As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this nearly six-acre tract of land, this farmhouse, this domain—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

{31 Days of Hospitality} Day 13 ~ But What Will I Serve?

Not to Impress, But to Bless


You've invited guests for dinner or you've planned a party, and now comes the stress over what you're going to serve.  You don't want to spend untold hours in the kitchen and then be too tired to enjoy your gathering.  You worry that your main course may not be a success, or that your cake will flop.  You're intimidated by the lady who is a fabulous cook, or by the man who is finicky.  

(Ask me how I know.)  



How about a few tips about menu planning?  Here goes...

Keep it simple.  

Make it easy on yourself and don't overdo it.  Keep your menu basic.  If your main dish takes time to prepare, then plan for easy or make-ahead side dishes.  Allow your guests to bring something if they offer.  A few simply prepared but delicious foods are far better than a five-course meal and a stressed hostess.  

Remember, dinner is not your only choice in entertaining.  A dessert buffet is fun.  So is an hors d'oeuvre party.  Or take-out pizza after church.  

Make it manageable and plan ahead for success.  


Ask.

If you don't know, it's okay to ask your guest about his dietary restrictions.  It's okay to ask about preferences or definite dislikes.  Although most guests are very gracious about eating what they're served, it's helpful to me as a hostess to know what will make my guests happy and comfortable.  


Serve the tried-and-true.  

I can't tell you how many times I have broken this rule!  I like to experiment in the kitchen and try new things.  But if you're stressed about cooking for company, then be sure to stick with a tried-and-true recipe.  

What are the dishes you make that always turn out?  Look to those for menu inspiration.  

Or look for new recipes before you have extended the invitation, and try them out on your family first. 

Settle on a few "go to" recipes that you can fall back on as company dishes.  

I find it helpful to scribble down the menu when I have guests for dinner.  Having a list keeps me from leaving something in the microwave or in the fridge and forgetting to serve it.  But it also serves as a reference if I invite that person again, to keep from serving the same tried-and-true meal!


And most importantly (and I hope you're not getting tired of me saying it!)...

Remember that you're not trying to impress, but to bless.  

So if your meat is a bit overdone, or your layer cake is lopsided, but you warmly welcome your guests and make them feel comfortable, wanted, and loved, then you have been a good hostess. And you have blessed.



One of my "go to" recipes is a crock pot meal that we know as Wedding Beef.  Whence the name?

When my son Ryan was engaged to my daughter-in-law Sarah, we were eating dinner together one evening, and discussing plans for the rehearsal dinner.  We were tossing about ideas for places to hold the dinner when Sarah suggested that I prepare the meal (yikes!), and that we serve it in the fellowship hall of the church where the wedding would be.  "What would we serve?" I wondered aloud, and Sarah said, "How about this?"  

"This" was the dish we were eating that night, a pulled beef recipe from the Fix It and Forget It crock pot cookbook.  And "this" was served at Ryan and Sarah's wedding rehearsal dinner, and will forevermore be known (to our family at least) as Wedding Beef.  

Not only have I served Wedding Beef at the rehearsal dinner, but it has appeared on Sunday afternoons, at extended family birthday celebrations, at weeknight meals, and at company dinners.  We serve it on big crusty rolls, and rarely have leftovers.  

I'd like to share this easy recipe with you, my blog friends.  Perhaps it will become one of your "go to" recipes too! 





WEDDING BEEF



Ingredients:
  • 3-4-lb. chuck roast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary* (or 1 tablespoon chopped dried rosemary)
  • 1 cup water

Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in crock pot.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 6-7 hours.**  
  3. Shred meat, using two forks.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

NOTES:
* I use whole sprigs of rosemary from my herb garden.  (Little grands who are often my guests don't like the bits of rosemary in the beef.  I put the whole sprigs in for that wonderful rosemary flavor, and then take out the sprigs and the littles are none the wiser.)

** I sometimes take a shortcut by cooking on HIGH for 3-4 hours, then turning down to LOW to keep it warm until serving time.  



   


6 comments:

  1. Cheryl, that sounds like a great recipe! Going to print it out!!!

    I keep saying I need to make a list of "tried and true" recipes for planned company dinners. And one for "impromptu" dinners... our Moms and Grandmoms were experts at pulling a fast and filling meal out of the pantry when we "showed up" right around dinnertime! And a list for Church Potluck's... I always struggle with that!

    Thanks for the inspiration! Loving these posts!

    Kim :-)

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  2. I have my cooking-for-a-crowd recipes, and I'm afraid I've done a lot of repeats. I did not have good luck with that cookbook. I will have to try your recipe and see if I was just choosing the wrong ones. Thanks for all your good thoughts on this!

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  3. We love a chuck roast done this way in the crockpot. Perhaps I'll rename the recipe "Wedding Beef." It's so wise to ask about dietary restrictions ahead of time. The last time I hosted (outside of the family) was over a year ago and I had a vegan and a celiac. I knew that my friend was a celiac, but had no idea that she'd gone vegan. Oh my! (I was serving steak with herbed butter sauce...yikes!) I think my family gets too much of the same old same old. We love this for Christmas and you're getting it every year for the rest of your life. Ha!

    This series has been such fun!

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  4. Cheryl,
    I know this recipe would be a big hit here...I'll have to save it!

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  5. The recipe sounds yummy!
    I love your little saying "not to impress but to bless". That is such a good thing to remember when we are striving to be hospitable. I love to have company and sometimes I am afraid that my goal is impressing more than it is blessing and that is a very wrong focus. Thanks so much for that reminder.

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  6. That wedding beef sounds just like something we would love and serve to company. Saving this now, thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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