Casual Gathering

**This is a sponsored post in collaboration with my Stouffer’s partnership. All opinions are my own.

There is nothing like casual gatherings. I love the ease in which they come together and they are all about the people first then the food comes in to enhance the experience.

Casual Dining | Lasagna | via Bakers Royale

Let’s talk lasagna. I love it, as does my little guy Cole. But I don’t always have time to go through the whole process. It’s a lot to do and most nights when I want to cook for family and friends, I don’t want to be sweaty from all kinds of prep.

Sweaty means shower, which means hair needs to be redone—which more than anything—means time suckers I don’t have.

Stouffers Fresh Ingredients via Bakers Royale

For those nights, I go for a semi-homemade menu. Whaaaat? Before you go wrinkling your nose on me and gasping, truth is I don’t have time to cook every night and semi-homemade is not the frightening horror show from the ‘80s anymore.

Casual Dining | Lasagna via Bakers Royale

Nope. The spread you see above, the lasagna – it’s Stouffer’s. I proudly serve it because it’s freshly made and simply frozen. The pasta is freshly made, the meat sauce is rich in flavor, the cheese is fresh mozzarella and aged Parmesan. You’ll also be glad to know it contains no artificial colors or flavors and no high fructose corn syrup.

Any other doubts? I didn’t think so.
Casual Dining | Prep Panel | Bakers Royale

As for the rest of the meal, I kept it simple as well with a quick mache rosette and nectarine salad, and some chopped fruit. It’s summer so I stuck with fresh and light sides. And my son will tell you that bread is a must, because how else are you supposed to sop up all that meaty sauce? Never mind that it looks like a caveman tore the bread apart—my “tweenager” decided tearing up hand size pieces was much more expedient than wielding a bread knife. Okay.

Casual Dining | Lasagna - Bakers Royale

Casual Dining - Bakers Royale

But that’s what casual dinners are all about – the experience. I try to keep fuss to a minimum, especially when I have Cole in the kitchen. Although sometimes we end up burning stuff or taking twice as long, since we are goofing off and not paying attention to timers or recipes.

Casual Dining | Lasagna | Bakers Royale

Not this time though. This menu is casual dinner with ease. The only thing we had to focus on was remembering to set a timer, since Stouffer’s had us handled. The salads, well phew – we didn’t burn them. Here’s to more fun kitchen and gathering time and less busy time spent prepping and assembling! Who is with me on that one?

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  1. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonVivian | stayaliveandcooking says

    Your post made me want to throw together a casual gathering. I want to invite my friends! And I love lasagna, I wonder if it’s as delicious as home made.

  2. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonMary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says

    I’m totally in for easy semi-homemade dinners Naomi and Stouffer’s has always been a favorite! My son Casey would live on their mac n’ cheese if I let him!

  3. Avatar for Naomi Robinson says

    Naomi this is absolutely stunning. I’m with you on easy dinners. Some days I like a little help, and semi-homemade is the way to go. I love how you presented this and whole meal looks fabulous. I could look at your photos all day long.

  4. Avatar for Naomi RobinsonSuzy | The Mediterranean Dish says

    So often we need a quick semi-homemade type meal, and this just looks and sounds perfect!