Host Your Employee Cookout or BBQ at the Franciscan

Employee Cookouts are the antithesis to the company holiday party. In lieu of formal attire, satin, ties and white tablecloth dinners, barbeques invite ballpark ready clothes, cotton dresses, shorts and paper napkins. Instead of having yours at a local park, why not let The Franciscan host? You won’t have permits to obtain, insurance to secure, food to bring in, or a mess to clean up. Choose from Beef Brisket, Carolina Pork, Chicken Breasts, Pork Ribs and sides like Baked Beans, Tossed Salad, Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Macaroni Salad, Cole Slaw, Potato Chips, and Seasoned Corn. We have non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages to suit all of your guests. If the Colorado weather becomes unpredictable, you won’t have to worry about the party ending prematurely, our indoor rooms can easily accommodate guests and keep the festivities going. There are a few reasons you should consider having a barbeque for your employees.

  • They’re family friendly. Many work events are centered around happy hours and conferences. Employees have to choose between work travel and getting home late to be part of the “team.” Barbeques are laid back affairs where, in the words of Chuck E Cheese, “a kid can be a kid!”
  • Appeal to a wide variety of employees. Everyone likes to eat and have a good time. Employee events can reach beyond a bar or bowling alley. Who doesn’t like a cookout?
  • Show your appreciation and boost morale. Spending time and effort planning a party to show you care is not mandatory and employees get that. Taking the extra step shows you value their work and want them to unwind having an enjoyable time.

While the food is a main focus, your barbeque should consider adding in the following activities:

  • Bocce Ball
  • Croquet
  • Cornhole
  • Horseshoes
  • Kickball
  • Softball
  • Washers

For those more athletically inclined, we’d love to see more potato sack and wheelbarrow races. If you go with a theme consider a beach party, wild-west, or luau. We love hosting events, big or small, and would relish (YUM) the chance to cater and host your company barbeque. Give us a call at (303) 790-0477 to start the planning today.

What to do with all your tomatoes?

One of the best things you can do for your health is to eat a diet rich in all of the colors of the rainbow. We hate to tell you but Trix and Fruity Pebbles don’t count. One of our favorite foods is not only a fruit AND a vegetable, but also comes in yellow, orange, green and red! Hopefully your garden, or your neighbor’s garden, has yielded a bumper crop of hearty, healthy tomatoes. If you need a little inspiration, here are 2 ways to enjoy their lycopene laden lusciousness!

1) Bake them and stuff with eggs and cheese. Potatoes and eggs are mundane, snooze city, overdone and seldom done that well – while tomatoes stuffed with eggs are a tangy combination to try. If you ditch the cheese, they’re practically a health food.

Steps:

1) Clean the tomatoes and cut off the top. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides.

2) Heat a teaspoon of oil and cook onion and ginger garlic paste. Once they are done, switch off the flame and add the dry parsley. Finally add salt and mix well. Set aside to cool.

3) Line a cookie sheet with foil to bake the tomato. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.

4) Now take the cooled onion mixture and fill all the tomatoes half way. Then crack open the eggs and add onto the tomato bowl over the onion mixture.

5) Line tomatoes on the foil and top it off with cheese.

6) Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the skin of the tomato begins to wrinkle. Full recipe here

2) Make gazpacho with no exact measurements

Steps: 1) Start with 6 cups of tomatoes, a cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion, couple cloves of garlic.

2) Roughly chop everything up, add salt, let everything meld for 30 minutes.

3) Puree everything in a blender or food processor.

4) Add in red wine vinegar and olive oil.

5) Enjoy! Full recipe here Now, instead of spaghetti sauce and salsa, you’ve got some creative uses for your tomatoes. Both of these recipes work well when you are working with larger tomatoes. If yours are cherry sized they work well in shish kabobs and on flatbread pizzas, just to name a few.

Cooking With Spring Vegetables!

In case you’ve been ignoring the news lately, there’s been a lot of talk about pizzas and weddings (or any event for that matter!) If you scoff at the idea of having pizza at your nuptials or special event, perhaps this recipe will change preconceptions.

When you combine spring vegetables, pizza dough and cheese something remarkably delicious can happen. This is the kind of pizza that you’d be proud to serve at your spring or summer wedding, perhaps as an appetizer or during cocktail hour. But be warned, your guests might tear up the next time they try to eat pizza when it becomes all too clear that your pizza has ruined them and now no ordinary pizza will do.

