We love to entertain. Seriously. It’s like our favorite pastime. So I’m always on the lookout for following or creating a great recipe that’s also easy. I confess that I’m not an amazing cook, but I am a fairly good one, and when my husband says, “Let’s have that again…soon,” or when a guest asks for the recipe, I know it’s one I want to use again! [I must add here that I’ve had some total flops, but we’ve laughed and moved on to the veggies and dessert to fill us up!]
Recently, while reading through the book of Titus, it struck me that the word hospitality is used only a few times in the Bible. Twice it refers to all of us (men and women) who are believers (see Romans 12:13 and 1 Peter 4:9), and twice it is given as a description of the men who are leaders in the church (see 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8). So dear friends who speak to ladies’ groups, may I lovingly ask that you please not twist the truths of Scripture or guilt the women into feeling that they must spend hours on Pinterest searching for unique entertaining ideas and gourmet recipes to display their godliness and as though hospitality rests entirely on their shoulders. Hospitality comes from the heart of an individual (man or woman) who focuses on others—using his or her time, talents, and resources to be an encouragement to others! It takes neither great wealth nor great time—just a great big ol’ heart!
So I’ve started a little recipe file of my own, and I’m calling the items that go in there “Come on Over” dishes: Come on Over Meatloaf; Come on Over Steaks; Come on Over Chicken (or Beef), etc., because I want our home to be a place where things don’t have to be perfect and where we can therefore have the freedom to say, “Come on over” without cause for panic! Ya’ll are honestly the best readership in all of blogdom, so I simply must share some of these with you! I won’t promise to post one every Thursday, but I certainly will try! That way you can have them in time to try them out over the weekend and say to someone, “Come on over, I’m trying out a new recipe tomorrow!” If I made up the recipe, I’ll take credit. If I got the recipe somewhere, I’ll give credit.
But first, there are three basic principles I would encourage you to follow:
- Buy ahead, prepare ahead, freeze what you can. But if you have to buy it that morning, that’s fine too!
- Keep it simple. For an informal gathering, I generally serve a meat, a vegetable, and a salad/or sliced fruit/or applesauce. Three items. One beverage option for the meal (water…with lemon slices available—if I remembered to buy a lemon). One dessert…a simple one (more on that next time).
- Set the table early. It’s a mental thing for me. When I can picture the table and “see” the food on the plates, I know more clearly what I have to do to make that actually happen! Again, it’s a mental thing, but I generally set the table once our noon meal is complete and once the dirty dishes are cleared away. (We happen to have a formal dining room, so when we’re going to eat in there, I generally set the table the night before!)
No pictures of the food this week, but I’ll try to add some photos now and then in the future. Seriously, I’m almost embarrassed to share this first recipe, because it’s obnoxiously simple! I totally cheat and serve it with canned or frozen green beans and applesauce from a jar. That way, we can see someone at church and say, “Come on over for lunch after church today!”
“Come on Over” Chicken (or Beef)
Prep time: 5 minutes (seriously)
Cooking time: 3 hours-ish in a crock pot
From the kitchen of Brenda Henderson; based on a recipe from my friend Linda Taylor
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (add more time and a little more sauce if you want to make 6 or 8 of either the chicken or beef)
4 ground beef patties (1/4 pound patties — I buy ground beef in 5-pound packages and make the patties ahead, keeping them in the freezer and ready to use)
- 1 jar salsa (whatever “spiciness temperature” you like)
1 regular-sized can of stewed tomatoes (we like the “Italian Blend” because of the spices)
In other words, you will only use TWO ingredients!
Directions (Seriously, I’m embarrassed at how simple this is!):
- Put the meat in the crock pot. (I put mine in straight from the freezer, but thawed is fine too!)
- Cover the meat with the salsa OR the tomatoes.
- Cook three hours-ish on low. (In other words, if it’s in there longer, it won’t hurt it. I’ve cooked it four hours before, and it was just fine. That’s what I love about the crock pot and about the sauce that keeps it from drying out!)
I plate our meals in the kitchen (rather than passing serving dishes) and put a little of the sauce on each piece of meat. If there’s any sauce (salsa or tomatoes) left in the crock pot, it put it in a bowl and pass it like a gravy that the guests can add to their meat if they want more.
Enjoy! I’d love to hear a follow-up report in the comments below if you try THIS recipe!