Company is Coming – Tried and True or a New recipe??? Maybe just a simple SALAD


A fun time IS INDEED being had by all, and why not… Jackie’s favorite Aunt, her cousin, his wife and a teenage daughter (teenagers, god help me) have come to our little condo in paradise and we are having the time of our lives!

!Dave here from MY YEAR ON THE GRILLAs always, I am so surprised when I CAN COOK THAT!

But today, I want to be a little less surprised.  Meaning… When company is coming and you want to make a good “foodie” impression on them… Do you try an exciting new sounding recipe, create something from the top of your head, do your best tried and true recipe…  Or work a new interpretation of a tried and true…

Somehow, I have decided that making the same thing in exactly the same way is not very appealing to me.  So, I decided to make one of my better recipes, but add a bit of island flair…

Last week on my “normal” site, I posted a recipe for Terriyaki Bowtie Spinach Salad.  I had gotten the recipe from a fellow blogger, Melanie from THE SISTER’s CAFE.  I did a very unusual thing for me…  I followed Melanie’s recipe as she wrote it.  If you go to her post (click HERE), Melanie listed a few additional ingredients as optional.  But really, if you have a plate of spinach, do you need to add parsley?  Adding the oranges and water chestnuts was already inching the price up.  So, unless you have them on hand, do as I did and leave out the craizins and parsley, … Here is what she wrote…

Spinach Salad With Teriyaki Bowties 
submitted by Melanie

16 oz. Bowtie pasta, cooked and cooled
1 – 2 bags of fresh baby Spinach
2 small cans Mandarin Oranges
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 can Water Chestnuts
1 bunch Green Onions, chopped
1 cup Honey Roasted Peanuts or Cashews
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds, toasted
2 cups torn cooked Chicken

1 cup Vegetable Oil
2/3 cup White Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
2/3 C. Teriyaki Sauce
5 Tbs. Sugar

Cook bowtie pasta according to directions, drain and cool while whisking the dressing together in a large bowl. Marinate cooked bowtie pasta in the dressing for 1 hour or longer in the fridge. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl and pour the teriyaki sauce and pasta over the salad, toss together and serve. If it’s just a few of you, make individual salad servings; keeping the salad and bowtie sauce separate for the rest of the week (no one likes a soggy salad).

This sauce is terrific!  Beyond terrific in fact.  The whole thing blended so well.  It was a perfect addition to my new series on what to do with those rotisserie chickens that are so cheap here in paradise… a raw whole chicken is $10… A precooked rotisserie chicken is $6… If I can get a good explanation for the price difference, I would be very interested…  But in the mean time, I am buying one a week, and posting a series of recipes on what to do with the leftovers… but I digress…

They are company, so I wanted to show off a little.  Instead of the rotisserie chicken, I made an island inspired Blackened Chicken.  I recently covered a how to post on my normal” site for blackening.  I am sure 😉 that you all read that piece (click HERE if you did not).  So I don’t need to remind you that blackening is not BURNT , and it is NOT a spice, it is a cooking process with butter and spices charred to the outside of the meat, and then the meat is baked to a proper internal temperature.  In this case, I melted 1 tablespoon of butter for each breast (in this case, 4), added 1 TBS of Cajun spices per breast (4). Got that very hot (just barely starting to smoke).  Put the breast into the butter/spice mixture for 2 minutes.  Listened to it sizzle and watched it smoke just a little.  Turned the breast over and charred the spices and infused the butter into the breast for another 2 minutes.  Then I popped em in a 350 degree pre-heated oven until my remote temperature prob read 165 degrees (about 30 minutes).

I have already bragged about this salad once on my own site.  The addition of the blackened chicken really set this apart as something special.

The sweet terriyake sauce was excellent the first time I made the recipe.  Adding a Cajun spiced blackened chicken to the sweet made for an even better tasting combination… Even the teenage daughter (teenagers, god help me) had a second helping…

Please, if you should try this… Goof around as much as you like with the salad… Peppers, mushrooms, pine nuts, scotch… go ahead, add what ever you like… Why not.  BUT, the dressing for this is the real star of the recipe.  Give this dressing a try as listed.  you will not be sorry!

So,  I return to the question I originally asked…

Company is coming…

Something new
Something tried and true
Something tried and true, but with a new twist???

I need to know, More guests are coming to visit.  There is a lot of pressure to cook for someone’s vacation.

But also, who knows when the ladies (and Chris) will accept my invitation for the first annual OUR KRAZY KITCHEN summit meeting… Cooking for that group of culinary stars… Now that would be pressure!

For me it depends. So many people visiting expect BBQ from me, so “tried and true” it is.

But if it is someone who has visited before or don’t have the Q expectations, then I feel free to play around with the menu and do.


It looks wonderful Dave! I usually stick with tried and true recipes for company just so I know for sure it will be great.

I hope someday our krazy krew can show up at your door. We can all take turns cooking dinner – that means we have to stay for seven days 😉


I love what you did with the salad. With the chicken, pasta and spinach you have dinner in one dish and less dishes to wash while the guests are there. I all for trying new things for guests, unless it involves a completely new technique that may fail.

Sarah @ Mum In Bloom

I try to invite the “girls” over once every couple weeks when I’m trying new recipes. It’s fun to share the experience 🙂

That salad looks so so good and I’m gonna have to try it!


I am always trying new recipes, guests or no guests! Actually if guests are coming, I’m more inclined to try something more complicated…I’m also a big fan of recipes I can make ahead of time.

Don’t create pressure for yourself–they’re just guests, family or friends–cook what you feel like cooking and it will be great!

(and we’d all pitch in for the summit meeting! how many cooks in the kitchen would that be?)


I am always awed by someone who makes something new for guests! I have a handful of stock recipes that I always fall back on. I’m kinda wimpy I guess!