One of the things that helps me be ready at a moments notice to receive friends and visitors into our home is having a Repertoire of Recipes.
When I got married I set myself a few goals. One of these goals was to get a list of recipes that I was very familiar with, that gave variety but were simple to prepare. The idea was that when children arrived we would be able to continue to eat interesting meals and continue to invite people over, even if time was short.
The outcome of all this is that I have my favourite recipes that I can shop for and cook quickly without much notice or pre-thought. These recipes make up my Repertoire of Recipes.
I have noticed over the years that this repertoire has changed as my life circumstances have changed.
This is my current list .
Vegie platter with dip I cut up any vegies or salad goods I have in the fridge, make one or two dips (philly cheese/sour cream with flavoured tuna or French onion soup mix are my two favourites) Sometimes I serve crusty bread too.
Hamburgers I mix up the meat mix, and then while my husband cooks that on the BBQ I chop up salad to have with the bread rolls.
Chicken salad there are many chicken salad recipes buy a cooked chook, shred it and mix it with the other ingredients and serve with cruncy bread.
Bread Roll platters fill up a platter or two with all the salad goods you have in your fridge, I often buy a cooked chook though the platter looks just great without meat at all, bread rolls, and everyone makes their own. Dont forget the mayonnaise (which I always do till my husband asks for it!!)
Pasta with tossed vegies. (This is cooked pasta, bottled sauce or tomato can soup, and any chopped vegies I have in the fridge, plus canned kidney beans and corn) serve with a toss salad and crunch bread
Vegie Egg Bake (The kind you mix all the vegies, eggs, flour and cheese together bake it and it is delicious!) I like to have one of these in the freezer but this is only useful if you have the time to defrost before you need a meal!
If I have time to cook
Chicken drumsticks, rolled in flour, egg and stuffing crumbs. Baked. Served with Jacket potatoes, salad and crunchy bread
Salmon quiche salad and a bread roll
Spaghetti Bolognaise is always a success with adults and kids alike!
I love doing canned/bottled cherries juice and all, thickened with cornflower and flavoured with a huge dollop of chocolate topping. Heat this up stirring gently and serve with ice-cream.
Fresh fruit platter
Chopped up block of chocolate (I have found that people don't really care if they have a full-on dessert or not – but finishing the meal with a little chocolate feels special!)
What are the recipes that you can do quickly, that you can serve to other people. I encourage you to think about it, write it up so that the next time your husband says, Can we invite so and so home for lunch? You can have an hospitable reply of Yes! They are welcome!
I LOVE this idea of making up meal plans ahead of time! One of the reasons I'm so lousy at hospitality is because I make it SUCH a big deal. I once heard an inspiring Titus 2 woman speak,and she said she has a company menu for the summer and one for winter. Her summer one was grilled salmon, a jello salad, etc. and the winter one was roast w/ all of that. So she keeps the ingredients on hand and they can then invite anyone over without wondering what to cook. You're both geniuses!
BTW, I think it is worth a flight to Australia just to have some of your cherries. I've been on SUCH a cherry craving lately!
I think one of the easiest things to make is spaghetti. I have the recipe memorized and it's really not hard. Add to it a salad and garlic bread and it makes a really nice meal. It's also something very different for the Romanian people here. They really like it.