Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Supper Time... Anytime.

As I continue on through my book, "A life that says welcome" by Karen Ehman - I've entered my favorite chapter. It's about food, having company over, and recipes that work. The Lord has blessed my desires to open our home and I'm happy to say we have had several faces around our tables (both dinner and coffee tables) in the last few weeks. :) I love it. It's never fancy. It's never over the top... actually, last time it was Velveeta dip, pretzel rods, tortilla chips, pop, and a dessert that totally flopped as the guests were walking in the door. Sweet! {grumble, grumble, grumble} But everyone was a great sport and we just pretended the bars were supposed to be... dessert soup. :)

In her book, Karen gives the idea of putting together a menu book of sure-fire meals to make for guests. I seem to have this issue of always wanting to try something new for guests, which, if you are an excellent cook - GREAT go for it - but, there is always the risk of a major flop. So, instead of ruining a new meal and having to pop in that frozen pizza... the idea is to try a few recipes and if they work, plug them into a routine. I know pastors wives who always, always serve spaghetti, pot roast & potatoes or Chicken n' dumplings for their "company" meal. It's something they've made a million times and it takes the pressure off making sure everything is perfect. It's tried and true... and delicious. So, I've decided to do this myself. I'm going to buy a 3 ring binder and print off a few menu plans. For example... Tacos, spanish rice, and cinna-twists {canned breadsticks rolled in cinnamon-sugar}. I will list each recipe on one sheet of paper so I can see the main dish, side dish and dessert all at once. Then I will know right away if I want to add any "extras", what will go with it. Easy peasy. I'd like to have several pages of meal options and get them on a good rotation. I can then note if any of our friends or guests don't care for something so I can avoid making that certain dish.

Another idea I found in this chapter was the idea of "Health by Stealth". One of the authors friends is known for this phrase and it simply means that she purees "yucky" foods into the "yummy" parts of her meals. Her children don't like green veggies...she's purees them into the red sauce. Not a fan of onions or chunks of garlic? They get pureed into the white sauces. Wow! I get into my pureeing...but never thought about that! Karen also mentions the cookbook, "The Use it Up Cookbook" - which, shows you how to use up ingredients so you aren't regularly tossing out leftover produce, etc. It looks like it's pretty pricey, but, might be worth it if you, like me, seem to toss out leftover greens ALL.THE.TIME. It adds up!

Ah, I am learning so much about hospitality and specifically blessing people with meals. I still mess up all the time and can laugh about it - but, I do so much want to keep up with this ministry in my home. And, thankfully, my family enjoys trying out all these new recipes that I am testing, too. :) Are you showing hospitality in your home? Are you opening your doors and blessing others with meals or even just some chat time on the couch? I can tell you first hand the blessings are inexpressible. Just do it! :)

I'll leave you with one of the new ones we've had recently. SO FAST and delicious.

Asian Beef and Noodles
1lb ground beef
2 pkgs Oriental Ramen noodles
2 1/2 c. water
2 c. frozen broccoli stir-fry veggies
1/4 t. ground ginger
2 T thin sliced green onion

1) In a large skillet, cook beef over med. heat for 4-5 minutes or until browned. Drain. Add the contents of 1 ramen noodle flavoring packet; stir until dissolved. Remove beef and keep warm.
2) In the same skillet, combine the water, veggies, ginger, noodles and contents of remaining flavor packet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender. Return beef to pan; cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
*serves 4. {smaller dish but could easily double and triple}

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