Very well, indeed!
Once again you’ve answered the call. You sent us a bunch of easy-cooking, money-saving, kid-friendly and creative ideas for blessing guests. We’ve compiled our favorites in this file which you can download, print, and save. I know my practice of hospitality will benefit from these tips for years to come!
Your hospitality recipes are up next, but here’s a sneak peek at some of our very favorite ideas from today.
With all the HGTV and Food Network shows, I think some of us feel pressure when showing hospitality. I know that when I am a guest, I feel loved when the hostess has taken the care to make me/us feel special. That doesn’t necessarily mean slaving all day for a Paula Deen spread.
I have found that Trader Joe’s has wonderful cheats for quick appetizers and desserts. They have fresh pizza dough that can be quickly rolled out, spread with their pesto in a jar, add freshly chopped tomatoes and some grated parmesan (already grated in a tub) and you have a beautiful summer bruschetta. Serve with cloth napkins and flavored seltzer waters or sparkling TJ lemonade and it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare.
I bought a round cutting board at a discount store and can quickly throw together a cheese board with 2 types of cheeses, 2 types of crackers and some grapes (use 2 colors) and maybe some strawberries. It feels elegant, but is not work at all.
Their tarts and flourless chocolate cakes can be set on a stand. Add fresh berries. Done.
One last elegant cheat is the frozen raspberry and brie in pastry. About $6 and can stay in the freezer ‘til needed. You can always garnish with some mint or basil from the garden. Or you can gather a few blooms in a tiny jar and stick in the center of your platter.
The idea is to keep things handy to pull out, use the semi-homemade line of thought and serve your guest without stressing (or not inviting because of the intimidation).
*I went through the church directory and made a list of people I want to invite and have paired up couples with things in common…2 couples expecting their first baby, 2 couples who are new to the church, etc.
*I’m single and live alone, so at least once a week when I cook I prepare enough for about 6, take out my portion and then either parcel out servings for a few other single friends, or share the rest with a family in the church.
*I try to always keep the ingredients for a few simple meals and desserts handy so I can whip something up quickly.
I’m a single mom and I eally enjoy being able to be hospitable. My son is 5 and loves to cook, so we often make a day of preparing. I choose a recipe that needs to bake for a long time and we make it together in the early afternoon, then straighten up while we race the meal in the oven (this also works well with a dessert made in the morning). This gives him a sense of ownership over the serving and heightens his anticipation of the evening. It also allows time for us to discuss appropriate behavior as we make preparations—we both prepare our hearts for the time with others, including prayers for godly responses to our guests and those in authority.
There are three specific groups of people I try to invite over, and I prepare for each differently:
1) If I invite a family with children over, I ask them to come 45 minutes to an hour before the meal. This gives the kids time to play, and me time to discuss seating and special needs for each of the children with the other mom. I usually make a casserole or enchiladas for this—something that frees me to serve as a hostess instead of a director tied to the stove.
2) If I invite a childless couple or singles over, I usually serve dinner a little later than normal. I specifically ask the guy (usually beforehand) if he would be willing to play with my son at airhockey or catch or some such thing before the meal—my son loves this, and is then usually more willing to engage in the conversation appropriately at dinner. I bathe my son before they arrive and he eats in his PJs. After dinner, he goes to bed so that Mama can have “adult time” with her friends, and while I am putting him to bed, I ask my guests to clean up the dishes or choose a game or movie (this may sound rude, but it enables us to have fellowship instead of me being on sink-duty all night).
3) If I invite the children of different families over, I do it in the afternoon or for an early dinner so their parents can have a date without getting a sitter. The kids play together, and if it’s age-appropriate, I have a cooking activity for the kids to all participate in—either a meal or a dessert for their family that they can take home with them. Bisquick Impossible pies are perfect for dinners and brownies for desserts, as they are simple and bake unattended, and we can get back to playing! I feed them something simple, like hot dogs or pasta, that can be ready in a few minutes. This really gives my son a chance to practice drawing others out and preferring them instead of being the “little entertainer” in a room full of accommodating adults.