Bender’s First Dinner Party

by Jenn (eating bender) on February 21, 2009

Last night, amidst all the homework terror that this week has brought, my roommate and I were able to set aside some to time to relax that was centered around my personal favorite: food.


We invited over a very special guest for the occasion. He is basically the biggest reason why our Emmy-winning show was successful. Our technical adviser and good friend, “I.M.” (for confidentiality). We drew up a menu a few weeks ago, and K made each of us a place card at the table.


On the menu:

I was put in charge of the chicken. Orginally, I was going to make Papa Bender’s Chicken Marsala (because really, who can go wrong with a P.Benda recipe, right?), but couldn’t find any cooking wine at the grocery store. So I settled on this instead:


White wine marinade for $1.00? Priceless.

I started out by sticking the chicken breast tenderloins in a bag of whole wheat bread crumbs. Once they were pretty much covered, I cooked them in a pan on the stove for about 2 minutes per side, just to get them slightly cooked. The pan had 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 clove garlic for extra flavor.


Once they were slightly cooked, I quickly pulled them out of the pan and set them aside in an cooking spray greased baking dish for later. To the remaining pan “juices,” I added 1/2 cup water, 1 packet white wine marinade and 1 tbsp. whipped butter. Stir together, and you’ve got yourself a really easy sauce!


I poured the sauce over the chicken tenderloins in the baking dish.


I then put the cover on the baking dish and placed the chicken in the oven at 400* for 20-25 minutes. Check the chicken for doneness and take out of the oven when it’s white on the inside!

At the same time, my roomie was making the asparagus recipe.


As well as the brown rice


We also picked up a French baguette fresh from Whole Foods. My roomie cut it up into slices and put it in a heart-shaped tin from Valentine’s Day. It was so warm and doughy!


Once everything was ready, our guest arrived! It was great timing. We each took our own portions and then sat down at the table to enjoy our meal. I had a POM spritzer to drink. I will do a more formal review of POM Wonderful soon, but let’s just say I really love this drink!


We spent almost 2 hours at the table talking about anything and everything. I rarely get to enjoy a meal as much as I enjoyed this one. The chicken turned out tender and moist – I highly recommend that $1.00 marinade! K’s asparagus, tomatoes and brown rice turned out juicy and flavorful as well. We had no complaints and were actually very impressed with ourselves. Who knew I had it in me to be so gourmet?!

Then came the highlight of the evening: dessert. As part of our get together, I.M. volunteered to bring us a baked goodie. He certainly didn’t disappoint us with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Cookies!


There are so many words to describe these cookies: chewy, doughy, chocolate and peanut butter-filled to name a few. I.M. has said he will send us the recipe, and I can’t wait!


The cookies had so many layers to them! I had to get a picture for you all :)


Look at how dense it is! You can see the peanut butter chip on the right side. There were so many chips in every bite, I thought I’d gone to heaven πŸ˜‰ Honestly, just look at it! I’m drooling all over again. It was truly a dinner that catered to all of the senses, and I felt very content afterward.


Have you ever had your own dinner party? If so, what did the menu feature, and how did it turn out? Would you do it again?

After last night, my answer is a big Y-E-S.

Happy Saturday, everyone! I’ll be back soon with more food and bag tag fun!

Blog hugs,


1 VeggieGirl February 21, 2009 at 12:45 pm

LOVE THIS!! What a perfect, fun, delectable way to unwind amidst a mountain of schoolwork :-)

2 brandi February 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm

How fun! Everything looks delicious!

Glad you had a fun night without papers and presentations :)

I haven’t had a dinner party yet, but I hope to in the future.

3 Karla February 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Yum, and so fun! I’ve never had my own fancy dinner party like that…but now I think that I need too :) Have a fabulous weekend Jenn!

4 coco February 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm

You’re such a great host!!!
home party is so fun! I used to do it once for a while.

5 Emily February 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I love dinner parties! We had a mini dinner party at my house last night (enchiladas, cornbread muffins, zuke slivers). When I was in undergrad, a couple of friends and I would make dinners on Friday nights and watch old movies.

