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Easy Gourmet Meal with Eastern European Flair

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Yes, Virginia, Eastern Europeans DO eat gourmet! Dazzle your lover, your family or your guests with this easy, do-ahead upscale meal with Eastern European flair.

1. Appetizer - Shrimp with Pomegranate Vinaigrette Recipe

Easy Shrimp with Pomegranate Vinaigrette Recipe
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Pomegranates and seafood are eaten with relish in Eastern Europe. This dish makes a great appetizer, main course or main-course salad and all the components of this chilled shrimp recipe can be made in advance and assembled before serving.

2. Garnish - How to Make Easy Cheese Crisps

Cheese Crisps
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Cheese crisps are one of the easiest (and tastiest) garnishes that can be made ahead. In addition to enhancing a dish as an embellishment, they can be used as a food container when shaped while still warm and taste so much better than a radish flower! Here are the simple steps to making them.

3. Main Course - Easy Filet Mignon with Sundried Tomato Butter Recipe

Filet Mignon with Sundried Tomato Butter
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
The grill marks on these filets can be made on an indoor tabletop grill and held in the refrigerator until just before service when they are baked in the oven for up to 10 minutes for well done. The sundried tomato butter can be made the night before and leftovers are great on pasta, veggies or bread.

4. Veggie - Creamed Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Czech Creamed Brussels Sprouts
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This recipe for Czech creamed Brussels sprouts is a nice change of pace and if you don't overcook them, they retain that brilliant green color that is set off by the whiteness of the cream sauce. They look great on the plate next to the red of the tomato butter and mahoghany-colored beef. After all, you feed the eye first!

5. Starch - Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding Recipe

Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This savory mushroom bread pudding recipe isn't hard but it's time consuming. The beauty is it can be assembled the night before, refrigerated and baked at time of service. The dark, woodsy flavors of this showcase for the jewels of the forest is a natural with beef.

6. Dessert - Easy Chocolate Mousse Recipe

Easy Chocolate Mousse Napoleon
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This easy chocolate mousse recipe calls for only four ingredients and it can be made up to two days in advance. Portion it into parfait glasses or serve it napoleon style sandwiched between purchased heart-shaped cookies.

7. Mignardise - Easy Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Mignardise is the French word for little sweets after the sweets. In other words, dessert isn't over until the mignardises are served! Heart-shaped strawberries are a natural symbol of love. Serve up some of these to let your lover, family or dinner guests know how much you care about them.

8. The Final Kiss - Easy Chocolate Mocha Truffles Recipe

Chocolate Truffles
Flickr by Elena's Pantry
Eastern Europeans love their chocolate AND their coffee. When paired, as they are in these truffles, you hae a match made in heaven.
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