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
2 teaspoons garlic powder
salt and pepper
olive oil to drizzle
In a large skillet, and olive oil, green beans, and onions. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add in the spices and combine well. Once the beans begin to brown, they are ready to serve.
Aunt Dixie's Spice Cake with Spiced Frosting
Prep and Cook Time: 1 ¼ hours + 45 minutes to cool and frost the cake
2 ½ cups all purpose Flour
2 ½ cups white Sugar
2 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
2 ½ Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon ground Ginger
1 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon Allspice
¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 ¼ cups Milk
3 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons Butter softened
1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325° F
In a mixing bowl, whisk your 5 egg whites until stiff peaks form (Save the yolks). Set the egg whites to the side.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine oil, butter and sugar. Whisk until fluffy and pale, slowly add in your egg yolks, and then the additional ingredients and mix well. Slowly add in the stiff egg whites, by folding them into the batter with a spatula. Do not overmix at this point, just fold until the egg whites combine.
Pour into sprayed cake pans and bake until the center of the cake is firm and cooked, about 45 minutes.
Cool before frosting.
3 sticks of softened Butter
5 cups of powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¾ teaspoon Nutmeg
½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
dash of Salt
In a mixing bowl, whip the butter and vanilla, slowly adding the sugar and spices.
Whip until the frosting becomes fluffy and thick, about 3-5 minutes in an electric mixer.
Frost your cake and enjoy.
Chicken Spinach and Orzo
Cook and Prep Time: about an hour
8-10 Chicken drumsticks or 3 breasts cut into strips
Salt and pepper (be a bit heavy handed, it needs it)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion
1 Tablespoon dried Thyme
2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 Tablespoon garlic powder
2 Cups orzo pasta
32 ounces chicken broth
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bag (6 to 8 ounces) baby spinach
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
½ Cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ Cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Prepare your chicken by cutting chicken breasts (if you are using breasts) into strips, lay your chicken on a large plate.
Season chicken with half of the salt,pepper, garlic,and thyme. Squeeze 1 lemon's juice over the chicken.
set in the fridge to marinate for as long as possible, at least 15-20 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet.
Add chicken to skillet and brown on all sides.
Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
Melt butter in skillet.
Add in diced onion and cook over medium heat until caramelized.
Stir in orzo pasta; cook for 2 minutes,
Add chicken broth, oregano, cayenne pepper,and thyme, stir to combine.
Arrange prepared chicken over the orzo.
Add tomatoes and spinach on top, squeeze the juice of a lemon over the top; season with additional salt, pepper and garlic, and bring mixture to a boil.
Lower the heat to a simmer; cover and cook until the orzo has completely absorbed the liquid and the chicken is cooked.
Remove from heat and sprinkle with cheese.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Sauteed Zucchini Parm
Prep and Cook Time:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 Cup parmesan, finely grated
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in a large saute pan on medium heat
Add half the zucchini slices and lay as many pieces as possible flat on the bottom of the pan.
Cook for 6-7 minutes.
Only stir every 2 minutes or so.
You want the bottoms to get nice and crispy before stirring and crisping on the other side as well.
While the zucchini is cooking combine the parsley, garlic, and parmesan in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Remove the cooked zucchini to a plate and add the remaining zucchini to the pan.
If needed, add a little more olive oil.
Repeat cooking zucchini as instructed above.
When the zucchini are about done, turn off the heat, and add all zucchini into the pan.
Top with the parmesan mixture and stir everything together.
Apple Crisp & Vanilla Ice Cream
*Vanilla Ice Cream is a great addition to this recipe, and if asked, would make a great guest contribution
Prep and Cook Time: about an hour
Yields 1-9x13 or 1-12 inch Cast Iron Skillet
6-8 Medium Granny Smith Apples (or your preference) peeled and sliced
¼ cup Corn Starch
2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ Cup Sugar
½ teaspoon ground Nutmeg
Combine all and add to your dish
1 Stick of butter melted
¾ cup flour
¾ cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
Combine all and add sprinkle over your Apple mixture.
Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes. Until apples are desired texture and the crumble is bubbled and brown.
Serve warm and with a side of Ice Cream if you wish.