6 Marisa (trim the fat) February 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Yum! I will look out for that marinade!

My first dinner party(13 years ago) was a disaster! Everything was dried out and shriveled because I tried to make things too far in advance. But, the dessert I made(apple tart tatin) was terrific! Either that, or everyone was too bombed from too much drink and not enough food to notice!! LOL! Thankfully, it didn’t deter me too much; I’ve honed my skills and have dinner parties often!

7 foodsthatfit February 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Wow, you went all out! I love dinner parties, but they are so much work! I love the name place cards, little details like that make it so fun and personalized!

8 Rose February 21, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Love the dinner party! The chicken looks really good – I will have to try that marinade. And those cookies? wow. I want to come over for a dinner party! haha :)

You know about my crazy spontaneous dinner party I once had. We haven’t had one in a while, so I think we’re due. We’ve been running every weekend, and I’ve been traveling a lot.. soo soon, another one.

9 Natalie February 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Everything looks great :) When I was in college, I did dinner night with my roomies twice a month. We’d all make a different dish and gossip and drink wine…so much fun!

10 elise February 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm

so much fun!! glad you guys had such a great night, and great eats.

back in ca, our group of friends used to have thurs night dinners every week. it was so fun, we made atleast 4 courses and depending on who made it each week, there was anywhere from 8 to 20 people. im getting nostalgic just thingking of it now…i miss those rituals now that im in nyc :(

11 Leah February 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Oh my goodness, what a success!! Everything looks so great!
Love the chicken, love the veggies… love your entire meal!


12 Sarah February 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Too fun to have a dinner party in college! Our idea of a dinner party was splitting a box of mac and cheese, and if we were really feeling fancy, we’d get the Deluxe kind with the squeezy cheese packet. Though beverages were consumed, I’m certain there were never any POM spritzers.

Not much is changed. We had a friend over for dinner last night, and I felt really classy as I sat out the paper napkins and bowls of burrito toppings in our kiddie IKEA bowls. Classy lady.

If you post the recipe, I’m making those cookies and underbaking them significantly. I love my cookies rare!

13 Kate February 21, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Awww! This is a great post! That’s awesome you took time to do that! Sadly, I can’t say I’ve ever done a formal dinner party like that??? I’ve done tons of dinner dates w/ girlfriends but never planned it out?!

14 Nicole February 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

Your dinner party looks like lots of fun!

15 Bec February 21, 2009 at 2:30 pm

All the food looks so good, I love having dinner parties. At school we do a lot of pot lucks but I have hosted a few on my own too!

16 Lindsey (Mrs. LC) February 21, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I think it’s fun to do themed dinners (i.e. Mexican night, Italian night). Off the top of my head, one dinner party featured a pomegranate glazed roasted pork tenderloin, with a salad (spinach, romaine, turkey bacon crumbles, tomato, carrot, maybe some egg or feta?), and a brown rice pilaf with dried cranberries, mushrooms, and slivered almonds. Yum!

17 Jen February 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Yummy dinner! oh my word, that just rocks!!! :) :) :)

18 Heather Eats Almond Butter February 21, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Wow, your party turned out great, and I’m still drooling over that cookie picture. I want to bite into one right now!

Chris and I love having friends over for dinner. I think our most successful meal was a pork tenderloin cooked in a cream sauce with onions, granny smith apples, and sage. Delicious. I always follow up our carnivorous meal with an all raw dessert…I like to confuse our guests. :)

So glad your evening turned out so well. I’ll be on the lookout for that chicken marinade.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend Jenn!

19 Shelby February 21, 2009 at 3:06 pm

This is so cute! What a great way to spend the evening. I’ve never had a dinner party but I want to now!!

Ooo, that cookie is calling my name!

20 marafaye February 21, 2009 at 3:07 pm

YES! I’ve had a dinner party, and they are super stressful but in the end, so much fun!! Yours looks absolutely fantastic!! I’m so glad you got to host your first!

