You, or someone who loves you, spent hundreds of dollars on your Vitamix. This fancy machine is the Michelin-starred restaurant of blenders. It would be a shame to use it for smoothies, milkshakes and soups only. You can make a full-course dinner for guests with your precious appliance.
This is good news because that thing on your counter requires an average of $500 to be yours. Refurbished Vitamix blenders are a good way to go for those of us watching our budgets. Even those versions usually don't drop lower than $300. So make use of that baby by making it work. Like werk.
Every course in this meal is made with a Vitamix. It's a dinner menu of dishes from all four seasons and nice enough to make for guests at a dinner party. Try one or all the dishes.
Watermelon Balsamic Cocktail Slushy
You'll get no jarring ice chunks in any drink you make with a Vitamix. But beyond the smoothie and milkshake genres, go for adult ideas, and no, not another margarita. This drink of ice, watermelon, lime, a little balsamic vinegar, and vodka creates the perfect balance of flavor. It's pretty summery. Get the recipe.
Vegan Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
The obvious route for a blended appetizer is a dip, hummus in particular. (Yawn.) We pick stuffed mushrooms instead. Not uncommon either, but making it vegan is more so. You whip up some "cheese" with cashews and almonds plus all sorts of other oils, pastes, and herbs. It's delicious enough that you should just call them stuffed mushrooms and serve them to omnivores. Get the recipe.
The nutty, creamy sweetness of this dressing is the ideal complement for bitter kale. It's best to massage the kale after you wash it and rip out the spines. The dressing has a hint of tartness and a light kick from thyme. You can swap an orange for the tangerine, the herbs for whatever you have, and lettuce can be any kind as well. Flexibility is awesome, isn't it? Get the recipe.
Onion and Herb Socca Flatbread
You could bounce around for days in pillows of wheat breads and quick breads galore, but this socca idea made us jump for joy even more in the world of Vitamix bread recipes. No need to stick to onion and herb if you have another pairing you love (or just available in your kitchen without another trip to the grocery store). Made with chickpea flour, this bread is gluten-free, so that could help. You can try the traditional pan-fry and then bake on each side way if you can manage not to get the bread stuck on the pan when you try to flip it for the second half. Or you can do it this way, which involves baking it and sliding it out in one piece. Get the recipe.
Seared Scallops with Beet Vinaigrette
If this seems like too light of a meal, remember, you'll have an appetizer, nutty-sweet salad, and bread. Skip the mixed greens if you don't want to much green in the meal. But we don't think that's possible. Cider vinegar, olive oil, and fresh dill contrast the natural sweetness of the roasted, pureed beet that sets the stage for the scallop star. In the middle you'll have mixed greens and julienned daikon radish and carrots. Get the recipe.
Raw Chocolate Hazelnut (Vegan) Ice Cream Cakes
These cakes are vegan, gluten-free, and Paleo friendly, but don't let that convince you or turn you away. These are chocolate hazelnut ice cream cakes. Those are four dreamy things, the first part sounding quite like Nutella, but homemade, and therefore better. These dainty single-serving beauties are the perfect portion for such a rich dessert and present beautifully for a dinner party finale. Get the recipe.
— Head photo: CIAtaste.
Amy Sowder is the assistant editor at Chowhound in New York City. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Her running habit is the excuse for her gelato passion. Or is it the other way around? Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.