Cheese: Because it’s a wedding or special occasion, opt for a fancier selection than mozzarella. The chef behind the recipe below used a Robiola Bechamel. Robiola is an Italian blend with goat, cow and sheep’s milk. It has a tangy taste to complement the vegetables and salty meats that top this appetizing, yet chaotic, culinary feat. If you cannot locate Robiola cheese, you can always substitute Fontina cheese.

Veggies: On top of the cheese, sprinkle asparagus tips and fava beans and mix in a pesto puree. Rather than quail eggs, use farm fresh chicken eggs. Add a pop of color to the pizza with yellow tomatoes and red peppers.

Protein: Coppa is hard to locate in stores so sub it for prosciutto or soppressata. Either meat will taste spectacular without losing the chewy, salty, “why haven’t I always put this on pizza” effect that we’re aiming for.

Tip: If you want to get out of the hot kitchen and enjoy the weather, this pizza tastes just as good prepared on the grill as it would baked in an oven.

That Personal Touch Catering has the expertise and creativity to create a custom menu for your event. From pizza to pan seared shrimp, let us cater your wedding, anniversary, milestone birthday and together we can make delicious memories. Get the spring pizza recipe here: http://www.zencancook.com/2012/04/spring-pizza/

Keep it Fresh with these Spring Cooking Ideas (Plus a Bonus Recipe!)

Spring has sprung and thus our cooking styles have changed. Say goodbye to the thick, hearty meals we enjoy in the fall and winter seasons and say hello to the lighter, fresher fare of spring! So what makes a dish more “springy?” Typically spring cooking is lighter and very colorful! Here are some tips to help you add a springtime flare to your cooking at home!

  • Keep it Fresh – Lots of fruits and vegetables will be coming into season during the coming months so take advantage!
  • Get Colorful – The beautiful colors of spring can easily transfer into your cooking. Add fruits and vegetables with bright colors to your dishes to give them a springtime feel.
  • Stay Light – After months of hearty winter meals, now its time to get light (and I’m not just talking about losing our winter insulation!) Use lighter oils and glazes instead of thick sauces. Try using a protein like fish instead of London broil.
  • Keep your Cool – Now that its warm outside we can start making cooler meals (temperature wise that is!) Try making pasta or couscous salads and mix in fruits for a fresh springtime taste.
  • Lots of Veges – Start your meal off with a fresh salad and accompany your main course with lots of roasted vegetables!

Spring is all about growth and rebirth. Spring clean your diet and start cooking with a fresh new perspective! To give you a head start try out this recipe we would like to share with you. Not interested in cooking anything? Have your next office meeting or event catered by That Personal Touch Catering! Check out some of our spring specials here.

 Roasted Asparagus Salad

  • 1/4 pound of fresh asparagus
  • 2 Red bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • ¼ cup of sliced grape tomatoes
  • 2 cups of spring mix salad greens

Slice the red peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and the membrane. Place peppers skin up on a sheet pan and place under a hot broiler until the skin blackens and blisters.  Cool peppers in a plastic bag for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove skin and dice peppers. Place lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and basil in a small bowl and wisk to combine.  Add diced peppers and pine nuts, season with salt and pepper. Wash and rinse asparagus, carefully remove the woody end (hold each spear at both ends and bend gently-the woody end will snap off at its natural breaking point.)  Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes, or until just tender.  Immediately drain asparagus and place in a bowl of ice water to cool.  Drain again, and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange spring mix on plate, garnish with sliced grape tomatoes.  Place asparagus over spring mix and gently spoon the dressing over the top of the asparagus and serve. Garnish options: sliced black olives or lemon wedges for squeezing.

Holiday Catering with That Personal Touch!

We would like to wish you and your family a very Happy Holidays and a prosperous new year!

This is our 32nd year catering holiday parties in the Denver and Centennial area. It is so special to be a part of all the celebrations during this very festive season. We cater all types of holiday parties including Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Years! Some we host at our event center while others we travel to and deliver our hot meals directly to happy partygoers!

If you are interested in having your event catered this holiday season, please contact us. 2013 was a great year for us here at That Personal Touch Catering at The Franciscan Event Center. We had the pleasure of hosting many wonderful events including a Denver Chamber Business After Hours and many beautiful weddings. (Click the links to see pictures from each event!) We updated our menu to add some new and delicious items and created this new website to showcase our beautiful facilities. We are very excited to see what 2014 brings! If you are planning on having any sort of event in the upcoming year, please consider using us for the venue and/or the catering. We have an amazing staff that is excited to help you create a memorable event whether it is a wedding, a corporate function or anything else! Please contact us with any questions you may have regarding catering or events. We are looking forward to seeing you in 2014!

