Updated: Feb 23, 2020
Tips & Suggestions:
Help the Host-
You've invited your friends over for dinner, hooray! You've purchased your groceries, you've been working in the kitchen all morning, and suddenly, you get a text from one of your guests.
The text message harkens back to that age old question... "what can I bring?".
Don't fret, you don't need to replan your entire menu. We've got you covered.
Below, you will find a list of items that make great guest contributions.
Simply pick one that would compliment your menu. ✔
Often times, guests may feel more at ease by being able to contribute.
Relish & Cheese Trays
Assorted Beverages (for adults & kids)
Raw Veggie Tray
Chips and Crackers
Paper Products (plates,cups)
Games or Entertainment
Chocolates & Nuts
Ziplock bags/to go bags
Their Bibles, to help with the scripture reading
For some, baking, cooking and hosting can be quite daunting. Though we are not experts in any of these areas, we would like to offer you some tips that we have found to be helpful, economical, and just plain clever.
1.) This may seem obvious, but, if you want to avoid an awkward dinner party, before you plan your menu, ask your guests if they have any food allergies or aversions. Also, (if applicable) consider asking if alcohol beverages being served would make them uncomfortable.
2.) When baking fresh bread, double the batch and freeze the additional bread for future use.
3.) If you cover and freeze your layers of cake before you frost them, they become moist and your cake is easier to frost.
4.) When baking a cake, be sure to cream/whip your sugars and fats (butter, margarine, shortening) until they become fluffy and pale. This helps to ensure a soft, light cake.
5.) Write out some ice breaker questions and place them in a jar or cup. If the conversation begins to lag, pass the jar around the table. It is a fun way to help with conversation and connections.
6.) If you don't have buttermilk in your fridge, you can easily make your own by adding 1 teaspoon white vinegar, or 1 teaspoon lemon juice to every 1 cup of milk. Stir it in and let it sit for a minute or two before you use it.
7.) When baking a crunchy, crusty loaf of bread, place a dish of water in the oven alongside or below your baking bread. The steam will release as the bread bakes, and will help the crust of the loaf to crisp.
8.) When baking bread, you may be tempted to add extra flour to a slightly sticky dough. Bread dough should be sticky (but manageable). As you knead your dough, you are encouraging gluten to form, and thereby reducing the moisture content, making it more manageable. Try not to add extra flour, it may make the loaf more dense.
9.) If appropriate, have your kids get involved with the prep and execution of the feast. Teach them to set the table, brown the meat, light the candles, answer the door when the guests arrive, etc.
10.) When making meatloaf, a good rule of thumb is to add 1 egg per pound of meat. This ensures that the meatloaf will not fall apart during the baking process.
11.) Always make sure your kitchen sink and dishwasher are empty before your guests arrive.This makes clean-up easy and less stressful.
12.) Check your recipes in the morning, prep as much as you can in advance. Many recipes benefit by being made early.
13.) ALWAYS have some Vanilla Ice cream in your freezer.
If dessert doesn't turn out, you've got a backup plan.
Just add some sprinkles or chocolate chips, and it'll look like that was your plan all along.
Grocery List Notes:
1.) These lists contain all the items that you will need for each week. However, you likely won't need to purchase all of them, each week. For example, Garlic powder, Vanilla extract, and Olive oil will be used most weeks, but you likely won't have to buy them more than once. Take note of what you already have in your kitchen before you shop.
2.) Most recipes, not all, are formatted to serve 6-8 people. Soups generally feed around 10.
3.) If you need to double a recipe, praise the Lord! But, always account for your recipe ingredients first. The grocery lists do not reflect doubled recipes.
4.) Although every recipe has been tested, altitudes, humidity, and other factors may change the finished outcome of the dish. Feel free to add and adjust each recipe as you see fit.
5.) You will use large amounts of standard baking staples. Items like All-Purpose Flour, White, Brown, and Powdered Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, etc. It may be economical to shop in bulk with future meals in mind.
Groceries for Week 1: Feb 27-29
4-5 medium Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes 5 pounds
4 Cups Green Beans (fresh, frozen, or canned. your preference)
1-pint cherry tomatoes
1 bag spinach
3 medium zucchini
6-8 medium Apples (granny smith or gala)
Pork Roast (2-4lb)
2 pounds ground beef
8-10 chicken drumsticks or 3 chicken breast (your choice)
1 can Pineapple
3 (28 ounces) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (fire-roasted preferred)
32 ounces Chicken Broth
5 cups Powdered Sugar
Red Pepper Flakes
1 box Orzo
1 box Oven-ready Lasagna noodles
2 dozen Eggs
6 (6 ounces) bags of shredded mozzarella
3 (6 ounces) bags of Shredded Monterey Jack
2 (6 ounces) bag shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 (8-ounce blocks) cream cheese
1 quart Milk
Week #1 Recipes
Crock Pot Hawaiian Pork
Prep and Cook Time: 6-8 hours
Yields enough for 24 sliders
2-4 pound Pork Roast
1 can Crushed Pineapple
1 Medium Onion chopped finely
1 Tablespoon dried Parsley
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
½ Cup Soy Sauce
½ teaspoon Ginger
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
¼ cup Brown Sugar
Combine all ingredients in a Slow-Cooker, Dutch Oven, or Crock-Pot.
