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Unexpected Visitors for Dinner…


Darienne
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One more thing I keep on hand that makes for quick meals and (at least in my part of the country) will please most guests:

Bayless's ancho chile seasoning from his Mexican Kitchen book freezes really well and can quickly be added to beef, pork or chicken to make really great tacos, burritos, chimis etc... It's so much better than using dried seasonings.

I also keep pickled red onions on hand that I like as a topping along with the typical lettuce, tomatoes, cheese etc...

Mexican style rice is an easy and quick side and doesn't require anything that most people don't keep on hand.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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One more thing I keep on hand that makes for quick meals and (at least in my part of the country) will please most guests:

Bayless's ancho chile seasoning from his Mexican Kitchen book freezes really well and can quickly be added to beef, pork or chicken to make really great tacos, burritos, chimis etc... It's so much better than using dried seasonings.

I also keep pickled red onions on hand that I like as a topping along with the typical lettuce, tomatoes, cheese etc...

Mexican style rice is an easy and quick side and doesn't require anything that most people don't keep on hand.

I love Mexican food (and Indian and Thai and Sichuan and you name it in the hot/spicy/exotic variety). It doesn't have to be either hot or spicy...but much of North American cooking has little interest for us. And although I did as little cooking as possible for most of my life, we never ate a quote/unquote conventional diet.

Perhaps this thread was prompted by that strange and not very satisfying dinner arrangement last weekend in which everything I suggested was vetoed for some reason. Our guests kept saying they ate a lot of chicken and vegetables with no spices and so that's what we gave them. But I am not at my best with just chicken and vegetables I fear.

Maybe I just need some chicken recipes on hand... :raz:

Oh well, I learned a lot in this thread thanks to all of you.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I try to never have people over. :laugh:

That being said, I always make a lot of chunky spaghetti sauce that I freeze. I realize that some have low carb issues etc., but it's a good go-to meal.

Also, I like to do a slow-cooker pork chile verde and then freeze the rest. I buy these awesome cheese enchiladas from a guy at work, but you could easily make your own and freeze them. These come frozen in foil and thaw out beautifully. Anyway, I thaw out the verde and enchiladas and voila, dinner. :smile: In a pinch you could always use canned refried beans, but, when I make beans from Rancho Gordo, I always freeze a bunch. They hold up great.

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People who eat chicken and vegetables without any spices get chicken w lemon and garlic, and steamed whatever.

Remember, its the conversation, right????

And keep some good salsa around, to put on your plate.

This may explain the ever present sriracha sauce on this forum.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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The easiest Chinese dish I know of is Soy Sauce Chicken. It's simply chicken that's been boiled in a "master sauce" consisting of soy sauce, sugar, and other seasonings. If you don't want to bother making your own master sauce you can buy it premade in a bottle next time you're at an Asian market. After cooking you can save the boiling liquid for the next time.

Edited by sheetz (log)
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Shelby. Slow cooker pork? I guess so! Love it! On a bun. With fried onions. And this really neat Tex-Mex potato recipe I found. Or Mexican rice. Cole slaw. Love pulled pork. Am working on a house BBQ sauce, but usually use leftover Puerco Pibil sauce. Perhaps more Canadians have no experience with southwest or Mexican food. I was talking to the owner/chef of a recently opened Mexican restaurant. "Where are the pork dishes?" I asked. "You can't sell pork in Peterborough. They won't touch it". He answered. "Just beef and chicken". No fish either. (Except fish and chips.)

Kouign. And conversation. Yes. Lemon with chicken is a good idea.

I think I was thrown by having one after another suggestion thrown. And when I said "salmon with lime" and she said she didn't like salmon...I just said. Fine. Steamed chicken and stir fry.

The problem was that I was by then really tired and pretty stressed, and what I was looking for is the answer to that problem.

I have learned a lot this time around. Thanks.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Panfried meat of some kind with pan-gravy, mash and steamed veg works well for me when I'm dealing with last minute guests whose food tastes are unknown. Chicken with white wine and thyme in the gravy is good, and so is boneless pork chops with a bit of madiera and some prunes (my mother used to make pork chops Flanders, which is what inspired this version). I try to freeze my meat in flat packages to make it quicker to thaw at the last minute. I love some of these other ideas, and will use them myself! What guest wouldn't love pancakes for dinner (excluding celiacs)?

We also do a super quick cream soup made from frozen peas and the water they are cooked in, then flavour it with lemon, bacon or parmesan or whatever else comes to mind (inspired by a post by Shalmanese) and a dash of cream. It comes together in way less than 10 minutes and makes a good first course if you're scrambling to stretch a meal. I use a thicker version as a pasta sauce, but its colour can be off putting!

