I thought we'd start off this week with the second part of our entertaining mini-series. If you missed my tips on how to avoid a panic attack when you find out you're having company, you can check it out here.
So, one of the first things people worry about when they find out company's coming over is...
I have two approaches to this question... There are meals I make when I want a fancy, impressive dinner and then there are meals that I make that are simple, yummy, and no real frills (these are the ones most of my friends are all familiar with!) I could do a whole post on my fancy meals (most of which are stolen from my mother-in-law, who is an amazing cook!) but for this post I want to talk about a Go-To Meal. In my world, a go-to meal is one that I can whip up if I have last minute guests or if I completely forgot that I was supposed to be making a meal (a common occurrence- have I mentioned I'm absent minded??) Monica's Entertaining Rule # 2: Have a Go-To Meal and always have its ingredients in the house.
To figure out what your go-to meal should be, ask a few questions... What meal does my whole family like (kids and adults)?, Is it simple to make and won't keep you in the kitchen once company arrives? Can you keep the ingredients on hand without them perishing?
My Go-To Meal
Monica's Chicken (yes, we call it that)
So, Monica's Chicken started about 13 years ago when we still lived in MA. We had dinner at the house of a family from our church. She made this dish and I LOVED it. Eventually, we changed the name to Monica's Chicken because I was obsessed with it. I didn't take any pics of making it because I'm not doing a cooking tutorial and because taking pictures of raw chicken is creepy to me. (I'll put the recipes somewhere on the blog for you soon!) I use this as my go-to main dish because it takes about 5 mins to prep and then just bakes for 45 mins and voila!
I love potatoes. Really, I think they're the best food in the world, maybe second only to sour cream. Once, one of the million times I was pregnant, we were out to dinner with Eric's family and I ordered potato soup, potato skins, and loaded mashed potatoes as my meal. The waitress' face was priceless and finally someone explained I was pregnant (but honestly, I don't think that had anything to do with it!) Ok, so for my go-to side dish of course I'm going to use potatoes, plus we always have them in the house. These are my pick, because they're awesome, easy, and actually look pretty good. Again, they only take 5 mins and then bake for the same time as Monica's Chicken.
The finished product- I <3 Potatoes!
Ok, sorry if you're all gourmet and offended by Bisquick, but I keep it on hand. These garlic cheese ones are like 99 cents and with a little added cheese and then melted butter and garlic on top are awesome!
In between taking pictures, cooking, doing dishes, and letting this adorable little man help out
...I forgot to make any vegetables. My go-to veggie is actually Costco's Normandy Blend because it's sold in like 47 lb bags and is really good and doesn't taste like most frozen veggies. Unfortunately, I didn't realize my veggie faux pas until we were actually sitting down to eat, so... canned green beans it was! Oops!
So, there you have it, my Go-To Meal in a snap. If you don't have a go-to meal, I totally recommend it and it will definitely make your life easier. This week, think through it, and then grab the ingredients when you're shopping. Hey, maybe then you can do something wild and crazy, like inviting company for dinner at the last minute!
So, what are your ideas for a Go-To Meal? Do Share!