Cook on high heat until tender and able to shred with a fork. This should take about 6-8 hours, depending on your particular device, once shredded, allow the meat to soak up the juices by cooking it a half an hour after shredding. Serve hot on a roll.
Oma's Potato Rolls
Prep and Cook Time: about 4 hours
Yields 2-2 ½ Dozen Rolls
2 Cups of diced potatoes (boiled until soft and tender, save 1 cup of the starchy cooking water)
1 teaspoon honey
1 Package or 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
4 Tablespoons Salted Butter
4 ¾ Cup All Purpose Flour
1 ¾ teaspoon Salt
In a medium saucepan, boil potatoes until tender and soft. RESERVE 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, allow the water to cool to 106°F, once cool, add your yeast to the water.
Mash your potatoes and add to a mixing bowl.
Add in your yeast/water and flour.
Do not add the honey directly on the yeast, it may kill it.
Add in the remaining ingredients and mix/knead well, about 5 minutes.
The dough may be slightly sticky.
Spray a medium glass or ceramic bowl with non-stick cooking spray and add your dough. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow for the dough to rise until it doubles in size (about an hour).
Once dough has risen, remove it from the bowl, punch it down and knead the air out. Divide your dough into golf ball sized rolls. Roll the dough into smooth balls and place them onto prepared sheet pans (sprayed).
Allow them to rise for about 40-45 minutes,
Sprinkle the tops of the risen rolls with some extra flour.
Bake at 350°F.
This recipe should yield about 2 ½ dozen rolls.
Sweet Potato Wedges
Prep and Cook Time: about an hour
½ Cup unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more depending on your personal taste)
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into wedges
Preheat oven to 400° F.
In a medium pot, melt butter and stir in cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.
Place the sweet potato wedges in a large bowl and pour the mixture on top.
Use your hands to toss the wedges, making sure each wedge is coated.
Pour the wedges onto a large sheet pan and arrange wedges in a single layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, taking the wedges out and flipping them after 15-20 minutes.
Test the wedges with a fork. The outside of the wedge will be dry and caramelized.
Of you like a crispier wedge, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. Watch closely, these can burn quickly.
Oatmeal Lemon Cream Bars
Prep and Cook Time: about an hour
Crust and Topping:
1 ¼ Cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ Cups rolled oats
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ Cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
⅓ Cup lemon juice
⅓ Cup large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Lightly grease an 8x8-inch baking dish and set aside.
Combine the flour, oats, salt, and baking soda in a medium sized mixing bowl.
Using a mixing spoon, stir in the sugars until thoroughly combined.
Add the vanilla and melted butter and mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
Gently press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared (greased) pan.
Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and set aside, leaving the oven set to 350° F.
Whisk together the condensed milk, lemon zest, juice, egg yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
Pur into the baking pan over the baked crust. Spread evenly.
Crumble the remaining oatmeal crust evenly over top.
Bake at 350° F for 25 minutes, until lightly golden.
Remove and let set to cool at room temperature (about 1 hour) then refrigerate for 1 more hour and cut into squares once cooled, or serve warm with ice cream. Store in fridge.
Ericha's Easy Lasagna
Prep and Cook Time: about 1 ½ hours
yields 1- 9x13 3 layer lasagna
1 box of oven-ready lasagna noodles
2 pounds lean Ground Beef
1 Large onion finely chopped
1 Tablespoon Garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons Black Pepper
3 cans (28 ounces) Crushed Tomatoes
2 cans (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes(fire roasted if you can find them)
1 teaspoon dried Basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
4 1/2 (6 ounce) bags of shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 1/2 (6 ounce) bags of shredded Monterey or Monterey Jack Cheese
2 (8 ounce) block of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 (6 ounce) bag of shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon dried Parsley
(it may seem like a large amount of cheese, but you don't want to skimp on this layer)
On the stove, in a large pot, brown ground beef with the diced onion.
Add the remaining sauce ingredients.
Allow the sauce to simmer on low heat until you are ready to use it.
In a large bowl, combine all the cheese and Parsley.
Use your fingers to combine the cream cheese with shredded cheeses.
You don't want large clumps of cream cheese.
You are now ready to assemble your lasagna.
In the bottom of your 9x13 pan, cover the bottom of the dish with sauce.
Add a layer of Oven-Ready noodles, another layer of sauce, and cheese.
Alternate sauce, noodles, sauce, cheese.
Each lasagna should be 3 full layers of noodles and cheese.
Cover the pan with foil, and bake at 350°F for about 40 minutes, then uncover and bake until the noodles have softened and the top cheese has browned. About an additional 15 minutes.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.
If you don't need the second lasagna, after assembling but before cooking, cover the dish well, with foil, and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to use it, place it frozen, into a non-preheated oven. Bake it at 300°F (lower because it is frozen).
Never place a frozen glass dish in a hot oven. It will be a mess!
Simple Sauteed Onion & Garlic Green Beans
Prep and Cook Time: about 30 minutes
4 Cups Green Beans (fresh,frozen,or canned)
1 medium onion chopped