First, I have to apologize because I was so busy cooking and
WB was so busy entertaining that I don’t have very many pictures of the food. But, I do have the recipes for those who want to try them out.
The menu for my MIL’s 70th birthday party fell together after we had decided on the flowers and the casual/classy spin we were trying to take on things. Okay that, and the fact it is Texas and July so of course we had to do some sort of spicy meat thing. Let me share a couple of my entertaining secrets. First, look for dishes you can prep or mostly prepare ahead of time. This way you aren’t going crazy in the kitchen as your guests are arriving. Or find dishes that people can help you with. Another secret, I have my family favorite dishes I like to prepare and I have my “go to” cookbooks for entertaining. Two of my favorites are Ree Drummond /The Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook and Rebecca Rather’s Cookbooks. Both are amazing cooks and both know how to entertain.
The menu for the party was Spicy Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork from the Pioneer Woman. It is so very simple to make. Just take a pork shoulder and salt and pepper it. Put it in a Dutch oven. Dump 2 cans Dr.Pepper, 1 can chipotle peppers with adobe sauce, one whole onion wedged and a couple tablespoons brown sugar in with the meat. Put it in the oven at 300 degrees and cook a 6-8 lb. roast for about 6 hours. I love this because anyone can make this, but everyone who tastes it thinks your amazing.
I served Jalapeno-Cilantro slaw with it, just like Ree suggested. You heap the pork and the slaw onto a toasted bun and you have a divine sandwich. I felt the need to explain to my guests just how to put their sandwiches together. They are family, they are forced to love me and my instructions on eating.
Next up was the One Pot Cajun Potato Salad from Rebecca Rather’s Pastry Queen Party Cookbook. This, too, was super easy. Take a 1 lb. of red potatoes, cut in half if they are larger then a golf ball. Put in a pot of water and bring to a boil until tender. Drain. Add 3/4 cup butter, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir. Add 1/4 cup parsley leaves as garnish.
And it wouldn’t be a southern summer gathering if mason jars weren’t involved. Okay, it might be a southern gathering, but it wouldn’t be as much fun. The Layered Salad in a Jar was my favorites to make. This salad would be perfect for picnics and days at the beach. This also comes from Rebecca Rather.
First, you need pint size mason jars. You fill the first layer with cooked orzo and a little of the dressing.
Next, you layer with a cucumber, green onion, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes. The next layer is a mixture of feta cheese and oregano. On top of that add either baby spinach, arugula or a mix of baby greens. Last, sprinkle some toasted pine nuts on top. Drizzle with some of the dressing and screw on the lid.
The dressing is made by mixing 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, 2/3 cup olive oil, salt and pepper and 1 cup feta cheese.
These can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 hours before and when the guests pick them up all they have to do is shake and eat.
My mom and sister made a fruit salad served in a watermelon basket and we had homemade Pico de Gallo and chips, along with some yummy Sangria. The sangria was a mix of Pioneer Woman’s and my Dad’s additions (specifically, more alcohol).
It was just a wonderful weekend of eating, visiting, and having a good time together. I love weekends like that.
Do you have a recipe you like to make when you have a crowd? I’d love to hear it.