My husband and I have always been pretty fond of entertaining. Even in our tiny bungalow, we hosted dinners and porch hang-outs at least once a week. Now that we’re living in a house with plenty of room and twice the number of impromptu guests, we’ve had a house full of people even more often.
It seems like people put a lot of pressure on themselves when they invite people to dinner. The food must be spectacular and there should be a lot of it. My new theory is if you invite people over often enough you learn a simple menu makes everyone feel at ease and makes the most important part of the event just hanging out.
As evidence, Sunday’s dinner for friends was simple burgers, roasted red potatoes, a light macaroni salad and guacamole with chips. A simple menu easily prepared and served, plus if you have a picky family serving food to other people means you might actually get to taste something good once in a while.
I thought I’d share a few of those recipes today, although I mostly don’t have pictures because I am only a hack food blogger.
“Potatoes You Leave In The Oven Too Long”
This recipe was created by a friend who….you know….left the potatoes in the oven too long. It’s quite simple.
Quarter red skin potatoes and put them in a baking dish big enough to hold all your potatoes.
Drizzle with olive oil and whatever seasonings you’d like. Oregano, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. You can use all or none of these as you choose.
Place in the oven at 375-400 degrees and oops! Forget them until they’re all crunchy and toasty.
Light Easy Macaroni Salad
From Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food
1 cup elbow macaroni
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/2 cucumber seeded, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Cook pasta. Combine all other ingredients in a medium bowl. Drain pasta when done and rinse with cold water, add to bowl with mayo mixture. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
Watch your husband’s nose involuntarily turn up at this horrible mixture of mayonnaise and dill which smell distinctly like a pickle. Have a good chuckle.
My Favorite Guacamole
I found the best guacamole recipe last week and have made it four times since then. The only way this guacamole could be better is if it was easy to prepare a vat full and bathe in it. Short of that, up the hot pepper sauce as you see fit.
2 plum tomatoes; seeded and diced
1/2 med red onion finely chopped (I process mine so my picky pants spouse doesn’t see them).
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce (or more)
2 large ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
Combine tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, salt, cumin and pepper sauce in a medium bowl.
With a fork coarsely mash avocados in a large bowl. Stir in tomato mixture.
Cover mixture with plastic wrap, keeping air off your guacamole so it doesn’t turn a repulsive shade of brown.
Makes about 3 cups.
Tonight I’m hanging out with friends and tomorrow we’re having another family over to dinner. I love this cucumber dip but again the combination of vinegar and mayonnaise makes my husbands toes curl up in disgust, so I like to make it when we have company.
Cucumber Dip Which Is Very Good Unless Your Name Is Logan Summers.
5 small cucumbers, unpeeled
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp garlic salt, divided
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp chopped fresh chives
Grate cucumbers into small bowl (use a food processor if you have a good enough one, I don’t). Although I bought this one this weekend and it makes the job a lot less unpleasant.
Toss with rice vinegar, salt and 1/2 tsp. garlic salt. Cover and chill 8 hours. Drain cucumber mixture well, pressing between paper towels.
Beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, and remaining 1/2 tsp. garlic salt at medium speed with a mixer 1 to 2 minutes until smooth. Stir in cucumber mixture and chives. Cover and chill at least one hour.
Serve with pita chips.
This recipe makes a lot (3 cups), I usually halve it if I’m only serving it at one gathering.
Here it is, finished and chilling in the fridge waiting to ignite my husband’s gag reflex.
School has started for everyone except us, but we’re joining all of you a week from today. You could say I’m happy about this. Let’s talk lunches next week.