21 bobbi February 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm

I think I could be a dinner party host for a living! I love dinner parties!!! I had one for my friends a couple weeks ago, and we stayed at the table for hours!

22 balancemycake February 21, 2009 at 4:12 pm

That entire meal looks fabulous!! I LOVE asparagus and tomatoes…dunno if I’ve ever had them together but it looks delicious! And the bread…wonderful! Those cookies look great, I made a similar looking batch last week for my boyfriend for Valentine’s Day…full fat, butter, sugar, everything and he was in heaven! Especially considering he often finds flax seed or oats or some other “weird” ingridient in his baked goods πŸ˜‰

Happy Saturday Jenn!

23 Jess February 21, 2009 at 4:28 pm

My first dinner party was a few months ago and it was a great success! Here was the menu:
Appetizer – Sliced cucumber rounds topped with vegetable cream cheese and shredded carrot (so easy to put together!)
Salad – Spring mix with walnuts, blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, and sliced granny smith apples.
Main Course – Chicken parm with pasta and marinara sauce, warm italain bread.
Dessert – Two layer chocolate cake (homemade!!) with chocolate fudge frosting.
I was definitely channeling Martha on this one and although everything turned out great, I was so busy running around and making sure that everything was perfect that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. I think next time I’ll try something a little simpler that doesn’t require many “finishing touches”!

24 Kristie February 21, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Aww a dinner party? That’s so cute and sweet! I love it all, down to name places and everything. A dollar chicken marinade, that’s so priceless haha

I’ve never had a dinner party. I’m far from an entertainer but I’ve considered it once or twice, I think it would be a lot of fun!

25 ksgoodeats February 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Oh everything looks great and so chic! My friends and I used to do once a month dinner dates at each others houses. It would rotate between us and the host had to make dinner for the other girls – main dish, app, dessert. It was fun but we eventually got so busy that it fell apart :( I’d do it again though!

26 Ryan February 21, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Aw, it looks like you had a great time with your dinner party! I love stuff like that :) We used to have “Family Dinner Nights” at my condo last year where my roommate and I cooked dinner for like 10-15 of our friends (usually simple stuff like individual pizzas, spaghetti, lasagna, etc…). It’s a lot of fun and food brings everyone together!

27 Hangry Pants February 21, 2009 at 8:39 pm

I love dinner parties. I haven’t had my own in my new apartment, but I have in the past. I always think they are fun. I want to do one like Rose from On a Lobster Placemat did when everyone brings and ingredient and you have to cook a meal.

28 Meg February 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm

What a fun and delicious dinner party. Those cookies look sinful!

29 Sharon February 21, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Oh my gosh, love it. Everything looks gorgeous, and beautifully arranged!!!

30 Lora February 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm

holy crap i want that cookie! and i feel as tho i am becoming a cosi addict bc twice in one week? a bit addictive…i ned to control my spending habits and freeze my card. :)

31 Leng February 21, 2009 at 11:34 pm

everything looks so perfect, especially the brown rice and veggies. Love the name cards.

32 Caroline February 22, 2009 at 12:13 am

Those veggies look fabulous!

I really must get some club soda (is that what you use?) to make a POM spritzer. I have all this pomegranate juice on hand–I want take full advantage of it!

I have never had a dinner party, but it’s something I’d like to try in the future!

33 Lara February 22, 2009 at 4:09 am

Love it! Simple but somehow still gourmet :)
I’ve never had a posh dinner party like this but now I’m kind of wanting to host one! :)

34 Tal February 22, 2009 at 5:02 am

Everything looks *amazing*

Remind me that I don’t have enough dinner parties. Definitely have people over for dinner, but I fell like the place cards really tie the whole thing together :)

35 Allison February 22, 2009 at 7:41 am

How fun! That was so sweet of you girls to invite over your technical advisor and cook such a nice feast! πŸ˜‰

Hang in there with the school work – hopefully “itll be over before you know it!”

