school for ______. The host writes a truthful response, but the other players write bluff answers that seem like something the host would say. Then the host reads all the answers and the players guess which one was actually written by the host.
Telestrations – This lively, fast-paced game is such fun that it might go way into the night. You choose a card with a word or phrase such as “nose hair,” “meatloaf,” “rainbow trout,” or “glass is half full.” You have a minute to sketch it on your pad. Then you pass it to the next player who guesses what you drew. Then she passes the pad to the next player who draws a picture based on the guess. Then he passes the pad again and a final guess is made. There are plenty of laughs when the original word or phrase is revealed along with the drawings and guesses.
Party Games -- Fun or Not?
Do you enjoy party games?
Do Something Physical
I feel claustrophobic at dinner parties when everyone gathers in one room. I especially hate it when I'm preparing the meal, and everyone surrounds me in the kitchen. If I had the cooking skills, perky personality, and big gorgeous smile of Giada De Laurentiis, I might be okay with it, but I don't. I just feel like a bug in a jar with everyone staring at me.
Therefore, at my gatherings, I like to have activities that require people to get up and move around, not congregate in one place. I'll have ping-pong in the garage, bocce ball in the yard, darts in the family room, pinball and pool in the basement. I put munchies in each location to lure guests there. Over the years, I've had many guests tell me how much they appreciate these activities. They like to have options other than the usual three: talking, drinking, and eating.
Have Fun With Desserts
Instead of staying seated after dinner and eating dessert, I like to get everybody up from the table and moving. There are several fun ways to accomplish this:
Dessert Stations -- I like guests to make their own simple desserts. Some good ones include s'mores at the fire pit, ice cream sundaes on the deck, chocolate fondue with fruit in the den, and cookie decorating in the kitchen.
Chopped -- If you've seen the Food Network show, "Chopped," you know that contestants receive a picnic basket of eclectic ingredients and make something delicious out of them. I've done the same at parties by giving each guest or team of guests a bag of items to make desserts. One bag might contain Cool Whip, M&M's, vanilla pudding, and graham crackers. Another bag might have peanut butter cups, vanilla wafers, chocolate syrup, and yogurt.
I set a timer for 15 minutes and players rush to make a yummy creation. When the timer rings, everybody gets to sample the desserts and vote for a winner.
An Ice-Breaker Activity for Parties
For introverts like me, socializing is extremely draining. It's nice to have an easy dinner such as Mama Rosa's Stick-It -in-the-Oven-and-Forget-It Italian-Style Dinner featuring Pizza Pork Chops to make it less taxing. While this simple but delicious meal cooks in the oven, you have the time and energy to enjoy your guests. You may never relish entertaining but, at the very least, you'll feel more confident and less frazzled.