Today is my sister and her husband’s first wedding anniversary! They spent the weekend in Washington DC celebrating. While they were gone, their cat Sebastian suggested that I should cook them a surprise anniversary dinner so we could all hang out together when they got home.
Sebastian likes boxes. He also like surprise dinners. My sister and her hubby’s flight landed around 5:30 PM, so the timing was perfect for some stealth dining preparation. One tiny bummer was that the happy couple chose to get married at the end of the month, so I only had $15 to put together a fabulous meal. Here’s how I did it:
First, I chilled some free champagne. (I had a bottle left over from my So You Think You Can Dance 100th episode celebration, and since I paid for it last month, it counts as free this month.)
Then I made some Corn Dog casserole. This was inspired by the free lunch I ate yesterday courtesy of the Casserole Queens. I know it’s not the fanciest casserole in the world, but it is delicious. Plus, what is more romantic for your first wedding anniversary than hot dogs, cheddar cheese, and cornbread? Total cost only $9, and I splurged on name brand hot dogs!
For a side dish, I served steamed baby carrots with honey mustard sauce. I chose mustard sauce to compliment the corn dog flavors, and I chose baby carrots just in case Beth and Andy are trying to conceive. Get it, “baby” carrots? Recipe for honey mustard sauce is as follows:
2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. dijon mustard
4 shakes of cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp.)
4 shakes of cumin (about 1/4 tsp.)
2 Tbs. butter
No need to cook the sauce. Just mix it up and put it on the steamed carrots before serving. Total cost of sauce and carrots $1.89. (I had everything on hand already to make the sauce, so the total cost is lower than if I had needed to buy expensive things like honey and dijon mustard.)
The grand finale of the dinner was vanilla ice cream with spicy strawberry syrup. Large cartons of strawberries were on sale today at HEB for $2.50. I had the rest of the ingredients for the syrup on hand:
1 carton strawberries, hulled & quartered
1 c. sugar (I used half splenda, half real sugar)
1 c. water
5 drops red food coloring
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. finely ground black pepper
Combine everything in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and stir frequently for 10-15 minutes. The syrup will thicken as it cooks and even more once it cools. If you use splenda like I did, or if you like thick syrup, you may have to add a slurry of cornstarch in the last few minutes to help things gel. Homemade strawberry syrup is so easy and delicious, I will never understand why people buy that Hershey’s imitation crap. I like the real thing, without high fructose corn syrup!
I’m going to end this post with some fun pictures from Beth and Andy’s wedding. Thanks for the memories, y’all, and many happy years ahead!
That last one was actually taken after the wedding, at a barbecue celebration we had that night. After dinner Rami made bananas foster for everyone, and you can see his entire BF set-up on the counter. He lugged a portable burner, 3 bottles of liquor, and countless bananas to Dallas for the sake of winning over my family and Beth’s new in-laws. Needless to say, it worked!