Tips for Hospitality

We love the Hospitality command!
Over the weekend we had company stay with us over night and for several meals. In the midst of our busy weekend, I was given very little notice of this quick company stop off, however, it was a wonderful time of fellowship with some old friends! I tested several “expecting company” tips that I thought worked well.
1.) The day before they arrived, I quickly made out meal plans for supper, breakfast the next morning and lunch. My goal for the meals was simple hearty food, nothing elaborate and time consuming. I also made sure I had sheets washed and extra blankets the day before.
Supper – We had already planned for another family to eat supper with us before we knew about our incoming company…so we had 20 people for supper! I made a big pot of venison chili, a pot of rice and and 2 pans of corn bread, a large chocolate sheet cake, a smaller chocolate cake.
The chili is easy to make and works great if you let it simmer a good part of the afternoon. Not only do you not have to worry about cooking, but it makes the house smell really good! No recipe, just put in a little of this and a little of that until it turns out to be a big pot of chili 😉
I made the sheet cake the day before. Overall, my supper prep time was very minimal and consisted of mainly of whipping up the cornbread and the smaller cake and letting it bake.
2.) In preparation for breakfast, I took a few short cuts that really ended up saving me a lot of time. Breakfast needed to be enough to feed 13 people a meal large enough to do some “farm work” on. Because we were going to our friends house later on that day (with our company) to help with processing their chickens, I planned a big country breakfast.
I did as much prep work as possible the day before.
Thaw sausage – I laid out 2 sausage rolls to thaw in the refrigerator the day before.
Whip up eggs – I cracked and whipped up over 2 dozen eggs and put them in a plastic container the day before the breakfast. The morning of the breakfast all I had to do was heat up the skillet with a bit of butter and pour the eggs in. They were done very quickly without the added prep time.
Premake pancakes – The morning before I also quadrupled my pancake recipe and cooked a ton of pancakes the day before. I wasn’t sure how the pancakes would do, but they ended up being very tasty and worked great! I heated them up by placing them on a cookie sheet and with foil wrap over the top while I was cooking the eggs and sausage.
I quickly cut up a fruit salad as a last minute thing. However, you would be able to premake some of the salad by cutting the oranges and grapes up. I would add the bananas and apples just before serving or else they will brown.
Mix Juice the day before.
3.) Now moving to lunch. Tomato soup is easy to make and it was a big hit on a cool fall day. I did not premake it but in the future this would be something that could be pre-made.
A large can of tomato juice will make a very large pot of soup. I use a big can, enough milk to make it a creamy coral reddish pinkish color (really have no idea how much…just eye it and add more if it doesn’t taste right 😉 I also add heavy whipping cream and about 2 Tablespoons of butter, a couple of teaspoons of salt, grind some pepper, crush a small clove of garlic, add some parsley. The MOST important thing when making tomato soup is to add the tomato juice first and then sprinkle some baking soda BEFORE adding milk or cream! If you do not do this your milk will curdle. You have to neutralize the acid in the tomato juice before adding the milk. Also do not let your soup temperature rise above a simmer, heat slowly and use whole milk.
I cooked the grilled cheese and then placed them in a covered cookie sheet to stay warm. I have been told that making a bulk amount of grilled cheese in the oven is a easy time saver as well. I have done this in the past but didn’t think of it then.
Overall, with a little prep work the day before, hosting and feeding guests can run even smoother. Any other ideas or tips?
After all this, we were quickly off to our friend’s house to help them stock their freezer with their home grown chicken.