You know what I love? Going to dinner parties. You know what I hate? Hosting dinner parties. I know some people thrive on the planning of it all and they get a thrill making sure everything is just right. But me? I get so stressed out that I literally consider canceling until the day of. Recently though, a good friend of mine begged me to be a part of a dinner club where each month a different couple hosts the others. I hemmed and hawed over the decision until I finally decided that I needed to branch out of my comfort zone and try a few new things. But, what in the world was I going to cook for my month!?
Did you know that HelloFresh isn’t just for quick, easy meals? No…neither did I. Not until I started researching recipes and stumbled across this page on their site, gourmet recipes you can make at home. They made it sound so darn easy and it gave me a great idea. I decided to order a few of their premium meals to see which one my husband and I liked the most and then just double the recipe for the dinner party. Not only would it give me a practice run so I could work out all the kinks, but I figured it would also seriously help my stress levels the day of the actual party.
I ended up ordering the Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with chive butter, asparagus, and mashed sweet potatoes, Squash Agnolotti with Bacon and Scallops in a Brown Butter-Sage Cream Sauce, and the Cherry Balsamic Bavette Steak with herbed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts. I was pretty sure I wanted to serve a steak, but since it was starting to feel like fall around here, I thought the squash agnolotti might also be a fun option (I tend to go overboard with festive themes once the weather cools down!).
Heads up: the beef tenderloin and the squash agnolotti options are not currently being offered at the moment, but the Cherry Balsamic Bavette Steak is actually on tap for the October 1st-7th menu!
My husband and I love steak. It’s one of our favorite meals and one of our go-to dishes for special occasions. It’s quick, easy to cook, and we never leave the table still hungry. My absolute favorite cut of steak is a ribeye, but this beef tenderloin recipe sounded pretty delicious and the mashed sweet potatoes would be a great way to bring the season into the dish. We also usually don’t season our steaks when cooking them at home (we are purists!), but the peppercorn-crusted coating sounded pretty good and might be just what we were looking for to spice up a dinner party dish.
The meal itself was fairly easy to make despite the recipe labeling it as a medium difficulty level. I think when it comes to steak the hardest part is getting the temperature right. Mess that up, and you really mess up the entire meal. I prefer my steak slightly less than medium-rare while my husband likes his at a full medium-rare, so we are constantly using the meat thermometers to try and get it right. Other than trying to time that correctly, the rest of the meal was really easy! I actually substituted the almonds (can’t stand them) for walnuts and added those to the recipe instead. It was great and I felt also added more of an autumn flair to the meal.
I’m not sure there is anything more decadent than biting into a perfectly cooked, buttery scallop. Add to that, crispy bacon and squash (two of my other favorite ingredients) and this HelloFresh meal had me drooling from the moment I read the title. The agnolotti is basically ravioli in a different shape and it does come pre-made, so this was my only hesitation for serving it at a dinner club. But, as it was labeled quick and easy I didn’t want to disregard it as an option. Plus, it left lots of room for us to make a couple yummy sides, so we decided to give it a go!
As with the steak, you have to watch this one closely and cook it perfectly. Both the agnolotti and scallops can get overcooked extremely quickly and become tough and chewy. And since this dish cooks fast, you will want to be watching it the entire time. The meal itself was delicious, and the combination of creamy sauce, bacon, and squash really makes this serious winter comfort food.
Ok I know we already had chosen a beef dish to try, but as I mentioned before, steak is one of our favorite meals. Plus, since we are really comfortable cooking it, we found ourselves leaning towards this bavette steak dish. In case you are wondering what bavette steak is, it’s basically just flank steak. It’s going to be a more affordable option than other cuts, but flank steak (or any similar cut of beef) is still full of amazing flavor. We cook it up quite often when we are in the mood for a steak, but don’t want to drop a bunch of cash for a casual dinner at home. I was drawn to this one because I’m kind of a sucker for any kind of balsamic reduction and the cherry flavor made it sound divine.
Just as I suspected, the bavette steak was incredibly flavorful and the cherries really added a great sweet, but tart flavor on top. I wouldn’t have thought to add this to a steak, but the flavors seemed made for each other! The brussel sprouts are great roasted and we really enjoyed them with the extra cherry reduction sauce on top as well. It really amped up their flavor!
All three of the HelloFresh premium meals were delicious. But one of them definitely stood out for us and was ultimately the one we chose for our dinner club night: The Squash Agnolotti with Bacon and Scallops! Honestly, I was really surprised this was the one we chose considering how much we adore steak, but it was the perfect thing to serve for an Autumn dinner club and get everyone in the festive mood and ready for the incoming cooler temperatures.
And I am pleased to report that not only was our meal a total hit, but not a single person knew it came from HelloFresh rather than a fancy food blog recipe site. In fact, almost everyone thought that we made the agnolotti from scratch and they loved the scallops in cream sauce. We had multiple comments mentioning how this was so far one of their favorite dinner club meals…which not only took the rest of the stress off, but also got me excited for the next one we will be hosting!