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Monica's "Girls Night In"

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I love to eat out and socialize; and luckily when you live in a place like New York, you get endless opportunities to do so, 7 days a week. However, sometimes I just want to stay home and be totally casual and relaxed. As a kid, I loved sleepovers, and still try to convince my friends to a good old pillow fight. This weekend ended up being just one of those. Yayy!


Not having much planned and still tired from some late nights that I did during the week, I decided to throw a "Girls Night In" party and just be cozy. Instead of going out with my girlfriends, I invited my girlfriends over for fun finger foods and a movie. We do this every once in a while. Last time we all dressed up and watched ‘Sex and the City’ sipping cosmos. It is fun to be silly. This time I wanted to keep it simple. I love to cook as much as the next gal, but I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen. I hate when you go somewhere and your host spends the entire time running in and out of the kitchen. So, no fancy plating, no colorful designs, no bird nests; just tasty, comfort, lip-licking food. For the movie, we decided to go with "No Reservations." Gotta have a chick flick and this one was about food! My friends packed up manicure kits, filled up gossip mills, and headed over. And they brought dessert too – homemade cupcakes.


We went for pizza with sausage and spinach, mini-burgers and chicken tenders. No forks necessary! I tried a new recipe for a ginger dipping sauce that was yummy on the chicken. Instead of making a crust, I bought a pre-made pizza crust and just added my own toppings. I like that idea because you can be very creative. Next time I may do a "top your own crust" party and supply an array of toppings from roasted red peppers to grilled shrimp. Anything sautéed in garlic is good for me and spinach is one of my favorites. Half way through the movie, the three of us had already finished two bottles of wine. Drunk and hungry, the food couldn’t taste any better. We attacked from all sides; paper towels littered the room. Sirloin mini-burgers were the first casualty, much to my surprise. Wine and burgers never felt like a great combination before but who knew.  Diane had never tried mustard with chicken tenders before and she absolutely loved it. I wish I had taken her picture licking the mustard off her chin.  By the end of the movie we were finishing up the last of the cupcakes. We were full and happy!


As I am writing now, I think I am going to do this more often. It is amazing how much cheaper it is to stay in. A night of eating and drinking out would have cost more than double. And I didn't charge a wine corkage fee!  We're all busy with life, careers and families and this provided a no-fuss way to really spend time together and catch up.


Give it a try, you may never go out again. But remember, no boys allowed!


This post was sponsored by Viva Towels. For fun, fork-free recipes – including videos – and snappy entertaining ideas, get over to the VIVA® Diva Café. 

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Monica's "Girls Night In"