Ultimate Host Competition Entry – Challenge #1

Spaghetti Dinner

I think I had way too much fun with this. Challenge #1 for the Sterling Vineyard’s Ultimate Host Competition was to plan a party for 6 for $75 or under. I drew my inspiration from the 1930’s spaghetti parties people held during the Great Depression. If people could find the money and energy to entertain back then, certainly a party for $75 now is doable! I came in right around $50, and that included a bottle of wine from Sterling.

Spaghetti Dinner

I designed the centerpiece to showcase a WIDE variety of pastas. Giddiness practically overtook me in the pasta aisle. There are so many pretty types of pasta available now. It’s funny to use the word pretty to describe pasta. I mean, how often does one actually LOOK at dry noodles? But match up a couple in a centerpiece and aren’t they awesome? Different shapes, sizes, colors, and yet they are all essentially the exact same food.

Spaghetti Dinner

I did a few DIY projects for this party as well. The place mats are layers or burlap and craft paper sewn together. I cut a slit in the craft paper so I could slide a napkin and silverware inside. Then I made initials from cooked noodles for each place setting.

Spaghetti Dinner

I had some leftover cooked noodles, so the votive candles got wrapped in spaghetti, too!

Spaghetti Dinner

The menu was pretty standard for a spaghetti dinner: salad, pasta, bread, dessert. I wanted the salad to be a little retro in keeping with the dinner theme, so I combined grape tomatoes and big black olives over lettuce leaves with a few shakes of vinegar and oil.

Spaghetti Dinner

For dessert, I made an easy yellow cake (because we all know I am NOT an accomplished baker) and layered it with my blueberry spice jam and some slightly sweetened whipped cream. Even though I am not a sweets person, the cake and jam combo was stupid good.

Spaghetti Dinner

The main dish was pasta al bianco. It’s been a standby recipe in my kitchen for a few years. I’ll post the full recipe for it tomorrow, so make sure to check back!

Spaghetti Dinner

I submitted the entry through the Sterling Vineyard’s Facebook page, so fingers crossed! Even if I don’t win, it was a super fun excuse to step up my game on a normal Sunday evening dinner and I had a great time participating.


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