I used to make a large amount of perogies at the start of every winter and freeze them for quick meals. The dough I use is quite soft and so they were delicious just boiled and topped with the usual accompaniments. Also it turns out those crispy Asian shallots make a good substitute for fried onions in a pinch, and Greek yoghurt works well instead of sour cream (you can imagine the scenario that led to that discovery...).Aussies don't know what they are, but everyone enjoys them.

In summer I have made vaguely Asian noodle salads with soba noodles, shredded cabbage or some sort of lettuce, capsicums (peppers) and green onions, shredded carrots or whatever else is lying about. The dressing is a vinaigrette type with peanut oil, sesame oil, ginger wine, sugar and a bit of soy, and I add whatever extras take my fancy and are around the house: crispy shallots, toasted nuts, herbs, etc. We have it with no meat, grilled meat, with leftover meat mixed in, or with some pan fried mince mixed in. I do this for us often, I've also done it a number of times for guests and it always goes over well and the nice thing is its so flexible depending on what you have around and very quick.

For last minute desserts (and frequently for planned desserts) we just make a big platter with some bits and pieces scattered over in piles: broken up dark chocolate, nuts (plain or JAZ's sweet and spicy nuts from this site), dried fruit and whatever else seems good, served with coffee and port or liqueurs. It gives an excuse to linger at the table, uses things we usually have on hand, and there's no stress involved.

Edited to fix grammar.

Edited by Snadra (log)
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.......

For last minute desserts (and frequently for planned desserts) we just make a big platter with some bits and pieces scattered over in piles: broken up dark chocolate, nuts (plain or JAZ's sweet and spicy nuts from this site), dried fruit and whatever else seems good, served with coffee and port or liqueurs. It gives an excuse to linger at the table, uses things we usually have on hand, and there's no stress involved.

Edited to fix grammar.

I'll be stealing this idea. :laugh:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Thanks Snadra. Lots of good ideas. Added to the growing list.

This has been a bit of a learning experience for me...with the realization that I don't really feel at home with a lot of basic North American/Aussie dishes. For instance I have still never cooked a pork chop in my life. And I've never roasted a chicken. Much to learn.

DH did much of the basic cooking for years as I a) avoided cooking as much as possible and when I cooked b) cooked almost exclusively from non-North American sources. Odd. Oh well, just think of all the challenges left to me to try. At this rate, I'll have to live for half of forever. :raz:

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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In Australia, pretty much anywhere more than an hour or two from a city, like I am, is out in the never-never. No matter how lovingly cooked and wonderful smelling something is when I freeze it, it always has that unloved, abandoned, frozen-hearted feel when thawed. So I rely on my pantry shelf instead. Dried Radiatori Pasta, (those big fat luscious radiator grills) with a good jar of Arrabbiata sauce is always a guest pleaser. And for a surprisingly good, all-pantry-shelf, Thai Red Lentil Curry, just fry some onion, add some chopped carrots and stir in 2 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste from a jar, add 2 cups of water with stock-powder, 2 cans of brown lentils and then a can of coconut cream and a couple of handfuls of raw cashew nuts... Then just throw in any other canned veg, like, a can of sliced bamboo shoots, sliced water chestnuts, baby corn, chopped tomato etc. It just simmers for 10m till the carrot is cooked. :smile:

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No matter how lovingly cooked and wonderful smelling something is when I freeze it, it always has that unloved, abandoned, frozen-hearted feel when thawed.

You hit it right on the head. I can't seem to get my DH to see this, but I feel it deeply inside. And no, I will not serve frozen pizza any more. Not in this life. Unless it's for teenagers. Those days are long gone.

Put that together with the astounding number of folks in Canada...maybe we just pick people who are this way :raz: ...who don't do spicy / hot / exotic / foreign / etc and Houston, we have a bit of a problem.

Or maybe too many of our friends are as old as we are and by this time have developed all kinds of digestive problems. We are lucky?

And maybe many Canadians are not exposed to 'foreign' cuisines. It's only recently that we could buy so many of the ingredients needed.

Or maybe I am too new to cooking and have not assimilated so many of the basic recipes and concepts. Not that I can't do it, but that I can't do it blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back. And the thought of serving my cooked food to friends throws me.

My DH keeps after me to serve Chinese food. He thinks mine is the best he has ever tasted. Ever. Seriously. :raz:

And so, this morning, we are going to sit down and figure this one out for future reference. I should add that he does the mises for me and all I have to do is to cook it ( :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: ). Right. And I might add that I have typed out the most clear-cut step by step instructions for said mises for each dish.

As noted in my last post. This thread has been an unexpected learning lesson for me. Thanks.

CulinaryLibrary: I read your statement out loud to my DH and I said: a great statement. It just resonates. That's the word: 'resonates'. How I feel too.

Edited by Darienne (log)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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You are forbearing. By the time I get that many 'I cant/ I wont eat that', I'd be inclined to serve pb&js.

