Fellowship and Food…Food on Friday’s Post
Many early Sunday afternoons my family and I spend fellowship time with friends…Whether we are sitting down to a planned group at Julie and Greg’s for a brunch of eggs, jalapeno potatoes, bacon freshly made by Greg. With toast and dunks coffee made by Julie, while we all sit around the table and visit to a huge bowl of, freshly purchased that day, grapes from the local produce market. Or a bbq over at the Netzel’s around a table of pot luck meals, grilled hot dogs, chicken and burgers and all the kids running around in Val’s personally groomed yard and garden. We often come to a part of our day when we are feeding a group of people we are not done visiting with!
So when I found an article on Helium.com about feeding an impromptu crowd, it was a no brainer. Often being called over to a friend’s home with the direction to bring a dish to share the article answers the question of how to feed a group at a moments notice. The article descripes two of my go to meals for quick, easy and economical.
Cheap Ways to Feed a Crowd is all 5 articles…Mine remains in the middle of the line up, so I include all for your enjoyment!
Here is mine…
Dinner time has rolled around and you have unexpected company. Whether it’s extra kids after an extracurricular game or a Sunday afternoon of visiting with friends, after church, cheap and easy crowd pleasing meals are likely just as far as your pantry and freezer.
Going for the classics would be the easiest way to please. Spaghetti or Chili, both commonly loved hearty meals. Other benefits of these two crowd pleasers is that variations on the theme are as quick as your leftovers and a loaf of bread. Ground beef and chicken are in everyone’s freezer. Both of these are usable for either meal. Grab your friends or the kids and begin the meal.
Begin by chopping and preparing the chicken or beef. Saute in a large sauce pan or dutch oven the shredded chicken or crumbled ground beef. For both recipes add a rough chopped onion, celery, minced garlic. Vegetable choices in these dishes can preference or availability driven. While one is going for a flavorful meal, gourmet is not necessary, so utilize that leftover asparagus or spinach and make a Florentine sauce or keep it rustic with the trinity of onion, celery and bell pepper.
If you are using leftover meats, reverse the process. Saute your vegetables and then add the precooked meat; shred the chicken, crumble leftover meatloaf, cube leftover roast beef or London broil. Using frozen or canned meat products, simply cook according to package directions.
With your sauce simmering on the stove, finish off this part according to preference. Add tomato paste and canned tomatoes of your preference and the appropriate seasonings. Italian seasoning works in spaghetti sauce and chili base. Dried basil, oregano and parsley fit the bill as well. Salt and pepper to taste and cook. At this point in a chili recipe add the beans and a bit of heat. Check the pantry; canned black, white, cannelloni and pinto beans work well, add a can of beans for each two or three people. If there is only one or two cans, the meat or a side of rice will extend the chili as needed. No canned Goya beans? A few cans of pork and beans do just as well.
Extending the chili is no further than a simple white or yellow rice side dish. Prepare according to package directions. A cup of dry rice feeds four individuals. Of course for your spaghetti dish prepare the pasta, again, according to package directions. Typically pasta comes by the pound, which feeds four people.
A simple salad and a bread side will extend the meal as well. Lettuce, tomato and thinly sliced onion and that Italian dressing on the refrigerator door works. Adding olives, sliced mushrooms or thinly sliced pepper rings, or even a nice roasted red pepper in a garlic and olive oil base makes for a tasty salad with color and appeal. Use the roasted red pepper base as your dressing, it is quite good and a quick solution if one is out of salad dressing.
Quick salad dressing is simply taken care of out of ones pantry and refrigerator, as well. The base of the jarred red peppers is quick, so is french, thousand island and Italian dressings.
French dressing is simply mayonnaise and ketchup mixed together, with a bit of course pepper if desired. If Catalina French is your preference use more ketchup and skip the pepper. Thousand Island dressing is the french mix with sweet pickle relish to taste mixed in. Italian dressing is probably the most used and mixed homemade salad dressing. Olive oil and red or cider vinegar sprinkled over your salad with course pepper and kosher salt and you are done. Want typical Italian dressing? Mix three parts olive oil to two parts vinegar of choice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, one small clove of garlic, minced and a pinch or two of Italian seasoning and shake.
Quick garlic bread of the frozen version, there are many available and great to have on hand. From authentic loaves of Italian garlic bread sold in foil to the Pepperidge Farms to Texas Toast brands; garlic bread can be on hand for these impromptu meals. Making due with what you have is easy too. Any bread available will do. Butter slices, sprinkle with garlic powder or salt, dried parsley and Parmesan or favorite table cheese blend. Pop into your broiler until browned, cut into triangles and serve warm with your meal.
Water and milk are usually readily on hand for beverages. Adults may enjoy a bottle of wine or a cold beer if that is available. Sweet iced tea is a quick and easy alternative, as well. In a two quart pitcher place six bags of your favorite black tea and a cup and a half of sugar. Boil two quarts of bottled water and poor over tea and sugar, allow to steep while your meal is being prepared. Place pitcher in the freezer of add ice to chill. Before serving mix well, add a touch of lemon juice, or a few thinly sliced lemon or orange, any citrus fruit will do. Remove the tea bags and serve over ice.
Gather the kids to set the table, and serve. When serving these meals to your starving crowd bring the spaghetti or chili to the table right in the dutch oven. Rustic meals are comfortable and fun. In no time the crowd will be around the table extending the visit and fellowship over your culinary expertise.
Feeding an unexpected crowd, as one can see, is quite easy and economical. Simply utilizing what is on hand, instead of choosing to do the take out or fast food thing, makes it much cheaper. These two meals feed a crowd at about the rate of two to three dollars a person. Quite the affordable solution to a long, friendly visit.
Hope you enjoyed the articles…good ideas there for your next fellowship meals and pot luck church get together!
Be Blessed Loves! 🙂