2nd Sunday Dinner

COLD PASTA SALAD BAR for 2nd Sunday Dinner, Aug 2016

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2nd Sunday Dinner

Getting Ready for 2nd Sunday Dinner – Aug ’16

This month I was was wondering WHAT in the world I was going to make for our 2nd Sunday Open House dinner for the neighborhood.

My son Dallin and new daughter-in-law Brooke were going to be married just THREE days before, and I was over that reception since Brookes family is from out of state.  

THANK YOU my amazing daughters – which includes my daughters and daughters-in-law = Tawni, Danitra, Ashley and Delsi, as well as my sons Derek and Devin and of course my handsome hubby Stan who is AMAZING to pull all of it together.  And to the many other angels who contributed and stepped up in countless ways this month!

Anyway, back to my dinner.

I was talking to my mom on the phone and telling her I was perplexed about what to make that I could prepare ahead that was simple, inexpensive and yet would be very tasty so my guests would feel wanted in my home and, as always my big concern, would want to come back again the next month.

She told me about going to lunch and having a prepared a cold pasta bar.  


It all turned out really easy to put together for a crowd, and most could be done ahead of time.  The next time you need to feed a crowd, this might be a go-to for you.



The day before the dinner I cooked up tri-colored pasta till al dente; rinsed it, then added in a splash of vegetable oil so it wouldn’t stick together and stored it in gallon freezer bags in the fridge.

I also cooked up one bag of gluten free pasta (I found an off-brand that was less than $2 and tasted pretty dang good to a gluten lover like myself, lol) for those who need to eat gluten free.  I try to have that option each month when possible, and stored as the pasta above, but without the oil since I wasn’t sure if it was ok or not.

Then I prepared these options and stored in bags or containers also the day before:

  • Grated cheese
  • Boiled eggs and chopped them
  • Grated carrots
  • Zucchini from the garden, diced
  • Cucumbers from the garden, diced
  • Ham, diced (mentioned above)
  • Pepperoni, quarted (mentioned above)
  • Bell Pepper, diced (but our garden hadn’t produced any yet)
  • Frozen corn, thawed (I forgot to put this out :/)
  • Frozen peas, thawed (I also forgot to put this out… a tired brain after the week ok…)
  • Add anything else your heart and budget desires!


After my guest made up a plate of the pasta and all the toppings they chose to up on; I had several salad dressings that they could choose from.  (I think I’m missing 1 or 2 in the picture.  Just look for sales, ads and coupons and it’s not expensive.  The EVOO’s where a HUGE hit and I found them at Walmart for under $2 each.)  It was fun for my guests to mix and match.  Some even put a bit on each portion of their plate – or came back for more, so they could try a bit of all of them!

2nd SundayI served rolls and butter too.  That always makes everything right in the world, doesn’t it?2nd Sunday DinnerNow for dessert.  I wanted to wait until after the wedding reception to see what refreshments were left over, if any, before I decided on what to make.  

For the reception we served Cold Stone Ice Cream in Waffle Bowls.  

We had ALOT of waffle bowls left over, so we grabbed some buckets of ice cream and that’s what we had for dessert!  

VERY happy smiles all around, and it couldn’t have been easier.2nd SundayAnd just in case you are wondering, we usually serve water with dinner.2nd Sunday

Just before our 2nd Sunday Dinner, Delsi surprised me by purchasing my ticket to attend BYU Education Week, which began the day after our dinner, and consists of five days of classes – thank you again Delsi!  

During the conference I was able to go to one of Chef Brad’s classes.  

It was while attending his class a few years ago where Stan and I were inspired to begin having these 2nd Sunday dinners. You can find Chef Brad at: chefbrad.com 

2nd Sunday Dinners & Chef Brad

Chef Brad & 2nd Sunday Dinners

Stan and I held regular dinners for 25 months, then stopped as we felt we ‘were done’.  That lasted for 20 months.  Then the Spirit promoted us to begin again.  It was more of a challenge this time around because we fully knew of the commitment, time, and resources these dinners demanded of us, and how they affected our entire family and schedules.  

We took it to the Lord, fasted and prayed about it.  The answer was undeniable and clear that we needed to begin these again, for our own benefit, as well as for our neighbors.  

We sincerely pray every month that our neighbors who are looking for friends, and to meet others will come. That someone who is lonely, has a grudge, feels offended or prejudice towards/from another in our area, will be brought to the dinner, or even will come alone and feel the Spirit of peace and friendship; recognizing that we are all in this big ‘ol world together; and that most really are trying to do their best, and a healing begun- softening hearts all around.

With so many terrible things going on in society, it is natural to draw apart, however, we are doing our best to provide, in our own small way, a vehicle for community, unity and understanding. 

Possibly you might be able to do something also? 

*Such as take some cookies to your neighbors this week that you haven’t met.  

*Some flowers from your yard to a shut-in.  

*A loaf of bread from the local bakery to someone that you haven’t talked to in years – possibly due to a misunderstanding.                

I hope you will do the ‘hard thing’ as we are trying to do, by doing HIS WILL and giving your best to create a little space of peace and happiness in your little part of the world.  

I can promise that it truly goes a long way to bring a greater abundance of joy and blessings in your own life, as well as those you love, and any who pass your way.

It was after my 2nd round of total knee replacement on both knees and having done 27 dinners we did stop not long after this.  We did other types of gatherings as we could in our home there of 25 years.  We moved and you can see the new gatherings there. 

Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016

Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today

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10 replies
  1. Nikki Frank-Hamilton
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton says:

    Carrie, this is a great idea! We do salad bar here fairly often, or Make your own pizza, but never thought about a pasta salad bar! You could have so many fun toppings and everyone could choose. What a fun buffet!

    And of course the dessert bar looks delish also! YUM!

    Congrats on the wedding! I’m sure it was lovely and I love the photo of the happy bride and groom! xx

    • Carrie Groneman
      Carrie Groneman says:

      Thanks Nikki for the compliment, and coming from you I am blushing because YOU are an amazing hostess with the mostest!!!Thank you so much for the best wishes and I’ll pass them onto Dallin and Brooke. I hope all is well with your family too; it’s so good to hear from you my friend:)!!!

  2. Diane Roark
    Diane Roark says:

    Hey lady,

    CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN ON YOUR NEW DAUGHTER IN LAW! They look so cute together. I loved following your adventures planning the ceremony.

    A pasta bar sounds like the perfect thing for a crowd. Everyone can make their favorites. I make a lot of cold pastas around here especially during the summer. They are simple to make and extremely tasty.
    Many blessings,

  3. Tasha
    Tasha says:

    I am always in awe of your generosity and caring spirit. I always wonder how you are able to pull-off everything that you do and are such an inspiration for me to just keep going…even when things get overwhelming. Your overall level of positivity and unity is a blessing to us all. You probably sometimes wonder if what you do makes a difference and I just want to tell you, yes….it really does. You’re pretty awesome….and so is that animated mother of yours. 😀


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