Jennifer Garner + Ina Garten = my dream dinner guests.
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Ina Garten and Jennifer Garner
Credit: Instagram / @jennifer.garner

If I could host a dream dinner party with any guests I wanted, Ina Garten and Jennifer Garner would certainly be at the top of that list. And thanks to Garner’s #PretendCookingShow, I got a sneak peek at what that dream dinner might look like. In the latest episode of her cooking show, Garner combined a few of my favorite things: Ina Garten, easy weeknight dinners and comfort food, all courtesy of Garten’s new cookbook, Modern Comfort Food (buy it: Amazon, $24). 

In the video, Garner talked about her love for Ina and described the new recipes as being “exactly what you want to be cooking, and exactly what you want to be eating right now.” Garner made Garten’s new recipe for Crispy Chicken with Lemon Orzo. As Garner prepped her ingredients, she reminded us to always zest your citrus before you juice it, a tip she picked up from the Barefoot Contessa herself (we recommend using a microplane like this one from Amazon, $26). 

While Garner’s #PretendCookingShow often features guests such as her mom or her cat, this episode featured the woman of the hour, Ina Garten. Garner’s excitement at having Garten appear (virtually, of course!) in her kitchen is so relatable (I can only imagine how wonderful (and slightly overwhelming) it would be to cook for the Barefoot Contessa in my own kitchen!).

As Garner cooked, Garten shared helpful insights and tips for the recipe. For the chicken, Garten said, “The canola oil and butter are good together because you get the flavor of the butter and the high burning temperature of canola, which is why I very often mix the two of them.” Her second helpful tip came as Garner seared the chicken, and Garten advised her not to move the chicken because “it seals the skin.”

While Garner and Garten waited for the chicken and orzo to finish, they checked on the other new recipes Garner had made, including a Milk Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream and a Frozen Paloma. Although we don’t see the recipe for the paloma, Garten is the queen of cocktails and we trust that Garner is on to something when she noted that her freezer “will never be without one again” (P.S. check out Ina’s Pomegranate Gimlet). 

Garten’s final tips came as Garner finished the dish. First, she recommended adding the lemon vinaigrette to the orzo while it’s warm so the pasta could really absorb it. Then while Garner plated the dish, Garten advised that she had two options: restaurant-style or home-style plating, although Garner opted for mom-style plating, which she described as “nothing [being] allowed to touch anything else.” 

The final dish and sweet exchange between the two ladies is both wholesome and comforting, two things I definitely need right now. Now, I’m off to cook my way through Modern Comfort Food on the off chance that my dinner party with these two ladies one day becomes a reality (a girl can dream, right?).