On Memorial Day, Tim and I had my family over for a simple lunch…of burritos and tacos, salad, carrots and rice. At least that is what I had planned. 🙂 When it came time to actually start preparing the meal, I realized I didn’t have any chicken bouillon, which was absolutely necessary for the Mexican rice. (Mistake #1) *sigh* Even though I knew that it wouldn’t taste as good, I was just going to use water. But Mom suggested that a few people run “quickly” to the store. (Our nearest grocery store is fifteen minutes away.) So the group of volunteers headed out…and Mom and I stayed behind with my two boys who were taking a nap. And we had fun talking and enjoying each other’s company. (Mistake #2) So when the volunteers finally made it back from the store, I knew lunch would be later than I planned. But I put everyone to work and, as quickly as was possible, we had lunch. Thankfully, my family didn’t mind that we ate our lunch so late.
So the lessons I learned?
1. ALWAYS make sure you have ALL ingredients on hand! Why is it that I seem to skim through recipes when I’m making my shopping list? I seem to have this habit of being out of something necessary for my recipe, although, believe it or not, I am getting better. 🙂
2. Fix AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE ahead of time. I should have taken advantage of the time we had while my siblings were out shopping and started cooking the meat, heating the beans and cooking the corn. Everything could have easily been reheated and it would have made for a less hectic time in the kitchen when the chicken bouillon finally arrived on the scene. 🙂
On June 6, we had 22 people in our home to celebrate Carter’s first birthday. The party was supposed to start at 2:00. However, since it was the first time most of our guests had been to our new home and it was an hour or more drive for everyone our last guest didn’t arrive until 2:30. Thankfully we were able to welcome them into our well air-conditioned home. (Success #1) (It was our first time using the air conditioner! :-)) Everything at the party went smoothly. We had enough cake, brownies and ice cream (Success #2). We enjoyed fellowshipping and talking with family members we hadn’t seen in a while. Around 4:30, I took the chicken pot pie that I had made the day before out of the refrigerator to heat on the stove for everyone. (Success #3) When the pot pie was hot all the way through I put it in three casserole dishes and topped them with biscuits and stuck them all in the oven. (Mistake #1) It took a while for the biscuits to cook, but eventually they were done and we were able to serve our guests dinner before they began their 1+ hour drive home. It was declared a delicious meal! (Success #4)
And the lessons I learned from this gathering are:
1. Plan for the comfort of your guests. The week before our party the temperature suddenly rose into the mid-eighties. We knew that with 20+ people in our home it would get quite hot. So Tim turned the air on before we left for church in the morning so that it was nice and cool when our guests arrived.
2. Make enough food. The night before the party we (my sister and a friend were out helping with the food preparation) were frosting the birthday cake. Thankfully, I thought to check if I had enough dessert and realized the cake would only serve 16 people. So we also made a pan of brownies.
3. I give my husband full credit for this one! Since each of our guests had a long drive home, we offered dinner to everyone before they left. So the night before I mixed up three batches of chicken pot pie. Around 4:30 the day of the party I heated the chicken pot pie on the stove, put it in 3 casserole dishes, added some refrigerated biscuits on top and stuck them in the oven. Easy, simple and filling.
4. Allow for extra time to get things done. Unfortunately, the pot pies took longer to cook than I had planned since I put all three of them in at one time.
5. When planning dinner for a party, pick something that isn’t strange or different. Something that has a high chance of being liked and enjoyed by everyone.
~ Carrie ~