If you missed last week’s episode of the story behind the menu, know that I am itching to pull off hosting people on a weekly basis, and I’m not so skilled at it just yet, but unless I do it, and figure out how to fix whatever I’m not doing as well as I want, I won’t get better at it. Or, more eloquently:
So I kicked things off last weekend…
Who: 11 friends, whom we call family
What: A birthday lunch
When: 1 hour after church (!!!)
Why: Because it was two of their birthdays, and because they had been to our house about a year earlier, to see the before edition of La Moneda, and we were excited to show them the after. In the before phase of our reno, we had no working kitchen, so we ordered pizza and called it lunch. This time, however, I had a kitchen. Pizza wouldn’t do, and I was working under some serious time constraints.
The thought process: I always try to give people a meat, a starch, and a veggie if I’m responsible for feeding them a well-rounded meal. While AGOMYR and I are content to live on buffalo chicken dip alone, these are responsible adults, who have been feeding themselves for years. I needed to prove I am, or at least, can sometimes be, one of them too. Because I needed food on the table but had about 0 minutes to cook it, I turned to the slow cooker for the main part of the meal. If I could get something in it in the morning, and have it cook while we went about our lives, that would be ideal. Chicken is always a crowd pleaser, especially if barbecue sauce is involved, so there was that decision. Hamburger buns just need to be unwrapped. Then I rounded out the menu with a pasta salad that could be served at room temperature (starchy), and green beans (veggie), which I keep in big bags in the freezer (thank you, Trader Joe’s). I often cook them ahead of time and reheat them when I need them.
Chips and guac
Veggies and hummus
Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken Barbecue (which I swear I’ve blogged before, but can’t find, so recipe below)
green beans with onions and garlic
a riff on my classic summer orzo salad
this show-stopper of a birthday cake from our friend, whose cakes are my favorite
What worked: We were with some of our favorite people, and they felt comfortable enough to linger for a while after eating. It’s never a bad time with this crew. And I felt good about what I managed to put on the table that could all be prepped in advance. I prepped the pasta and green beans the night before, and turned the chicken on in the morning. The only thing I had to do when we got back from church was reheat the beans, and set out the food.
What didn’t: I didn’t feel like I had enough food. I am someone who loves nothing more than to overfeed people. So while I don’t think anyone left hungry, I wish I had offered more options.
The chicken, however, is a wonderful staple that I’ve made multiple times. The recipe comes courtesy of Cari Faye, who also gifted us with its cousin, slow cooker buffalo chicken sandwiches.
To make zesty slow cooker chicken barbecue for 11, you will need:
- 10 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 20 oz. barbecue sauce
- 1 C Italian dressing
- 4 T Worcestershire sauce
Place the chicken in the slow cooker. In a bowl, whisk barbecue sauce, dressing, and Worcestershire. Cover, and cook 3-4 hours on high, or 6-8 on low. Use two forks to shred cooked chicken.