Friday, May 17, 2013

My Go To Menu

In my last post, Hospitality - Are you Gonna Live It,  I referred to my "go to menu".  Let me explain, a go to menu is something you feel comfortable preparing.  This should be something that doesn't take all day to prepare, when you have guests over you don't want to spend the whole day in the kitchen, especially if you are not accustomed to having friends in your home.  The go to menu needs to be cost effective to prepare and I think something your family enjoys, if your family likes it there is a good chance that others will also.  When you invite others over, that is the best time to inquire about food allergies or preferences.  I don't usually  serve anything very spicy including Tex-mex, Italian or chili unless we have already had that conversation in advance.

I am going to share my go to menu with you today. At this point a warning is required, think Paula Deen.  It is southern goodness, and as much as my family might like this to make a bi-weekly occurrence on our regular family menu, it is reserved for guests or special days due to it's fat content.

I almost always serve grilled chicken breasts to first time guests.   Most people like chicken, I use the frozen breasts, you can often catch it on sale and it can be used in many different ways.  For this particular menu I marinaded the chicken before Mr. Wonderful grilled it for us.   This week I used marinade from The Right Recipe.  It was delicious and I will be using it again.  In a pinch a bottle of Italian dressing will work as a marinade.

My recipe for Hashbrown Casserole was given to me by Bonnie Cummins, she was a member of the first church we served, it has been around for years and there are different variations, but this is the one my family prefers.  Although I have tried to cut out condensed soups in most all of my cooking, this recipe will stay.

Hashbrown Casserole

1 bag of frozen hashbrowns, thawed
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1 16 oz sour cream
2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
1 can cream of celery soup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix last 6 ingredients together, then add hashbrowns. Put in sprayed baking dish.  (I use a 12x12).   Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

The Marinated Green Beans recipe came from Tammi Ogletree.  My son took this recipe to college with him and they are known as Jacob's Green Beans, he actually has moms of friends call him for the recipe.  

Marinated Green Beans

4 cans whole green beans
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 tsp garlic finely chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
1 c loosely packed brown sugar

Drain green beans and place in 9x13 inch baking dish.  Melt butter and mix with remaining ingredients to make a marinade.  Pour marinade over green beans, cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Bake at 350 degrees covered for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.

See why we don't have this often, but oh it is yummy.  I will spare you the brownie recipe I served, so as not to overload you on sugar and butter in one post.  I recommend you keep most of the nonperishable  ingredients for your go to menu on hand so you don't have to purchase everything at one time, stocking up on sale items as they are offered.

I didn't have anything when I issued the invitation, so I had to buy most everything.  That said I happened to have some good coupons and the final cost was under $25, not bad for 5 people and leftovers for lunch the next day.  Price included chicken breasts, hash browns, green beans, sour cream, soup,cheese, butter, rolls, evaporated milk (for dessert), lemons and lemonade for drinks and fresh flowers.

Now if I were a good blogger I would have a great pic of the finished meal, but I do not! 

 I hope you will be encouraged to come up with your own go to menu!  It doesn't have to be fancy, or even perfect to enjoy good fellowship!  Benefits of developing a  go to menu include  taking advantage of sales,  reducing  the stress of what will I serve, you already know!  Also if you choose things that are easy to prepare  you can enjoy being with your guests and not fussing with a complicated menu!  By putting all of your recipes in one spot there is no looking for what cookbook,  Pinterest board, or if you are like me, drawer where that recipe might be.  This makes things so much easier, you already have your menu, recipes assembled, non perishables bought, just a quick run to the store to pick up perishables and you are good to go.

I challenge you to come up with your own go to menu and cook it for your family, see what they think.     Maybe you already have a go to menu, I would love to share your recipes.

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  1. Thank you for sharing the recipes! Yes... I see why you wouldn't make these often... Just know I am about to make a "Soul Smothered chicken" ... so you can imagine the amount of butter there too! I might not even taste it! LOL! :P

    1. Soul Smothered chicken.........I am intrigued!

  2. I love this idea of a 'go to' meal. It makes the idea of last minute gatherings so easy! This also inspired me to think about a 'go to' menu plan for a week... all of the easiest meals I know that require few 'special' ingredients. I may have to post. I'll be sharing this post on my facebook page! Thanks!
    Tami @Around the Table with Tami

    1. Tami thanks for stopping by and for sharing my blog. I love the idea of a weeks worth of go to meals.