Food with friends
Ever struggle for what to cook when you’ve invited people around? The struggle is real, I know it and so do you. I think the problem most of us run into is wondering how to fit it all in, in a limited amount of time. It’s either you are working all day and then don’t want to spend all evening in the kitchen whilst your guests entertain themselves, or, you’ve made the most of your weekend and packed a lot in so are only left with an hour or two. To make things that little bit easier for you guys I’m going to talk you through some of my easy dinner ideas for when I have to feed the masses : )
You may have had pulled pork before but pulled chicken is it’s lower calorie, lower fat and just as tasty cousin! Seriously, it is immense.
I devised this recipe from a range of my store cupboard ingredients making it an easy dish for most of you to create or at least substitute some of the ingredients if you haven’t got them.
I know I have previously raved about the merits of a slow cooker but I’m going to do it again and I’m not sorry. The beauty of a slow cooker is the fact you DON’T HAVE TO pre-cook anything. Honestly! Everything goes in raw, you toddle off to work or shopping or to meet friends and you come back with your tea cooked.
So the ingredients; I used chicken breast as it has an unreal amount of protein and is super low fat, a red onion and then to create the flavour base I dug out some brown sugar, chicken stock cubes, ginger, chilli. ketchup, lime juice, Worcester sauce and chilli sauce. It was then just a case of plugging in the slow cooker, pilling it all in with a cup full of water and then leaving it to do it’s thing.
I like to serve it up with some quinoa and fresh salad ingredients with a dollop of sour cream or on some lovely fresh rolls with a mixed leaf salad. It goes down a treat, means people can help themselves and if you’re lucky you have some leftover to make an awesome pie.
If you’re macro tracking as I currently am, it works out at 5.2g of carbs, 2.0g of fat and a whopping 38.6g of protein. This is for a 200g portion of the pulled chicken alone and comes in at a suprisingly low but filling 296 calories.
Secondly, if you’re a feeder like myself and make multiple courses then the easiest starter, light meal or picky board is an antipasti board! I do a few different variations of this but what it really comes down to is getting great produce and presenting them beautifully. This also works well along side a BBQ when we get the weather for it.
At a minimum, I have 2 different types of cured meats on the board with some pate before I even start to think about accompaniments. A range of cheeses and some bread, either crusty tiger stick or thinly sliced and grilled ciabatta work very well.
I love sun-dried tomatoes and just recently I’ve started making my own. It’s a lengthy process but takes very little effort and once it’s done you have a batch that can be stored for weeks if they last that long!
When it comes to accompaniments I always have sun-dried tomatoes, gherkins and either aioli, garlic mayonnaise or some sour cream dip. It is definitely down to personal taste but I like to have a variation of sweet, sour and creamy to go with the meats. Easy to do and it also means your antipasti board can be presented and served in 20 mins max!
Third up and another that is easy to cook in batches is my take on a classic Italian spaghetti alle vongole! By far one of my all time favourite dishes to cook and eat.
The great thing about Italian food is that it’s meant to be shared and eaten in groups, this recipe lends itself to increased protion sizes so it doubles or triples up really well.
Once the prep work is done the whole thing takes 8mins to cook! The onions, aromatics and wine all cook out in a few minutes and the clams take 4mins to open up, throw in the pasta and a handful of fresh parsley and you’re good to go. Incidently if you aren’t a clam lover or can’t get hold of fresh clams this recipe also works well with prawns and chicken.
Number four on the list is another variation of the one pot chicken and veg. Easy enough to prep and then just whack in the oven when you’re guests arrive as it only takes 20-25mins if you pre-heat the oven.
I always have the following in the house and it goes on my weekly shop without fail:
so this dish makes an appearance in some form. Even when I’m home alone as I know it’s quick and easy but healthy too.
I chop all the ingredients with some chicken into similar sized pieces then throw in a food bag. For a girl who despises washing up like I do, food bags are a kitchen staple. Into the food bag go some oregano, chilli flakes, garlic, lemon juice and of course, salt and pepper. This then sits in the marinade for a little while before going in an oven proof dish. Job done!
I’ve given you a range of ideas to try out that I think make cooking for crowds easier. Hopefully it’s also less effort than trying to decide how much you need to order from the takeaway to feed everyone AND it should be a lot quicker : )