Mac & Cheese Side Dishes

July is for BBQs and although burgers and dogs are tasty, the side dishes are really where its at. I’m talking about delicious hand made cole slaw, hearty potato salad, fresh fruits, and more. The side dishes are what saves your BBQ when dad is charing hot dogs and serving up hockey pucks on cold buns. The side dishes are where the creativity happens. We’d like to share one of our favorite summertime side dishes that will actually give you twice the goodness. This mac and cheese recipe is as delicious on day one as are the mac and cheese bites you will make on day two. Read on to learn more! Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta, hearty pasta works best such as: Cavatappi (corkscrew), Conchiglie (shells) or, Farfalle (bow ties).
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar,
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack, or Colby (smoked Gouda adds a great twist).
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups seasoned bread crumbs (panko bread crumbs are a great touch).
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Instructions:

  1. Bring about 1 gallon of water to a boil over high heat in. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, or about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Drain and let rest.
  3. In a medium saucepan, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see a bit of steam rising from the milk, whisk in the milk/flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to low and begin mixing the cheese into the milk a ½ cup at a time. Stir in the salt, white pepper, and hot sauce. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.
  5. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly and add the second half of the sauce and any additional items like crispy bacon pieces.

Salivating yet? Just wait a second, there’s more. Now you can serve this tasty homemade mac & cheese at your BBQ or wait a day and make… Fried Mac and Cheese Bites:

  1. Fried Mac and CheeseMold the cold mac and cheese into desired-sized (keep in-mind the size of your cooking vessel) balls and place them onto a waxed paper or another non-stick surface and freeze overnight.
  2. Beat the eggs and 2 tablespoons milk together to form an egg wash and pour it into a shallow bowl. Place the bread crumbs into another shallow bowl. Remove the mac and cheese balls from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash then into the bread crumbs. Put the balls back into the freezer until you are ready to fry.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or large cast skillet to 350 degrees F. Fry the mac and cheese balls until they are golden brown and center is hot ( at least 140 f), or about 5-6 minutes. Drain on rack for 5 minutes and serve hot with your favorite sauce: Cheese, Marinara, Alfredo, or Hot Sauce to name a few.

This side dish is sure to impress your guests and satisfy their taste buds! Now go out there and  host the best BBQ of the summer! Need some help or would you just prefer to have someone else do it? Contact That Personal Touch Catering in Centennial Colorado about providing the food for your next event.

September Garden Veggie Deep Dish Pizza Party

It may be September but there are lots of delicious vegetables that are still in season like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, and onions. You know what those vegetables sound like? Pizza toppings! When it comes to pizza, everyone’s favorite is usually thin crust. The light, crispy thin crust, sweet tomato sauce, and thin layer of cheese is just so delicious. But what about deep dish? This underrated style of pizza seems to be popular nowhere but Chicago. Until now… Check out this fantastic deep dish pizza you can make at home in your cast iron skillet using all those delicious seasonal vegetables. What you need:

  • 1 Pizza Dough – You can buy premade dough at most any grocery store. If you want the challenge of making your own dough, check out this dough recipe.
  • ½ Cup of Pizza Sauce – Pizza sauce can be anything from standard marinara to one of my favorites, arrabbiata (spicy!) Do you like white sauce or oil? Experiment and let us know how it goes!
  • At least a Cup of Veggies – Use up those tasty in season veggies like eggplant, fresh tomatoes, and a green pepper.
  • At least a ½ Cup of Mozzarella Cheese – You can cheese this to the max if you want (I usually do) otherwise, use at least ½ a cup.
  • Olive Oil – For coating the skillet (You’ll also need a cast iron skillet!)
  • You can also add seasonings, Parmesan cheese, basil or whatever you fancy!

