Cooking {Real Food} for Company: Main Course Edition

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P
er my recent post on whole food hospitality, I thought I’d share some recipes that meet my criteria for cooking for company: simple, relatively frugal “real food” that’s not (too) weird.

Now, by frugal I’m not saying bring out the ramen; I just mean I probably won’t make 10 organic, grass-fed beef hamburgers for everyone.

I love to cook and enjoy a full meal with friends, so I’ll start by sharing some dinner recipes that I’ve found to be easy and widely enjoyed.  At least, no one has complained to my face.

Note: While I’ve provided links to some, others are my own simple concoctions. Please excuse the overuse of “ish,” “whatever,” and the imprecise measurements.

Main Courses

Taco Salad  ::  Recipes abound, so pick your fav. My quick version is below.

Easy Taco Salad: Brown some ground beef–I often throw in some lentils for extra bulk–with onions, stir in some cooked black or pinto beans, add a little taco seasoning (I use a homemade blend of cumin, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder) and throw all of that over tortilla chips and some shredded spinach or romaine.  Top with cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, and whatever else your heart desires.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie  ::  I know, I said “not weird.” But if your crowd is even slightly into the whole Paleo thing or you think they could handle something a bit off the beaten path, give it a try. It’s pretty awesome.

Chicken Tortilla Soup  :: With toppings of cheese, avocado, and sour cream and a side of tortilla chips or cornbread, this one is a definite fav around my house.  The recipe I use originally came from All Recipes, but I couldn’t find the link.  So, here it is with a few mods:

Ingredients: 6T olive oil, a few handfuls of organic corn tortilla chips, 4 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup cilantro, 1 diced onion, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 2ish T cumin, 1ish T chili powder, 3 bay leaves, 6 cups chicken broth, 1 t salt, 1/2 t cayenne pepper, 2ish cups chopped (cooked) chicken

Directions: Heat oil, add garlic, cilantro, and onions.  Then add chips and tomato and bring to a boil.  Add spices and broth, then salt and pepper and cook for about 30 min on med-low.  Finally, add chicken and let sit for 5-10 min.

Other add-ins: black beans, pinto beans, corn (although searching for non-gmo corn is like searching for the chupacabra).

Chocolate Chili  ::  The recipe calls for beef but you could easily make it a vegetarian dish by substituting beans.

Hamburger Salad :: I got this idea from a friend and it’s become a favorite at my casa, especially during the summer grilling months.

How to: Grill some burgers*, then chop up them up and serve the meat over a bed of shredded lettuce or spinach.  Add typical burger fixings–cheese (I shred it on top of the meat), tomatoes, avocados, onions, whatever.  I like to sauté the onions in some butter and get them all nice and caramelized.  I make a “dressing” out of ketchup, mustard, and mayo mixed together and drizzle that on top.  Serve with a side of homemade sweet potato or french fries!

*Frugal factor: Make the burgers smaller than usual; the meat is only a feature of the salad, so you don’t need lots! 🙂

What are your favorite dishes to serve friends?

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, having dinner guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe. She is afraid to adopt kittens before the baby turns three.