On what? She can't eat gluten...and that is completely legit. :wacko:

On rice crackers. My point being that after a while, I would have given up.

You could learn moo goo gai pan. White sauce ( sue cornstarch), chicken, vegetables. Sort of chinese chicken ala king. With steamed rice (20 min while you do the rest), you are gluten free.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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And the thought of serving my cooked food to friends throws me.

do you have time to explain further? I'm not understanding the meaning of that statement.

If I am having guests over for an impromptu meal, we are likely serving something out of the freezer: fish (frozen in individually wrapped portions) which cooks from frozen; chicken breasts (also in portion packs) defrosted in a bowl of cold water while we have our first cocktail; or soup/stew which is refreshed with sauteed fresh onions/garlic and possibly carrots. Having access to fresh herbs from the balcony garden, or pesto from the freezer, helps.

One of my favourite pantry-meals: Nicoise salad... good quality tinned tuna, steamed diced potatoes, hard-cooked egg, pickled beans, olives, mustard-y vinaigrette; on a bed of lettuce or other greens if we have any. On the table in 30 minutes, with a little help from an ice-bath for cooling potatoes and eggs.

Karen Dar Woon

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Thanks again for more posts, all.

Kouign: will do that. I have not wanted to eat chicken for a long time now and have so few recipes for it. Cooking chicken will be one of my aims now. Thanks.

Kaszeta: always have pesto in the fridge but have never frozen it. I guess I don't make that much at once and I guess I also thought it pretty much kept forever. I have added extra olive oil to it on occasion. Hmmmm.

KarenDW: Don't know exactly why. Of course I do use frozen ingredients. It's the frozen fully prepared dishes that I am reluctant to serve. I think it stems partly from my sense of not being an experienced cook except in a very few areas. I spent most of my life avoiding cooking as much as I could, and am feeling that a woman of my age should be able to put on an excellent meal at a moment's notice...and I really can't. Thus perhaps my insecurities. Perhaps more than you wanted to know... :sad:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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And maybe many Canadians are not exposed to 'foreign' cuisines. It's only recently that we could buy so many of the ingredients needed.

I'd have to beg to differ. I grew up in Edmonton (nickname - Deadmonton), which is hardly a multicultural mecca, but there is a tremendous "foreign" cuisine scene there, as well as ethnic markets that I still miss. And according to Mom, it was that way from at least the 70's when my folks moved out there. Perhaps it's a Peterpatch thing?

This said: Guests over? The quickest meal I know is to premarinade chunks of turkey or chicken, freeze 'em, and then just pull them, completely frozen, into a hot pan with fresh chopped veggies. They thaw as they cook, and voila! Instant stirfry. If you've got no-carbers, simply don't serve them the glass noodles (ping or bean thread are my faves - and they're good for the no-gluten crowd since they're not technically made using grain. They're also wicked-fast cookers and can be done while you're tossing the stirfry).

And, me being me, I always have at least cinnamon buns or cookies in the house for dessert. No carbers (there are very few here) get chopped fresh papaya or whatever fruit I have on hand. If they spring a visit on me on a Sunday, that's a banana on the edge of skankiness, but hey - my friends know they should give me a day's notice before coming for dinner!

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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People who eat chicken and vegetables without any spices get chicken w lemon and garlic, and steamed whatever.

Remember, its the conversation, right????

And keep some good salsa around, to put on your plate.

This may explain the ever present sriracha sauce on this forum.

Sriracha & Good Salsa.. should not be on the same sentence... in my humble opinion. The garlic is very harsh, it is too sweet... its like having Worcestire sauce as a table condiment. Oh well... of the bottled, versatile hot sauces I am partial to another Vietnamese sauce... Sambal Oelek (I have known quite a few Vietnamese born foodies... none would consider Sriracha as a table sauce)

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Sriracha isnt good salsa, but it does a nice job of adding heat and its stable at room temp even after being opened. I dont know if its really vietnamese or inspired by something asian. Its made in CA.

So, if you are forced to cook bland for others, I'm just saying keep something around for yourself, to compensate.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I'd have to beg to differ. I grew up in Edmonton (nickname - Deadmonton), which is hardly a multicultural mecca, but there is a tremendous "foreign" cuisine scene there, as well as ethnic markets that I still miss. And according to Mom, it was that way from at least the 70's when my folks moved out there. Perhaps it's a Peterpatch thing?

My abject apologies, PanaCan. I cannot imagine why I said such an all-encompassing remark. You can't get much more multicultural then Toronto. I'm just lucky that no Torontonians read my foolish remark.

However....Peterborough? Not cosmopolitan nor multicultural. Except around the university maybe. We do well for Asian foods in our local Asian market...even some fresh things...but that's about it. Our daughter's BF is from Grenada and he always comes laden with stuff from the GTA and then he cooks for us.

Deadmonton...I like that.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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