Istruzione:

  • Cook the veggies however you’d like. I’d suggest roasted them in the oven (since you’ll have to use that anyway) or try grilling them to give them that smoky charred flavor.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Use olive oil to coat your cast iron skillet. You can also rub a garlic clove around to add some more flavor.
  • Add your dough to the skillet and push it up the sides about 1-1.5 inches.
  • Sprinkle in your cheese. (Oh yeah, cheese first with deep dish!) Then add your veggies and top with the sauce. You can put some cheese on top and add seasonings and/or Parmesan.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes. (Adjusting for altitude it may take 30+minutes) Basically you are looking for a golden brown crust and bubbly cheese and sauce.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then enjoy. Deep dish is hearty so don’t expect to eat it all, even though you’ll want to. Don’t feel like cooking? That Personal Touch Catering will cater your events at home or work. Check out our catering menu here.

Light and Lively Dishes for Your Spring Wedding or Event

Spring is here and we are ready for it in the kitchen. We have assembled some delicious ideas for your Springtime wedding, party or event! Let us know what you think and if you’d prefer to have someone else do the cooking, give us a call! Check out some ‘Springy’ meals on our main menu here or see our current specials here.

Now, let’s begin with Appetizers! Our pick: Cucumber Tomato Bites Far from tame, these tasty mouthfuls combine cream cheese, mayo, and ranch seasoning to create a pillow of ectasy between the sublime cucumber and the cherry tomato topping.Hint: Don’t spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the cucumber. Use a pastry bag. Weddings are the time to take the presentation up a notch. Click here for the recipe: http://www.karaspartyideas.com/2013/11/cucumber-tomato-bites-appetizer-recipe.html

Next up, Salads Our pick: Spring Salad with Orange Vinaigrette This is unique and filling, yet won’t slow your guests down on the dance floor. Take the zest and juice from in season oranges, add a nutty Jarlsberg cheese, crunchy bacon pieces and hardy walnuts for texture. Even your relatives who only consider potato salad a “real salad” will be clamoring for seconds. Get the full recipe and instructions here: http://dineanddish.net/2012/01/the-runners-diet-recipe-spring-salad-with-orange-vinaigrette/

We’re almost there: Sides Our pick: Greek Orzo Salad Orzo, or by another more exotic name, Risoni, is like a blank canvas before Van Gogh got his hands on it. It is a mere brushstrokes, or in our case, ingredients from becoming spectacular. The cooled orzo is punctuated by crunch red pepper, red onion, and cucumber but softened by spinach and artichoke hearts. Uncover the recipe here: https://veganadventures.squarespace.com/blog/greek-orzo-salad

Where’s the beef? Mains Our pick: Garlic Lime Chicken with a Mango SalsaChicken is a mainstay because of its versatility and people pleasing potential. Why mess with perfection? Your guests will love the colors and kick of the lime and mangoes.

Take it from a bride: Use chicken thighs. They don’t dry out as easy as chicken breasts. Another tip? Add grilled pineapple and keep an assortment of hot sauces on your guests table. Nothing breaks the ice like a challenge to the rest of the table to see who can stand the heat. Full recipe here: http://www.food.com/recipe/garlic-lime-grilled-chicken-with-mango-salsa-161381Fresh, springtime, light and refreshing, no matter the adjective used, these springy menu options are packed with veggies, fruits and plenty of flavor.

Host a party after all the Hubbub of the Holidays

Are you already tired of hearing “Have you gotten your holiday shopping done yet?” and “Where will you be traveling to?” this holiday season? Do you agree there’s no glory in being busy all the time? We understand. That’s why we’re proposing a very bold solution to the problem of having too many events in December: move them to January. Who says you have to jam pack your December to-do list? Why not have your holiday or Christmas gathering in January at the Franciscan Event Center? On a related note, here 3 positives about the first month of the year:

  • The roads are less crowded and in a bustling city like Denver, that is ALWAYS a good thing.
  • There are 2 holidays to celebrate: New Year’s and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
  • The first week of January is a great time to find low prices on flights.

Another bonus: If you are hosting a party for your staff and clients, many of them will be in town and able to attend. We’ve been hosting all kinds of gatherings for thirty years at our Centennial location. With on-site culinary offerings from that Personal Touch Catering and the adept planning and follow through skills of Sonja Frank, we’ll make sure January’s parties will be talked about for 2016.  Unlike a downtown restaurant or bar, parking is easy breezy when you arrive at the Franciscan Event Center. Did you already plan your Holiday party or has it taken place already? Consider a January planning or strategy session for your company. Why not discuss your vision for 2016 and make plans on how to achieve it when people can focus on the task at hand and aren’t distracted by December’s duties? Call us at (303) 790-0477 to discuss your January event today!