36 Andrea (Off Her Cork) February 22, 2009 at 8:30 am

So fun! πŸ˜€ Love all the eats, it looks so yummy!

37 eatingbirdfood February 22, 2009 at 8:58 am

Your dinner party looked fab. I’m sure papa bender would be proud of your gourmet dinner.

I’ve never really had a formal dinner party yet. At this point we only have a table for two so having a dinner party would consist of people sitting on the couch to eat – not very formal. But I would love to host Thanksgiving at my house sometime. Maybe this year??

38 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) February 22, 2009 at 9:21 am

What fun!

Dinner looks amazing, and the cookies look so delish!

39 Melissa February 22, 2009 at 9:37 am

I love dinner parties! this one looks awesome. especially the cookies

40 carolinebee February 22, 2009 at 9:58 am

that sounds so awesome!! I love how you college-ified Papa B’s recipe! haha now u can save up your $$ for some drinkin’ wine ;D I love the idea of dinner parties- i’ve done one with my mom, and sort of a fakie cocktail one with friends. The hardest part for me is deciding on food, and getting all the components READY at the same time! It’s hard to coordinate cooking supplies and utensils and times ya know!? I think three people is a great number too, esp if the guest of honor brings dessert! Can’t wait for that recipe!!

41 Erin February 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Looks beautiful Jenn! I bet you and K are quite a pair of hostesses. :) The menu sounds fabs.
I’m sure all your food was good, but I’m most excited by the cookes – WHOA DUDE.
We’ve def had some dinner parties! We like to make them a little crazy. Coming up we’re having a Puerto Rican/Portuguese night!

42 Marissa February 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm
43 Marians eats. The italian way February 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

I’m really enjoying your blog and find everything you have to say is really great! Have a great rest of the weekend girl!

44 eatingbender February 23, 2009 at 12:07 am

Marians eats. The italian way ~ Thank you, that’s very sweet :) I hope you have a fantastic week!

45 ttfn300 February 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm

i don’t do it enough! those cookies look fabulous :)

46 Marianne February 22, 2009 at 11:41 pm

I believe the one and only time I have hosted a dinner party I was in grade 12, and me and my friends had a dinner party at my house. I think on the menu was a honey mustard chicken breast (with a carrot/veggie phyllo option for my veggie friends), spinach rice, fresh baked cloverleaf rolls, and a spectacular chocolate raspberry cake that I can’t even begin to describe. I’m sure there was some sort of veggie as well, but I just can’t remember (it was a long time ago!) Everyone had to get dressed up, it was New Years Day. We used my mom’s china and crystal stem ware, it was all very fancy pants!

47 eatingbender February 23, 2009 at 12:03 am

I loved reading about everyone’s dinner parties or dream dinner parties :) I wish we could have a gigantic foodie bash. Sigh…maybe someday πŸ˜‰

48 Meghann February 23, 2009 at 8:24 am

I LOVE having people over an dcooking for them. I used to have my sister over once a week in college for get togethers and my roommates and I would hosts our ‘College Thanksgiving’ and Easter events each year. Cooking for others is my favorite, especially since I am usually just cooking for me.

49 Danielle February 23, 2009 at 10:10 am

I love having dinner parties, this year we did a Turkeyless Thanksgiving for 10 friends, it was a big hit.
We had one last year too and it was also a ton of fun. Stressful at times cooking for that many people but fun none the less.
Your dinner looks great, that chicken just looks so yummy!

50 alessa February 23, 2009 at 5:19 pm

your dinner party was so successful! i have never had one of my own, but your post really made me want to! i do have girls nights every once in awhile with lots of wine and appetizers, but a dinner party would be a nice way to change it up!

51 Lesley February 23, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Looks like your dinner party was amazing!! : ) Great looking food, and such cute table decorating!

I have never thrown a dinner party and unfortunately I think I’d be scared to … I don’t seem to have that much confidence in myself to be a good hostess, lol, but I’d like to!

52 Trish February 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm

OMG!!!! OMG!!!! The cookies!!! They looks so insanely yummy!

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