Monday, August 20, 2012

House Guests 201

As I shared yesterday, we recently hosted a family over the weekend and I want to share what & how I did, for my own future reference and also perhaps to help another reluctant host.  Today I'll share what I served for food.

For as many pictures as I had in the last post, this post is drastically missing any.  I didn't have an extra moment to snap pictures of any of our food.  All the pictures in this post are borrowed from the Internet.

I made up as much food ahead of time as possible.  I did not want to be in the kitchen all weekend and I definitely did not feel like I was.

For drinks, I made tea syrup from a recipe that Deborah shared with me.  Then I froze it in pint size servings, which make 1 gallon each.  I had a galvanized 1 gallon cooler with iced tea and a 2 gallon cooler with water available at all times.  We drink filtered water so over the month prior to their arrival, every time we emptied a gallon jug I rinsed it well, filled with filtered water and popped it in the freezer.  This way we didn't have to constantly refill the water filter or wait for filtered water.
In the mornings I made coffee and heated up hot water.  I laid out a variety of tea bags and a container of hot cocoa mix which was a huge hit with the children.

I had a meal planned for Friday evening but our company didn't arrive in time for dinner.  So Friday evening before we left for church I put the dessert, apple crisp, in the oven and put it on time bake so the house smelled so comforting and homey when we arrived home.  I served it hot with ice cream but the most delicious part of the snack was the fellowship!

Saturday breakfast: Sausage & egg casserole (I made the day before but I often make and freeze this as long as 2 months ahead of time), watermelon & cantaloupe, orange and apple juices, hot drinks

Saturday lunch: Grilled Chicken in the Crockpot (this is a recipe that Jill shared with me, it was so simple and so delicious) served with barbeque sauce, Corn on the Cob in the Cooler, Frozen Berry Cups (another recipe shared by Deborah...I feel like I should say this post was brought to you by the King girls, tee hee), Lemon Cake

Grilled Chicken in the Crockpot
Chicken Breast (the recipe didn't specify amount, I used a double recipe of marinade for 5 pounds of tenderloins)
1/4 c butter 
1 c vinegar
1/8 c salt 
2 T water
1/2 t pepper 
1 t poultry seasoning
1 c b sugar.  

Boil all ingredients together, pour over chicken, marinade 2 hours.  Grill chicken for 5-10 minutes (chicken will NOT be cooked, I cooked tenderloins for 5 minutes since they are small).  You can freeze at this point.  Make a fresh batch of marinade WITHOUT the salt this time, thaw chicken, put chicken and fresh marinade in crockpot, cook on HIGH for 2 hours.

I was very leary of the amount of salt and vinegar in the marinade recipe but it was not overly salty (make sure to omit the salt from the second batch of marinade) and the vinegar really helped to make the meat tender.  Also the fat from the butter in the marinade helped the chicken to not stick to the grill.  This chicken was very tasty, tasted fresh off the grill but neither Mr. Steady nor I had to take time away from our guests to stand over a grill!

I was also not certain how the corn-in-the-cooler idea would work so I tried it out several days ahead of time.  You simply boil water, husk your corn and put it in a large cooler, pour the boiling water over it and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.  Mr. Steady was afraid it would ruin the cooler.  I used a different cooler each time (because of amounts) and both times I heard a distinct *pop* but neither cooler seemed damaged in any visible way.  I haven't used either one for cold items since but if I have a problem, I'll report back.  The first attempt I tried husked and non-husked corn.  Both cooked and tasted great but since we were serving a lot of children and you have to handle the corn hot if you cook it in the husk I decided to husk it ahead of time.  That's a great job for the children to do.  Make sure you rinse out & wash the cooler immediately because I read that it can get pretty funky pretty quick if you don't.

The family was at another home for supper Saturday night.

Saturday evening snacks:  Cheese & crackers, cookies

Sunday breakfast: Vanilla yogurt, homemade granola with a variety of stir-ins such as raisins, dried cranberries, and chocolate chips, zucchini bread (made ahead of time and froze), orange and apple juices, hot drinks.  I knew this meal might be more rushed as we attempted to get 15 people up, dressed, fed and out the door for church so I made it very simple and pretty much self-serve.

Sunday lunch was a carry-in at church

Sunday evening we had pizza and snacks at the church afterwards but I set out veggies and dip and zucchini bread for a snack before we headed out the door to church.

Monday morning: Crockpot Egg Casserole, watermelon & cantaloupe, orange and apple juices, hot drinks.

I cannot find the link to the recipe I used for this but there are a lot of different recipes online for this idea.  I can tell you the basics.  It was 1 pound of cooked & crumbled bacon, 1 (32 oz) bag of frozen hash browns, 4 cups shredded cheese (I used a variety of sharp cheddar and co-jack), 12 eggs, 1 cup of milk, salt & pepper.  The recipe also suggested onions, peppers, and mushrooms but I omitted and stuck to the basics.  You start with your meat, then layer the hash browns and cheese, repeat layers to the top.  If you want to add veggies, layer those as well.  Then mix the eggs, milk and seasonings and pour over.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  This was so perfectly cooked and it served everybody with seconds plus Mr. Steady had a nice amount to take for his lunch.

I served all the meals buffet-style in the kitchen.  I used our regular dinner plates with disposable cups, napkins and silverware for each meal.  This way it was easy to keep up with dishes but we didn't create a huge amount of trash.  I bought some fun colored cups from GFS and had a lot of fun matching different napkins from my stash to the cups.  


  1. SHOW in the WORLD did you find out to do the corn in the cooler? Seriously best idea ever for large crowds or lots of people! I loved reading it! I love reading blogs with detail like that! Thats what I like most about blogging...blogging details and moments...makes us so much more thankful and happy! :)))

  2. Kristy - Pinterest :o) I find all my best ideas there and then copy them :o)


I love to hear your thoughts and reflections!