Have you heard of the concept of “Crappy Dinner Parties?” If you’re someone who stresses over the idea of having people over to your house and it keeps you from being able to hang out with your nearest and dearest more often, then read on. (And don't forget to check out the recipe for Lemon Blueberry Ginger Trifle!) I absolutely adore that they’ve become a trend (or at least, before all this COVID nonsense took over our lives) and have had the joy of both hosting and attending them.
1.) No extra cleaning/house beautifying allowed
2.) You have to use whatever ingredients you have on hand
3.) No dressing up or changing your clothes allowed. Wear whatever you’ve got on, even if its smelly gym clothes
4.) No hostess gifts allowed (unless your guests are bringing booze to share. Because that’s different. Because sharing. And also booze.)
5.) You don’t have to plan these ahead of time. If you and your pal(s) are free the same evening when leaving work, someone can claim the party for their house right then and there.
Don’t get me wrong. I love hosting elaborate dinner parties. I’m the crazy lady who used to have “Family Dinner Thursdays” as part of my weekly meal template while living in Chicago, whereby our immediate group of 10 friends could invite whoever they wanted (as long as I had a head count the day before).
Am I insane for attempting ravioli for the first time ever for a group of 25 rowdy Chicagoans? Sure. But it was fun! Have I hosted 5-course themed dinners with paired beverages? Heck yeah, and I loved every minute.
But I’m squarely in my 30s now and I just don’t have the energy (or the f*@&s) to spend setting an elaborate table and creating a themed menu every time I want to hang out with friends. When the Crappy Dinner Party became part of my (and my friends’) lingo, we started seeing each other a lot more.
My friends Jess and Amy are real pros and always seem to have an abundance of tasty things available at the ready for our impromptu hangs - cheeses and crackers, fruits and jams, deli meats and olives galore. We may rely heavily on the concept of “snack dinners” for these hangs, but it doesn’t matter because we get to bask in the glory that is friendship.
The Recipe - Lemon Blueberry Ginger Trifle
It was for one of these CDPs that I came up with the following recipe. I was determined that not only would I make us a full meal (it was Cacio e Pepe, which is a fancy way of saying I boiled spaghetti and put butter, parmesan and pepper on it), but I would also have a sweets offering that was a step up from our normal sharing of a dark chocolate bar.
We had some blueberries that needed using (because I buy berries in Costco sized portions and I didn’t have Debbie Meyers GreenBags yet) and I always have heavy cream (because I’m a fat kid at heart, and I like heavy cream in my morning coffee).
I looked into my amply stocked pantry (I told you, I’ve been hoarding groceries since my teens) and found in the “work snacks” aisle a fresh tub of TJ’s Triple Ginger Snaps and a jar of TJ’s Lemon Curd in the “jams and condiments” aisle.
And friends, those four (FOUR! 4! CUATRO! QUATRE!) ingredients are all you need to make a truly splendid summer dessert. Lemon Blueberry Ginger Trifle is about to be your best (entertaining) friend.
If you want to serve a crowd, you can make Lemon Blueberry Ginger Trifle in a giant trifle bowl. If you’re looking for single serve options (which we will likely need for at least the near future) I recommend 8 oz mason jars. Making them in mason jars is also an excellent way to bring dessert to a potluck (picnic potluck anyone??? I MISS DINNER PARTIES! Bring Your Own Blanket!). So, without further ado, here’s the easiest dang dessert recipe you’ll ever find.
NOTE: If you opt to make a large trifle, be sure to choose an appropriate vessel. It should be glass (so you can see all the beautiful layers!) and have straight sides. I like this one and this one.
5 Minute Lemon, Blueberry and Ginger Trifle
- ~30 Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snap Cookies smashed into pieces
- 1 jar Trader Joe's Lemon Curd
- 1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream whipped
- 1 pint Blueberries rinsed and dried
- 1-2 tablespoon Powdered Sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla or Almond Extract (optional)
- Get out your TJ’s Triple Ginger Snaps and bash/blend/process/break them into smaller (read bite sized) pieces.
- Whip Heavy Whipping Cream until stiff peaks appear. OPTIONAL: You can add a bit of powdered sugar for extra sweetness and a little stability, or a little vanilla or almond extract for some extra flavor, but you don’t need to.
- Fold TJ’s Lemon Curd into whipped cream
- OPTIONAL: If you have an extra minute to spare, mash up about ¼ of the blueberries with a fork and toss with a little sugar and lemon juice. Stir the rest of the berries in this mix to help them macerate (i.e. get juicy and delicious) a bit before layering them in the jars.
- Layer your chosen vessel(s) with cookie crumbs, lemon whipped cream, then blueberries. Make sure to make your layers thick enough to see separate layers through the glass. Repeat at least once. Watch your friends’ looks of total ecstasy and relish in knowing it only took you 5 minutes of effort and 4 ingredients to get there. You’re a damn CDP pro, yo.