And soon as we made that a goal my next thought was, “What in the world will I make for these people I am having over?”
It might just be me but usually that thought causes me to panic.
I know I am a good home cook, but the thought of producing a Martha Stewart like dinner party causes me to sweat.
But here is what I have learned. Few people like a dinner party-esque type of get togethers.
People love simple food, prepared well which is why I served chili and grilled cheese at the last “dinner party” I hosted.
I might add that I also had worked a full day, rushed home and had about 20 minutes to prepare before my guests arrive.
You read that right. I made grilled cheese for dinner guests.
And it was the easiest stress-free meal.
But the key to making a simple meal great is quality ingredients, which in total cost me about $15 for 4 people (with leftovers).
That totally kicks any good restaurant bill in the pants.
I purchased fresh bakery bread and a nice melting cheese to make the sandwiches, but a day in advance I prepared a simple chili from the recipe my mother always used.
Then after the guests arrived I threw together an arugula salad with an orange honey mustard dressing which I made by blending a little orange juice, Dijon mustard, honey, olive oil, and s/p.
I am going to make easy entertaining recipes a series this year because if you are like me you need all the encouragement you can get when it comes to hosting people in your home.
Here is my mother’s recipe for basic chili.
Mom’s Slow Cooker Chili
- 2 lb ground beef (or venison)
- 2 small onions, diced
- 4 tsp chili powder
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1- 28 oz can tomato sauce
- 2- 28 oz cans petite diced tomatoes
- 3- 14 oz cans beans, drained and rinsed (I prefer black beans)
- salt and pepper to taste
Brown ground meat in a large skillet. Drain fat from the skillet if using beef. Return meat to the skillet and add onion, spices and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes over low heat.
Add meat mixture and the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve with hot sauce, shredded cheese and sour cream.
Freezes well up to 3 months.