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Planning a Friday Night Dinner Party

Having a dinner party on a Friday night, after working all week, having kids, and sticking to a training schedule, takes a bit of planning and lots of organization. First off, I am all about getting together with friends on Friday nights – but it’s usually order a pizza, toss a salad, and open a bottle of wine.  Hang out, chill, and let the kids play.  But a “dinner party” is different.
Tonight is Nicole’s 20th birthday, and we are celebrating with a birthday dinner.  Olivia and Nicole both just got home from college – that is reason enough to celebrate! But this is just a bit more.  Ten people for dinner on a Friday night!
Nicole’s birthday menu of choice is salmon burgers (a family favorite), antipasto salad, and Reese’s peanut butter cheesecake for dessert. My days are really full, so to make this happen I chunk out what needs to be done into small steps.  I do a little each day.
My week looks something like this: Monday plan the menu, Tuesday make the shopping list, Wednesday grocery shop and set table, Thursday prep the food, and Friday cook, relax, and enjoy. My style of entertaining has always been to do as much ahead as possible.


The table is set ahead of time.  Yes, we have place cards 🙂 That’s not the norm for a family dinner, but this dinner is a little different.  Nicole’s father and his wife will be joining us as well as Nicole’s new boyfriend, who has yet to meet Nicole’s dad. My former mother-in-law is also celebrating with us. Nikki and I thought a little bit of preplanning the seating arrangement would be helpful. 🙂


The salmon patties are put together, wrapped, and in the refrigerator one day ahead.


The cheesecake is made on Thursday as well, and I am crossing my fingers that it turned out. An easy alternative would be ice cream with fruit toppings!


All that needs to be done Friday earning is t0 is set out some appetizers, slice the rolls, cook the salmon patties, toss a salad, and pour the wine.

Happy 20th Birthday, Nicole!

You are no longer a teenager.

Below is the recipe for the cheesecake.  The inside is filled with chunks of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Ruggles Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Here is the Oreo crust and then the crust filled with the, “oh this is so light and delicious” filling. Notice the bits of peanut butter cup poking out.
INGREDIENTS: For the Crust
4 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies
1 cup chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 cup butter, melted
For the Filling
2 lbs cream cheese, softened
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural-style)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, broken into small pieces
For the Topping
3 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS.To Make the Crust:

  • Combine crushed Oreo cookies and peanuts that have been ground in a food processor with the melted butter.
  • Pat the crust mixture onto bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

To Make the Filling:

  • Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth.
    • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    • Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth.
    • Stir in vanilla, then fold in peanut butter cup pieces with a rubber spatula.
    • Pour filling into prepared crust.
    • Place springform pan into a larger baking pan.
    • Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan.
    • Bake at 275°F 1-1/2 hours, or until firm and lightly browned.

For the Topping:

  • Combine the sour cream and sugar and spread on the cheesecake.
  • Return the cake to the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour.
  • You may run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan somewhat.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


Ruggles Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Recipe from  You can find lots of great pictures from other home cooks at this site.

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