February First Friday (Chi-Town Style)

February First Friday (Chi-Town Style)

My mother-in-law, who is an incredible cook, hosts a family dinner the first Friday of every month. She calls it, fittingly, “First Friday,” and it is a very casual, come-as-you-are get together that invariably involves grandchildren galloping throughout the house, delicious food and wine (and also scotch, a family tradition), and a chance to catch up with warm family conversation.

Because my mother-in-law lives out of town, my husband and I miss most First Fridays. We are always jealous of our family getting together without us, but being away has also inspired us: this past New Year we made a goal that, whenever we are both home (and not working!) in Chicago on the first Friday of the month, we will host our own First Friday.

Since the first Friday of this past January we were heading to Panama (see those posts here, here, and here), this past Friday, February 1, was our first, First Friday. And while I hate to brag, I’d say it was pretty damn amazing. Like at my mother-in-law’s, our First Friday was completely casual and potluck style, which made having a dinner party post-work feasible much easier. It was relaxed, fun, and we had great food, and, most importantly, great people; in my mind, the perfect end to the week. We ended up with quite the spread, including some healthy (and splurge-worthy!) items:


Cheese and crackers

The hubby’s homemade guacamole with jicama (great, healthy alternative for dipping) and chips

Sausage and cheese balls with BBQ sauce

Homemade Guacamole

Homemade Guacamole


Broccoli slaw salad tossed with dried cranberries, walnuts, and fig balsamic vinaigrette

Spinach stuffed mushrooms

Roasted cauliflower

Healthy turkey meatloaf

Red sauce and béchamel meat lasagna


Fox + Obel cheesecake

Mini cupcakes and other assorted deliciousness from Magnolia Bakery


Drink of the Night


Stay tuned for the healthy turkey meatloaf recipe, which, despite a comedy of errors in its prep, somehow ended up being a real crowd pleaser. In the meantime, I’m already looking forward to our next First Friday! Any menu suggestions?

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