Sunday, April 6, 2008

Let's Do Lunch

At our house, company in town usually equals lots of food. With my mom and Jim visiting this weekend, we decided to plan out our meals so that we didn't spend a lot of time trying to decide where or what to eat. We also wanted to avoid the aggravation of managing a bunch of little ones while our chosen restaurant tries to find us a table for 50 (okay--so it's closer to 13, but have you tried to get a table for 13 at dinner time?). Natalie and I split responsibilities for meals in order to make things a little easier.

So here we go, complete with recipes, lunch on Saturday:

In an effort to keep it simple yet filling, I made a salad that my family loves. I found this recipe in a cookbook our ward put together (a few years and a few ward splits ago). It was submitted by my friend Kristen and we have enjoyed it immensely over the year. Thanks Kristen! (I hope you don't mind if I share!)

Chicken Pasta Salad

1 head of lettuce (I use 2-3 hearts of romaine)
8 0z of cooked and cooled bow tie pasta
2 c. cooked chicken (cubed)
1 c bacon bits
1 c Parmesan cheese
ranch dressing

Mix first five ingredients together and serve with ranch dressing

For a bigger crowd I usually cook a full 16 oz of pasta. This is also good if you have small children who avoid anything green. In an effort to make things easier I often use Foster Farms frozen pre-cooked chicken. It has a really good flavor. (Kristen recommends using buffalo style chicken strips--I haven't tried that yet.) You can thaw it in a matter of minutes and it's ready to go. I also love to use Hormel fully cooked bacon from Costco (for all your bacon needs). You keep it refrigerated until ready to use and it only takes two minutes to cook in the microwave (and there is no need to deal with raw bacon--for those of you who don't know about my aversion to raw meat). I probably make things a little more complicated by grating my own Parmesan cheese, but I think the flavor is so much better. I also use Grandma Kopp's recipe for ranch dressing--there is nothing like it! And it is easy to make:

Grandma Kopp's Ranch Dressing

1 quart buttermilk
1 quart of Best Foods Mayonnaise (grandma says use no substitute!)
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp Accent (optional)

Whisk together and refrigerate. This makes a lot but the recipe is easily halved.

There you have it! Add some fruit and bread and you're good to go.

Saturday night my sole contribution (besides having it at my house) to Natalie and MRK's barbecue chicken and carne asada, was Grandma Wilson's deviled eggs:

Grandma Wilson's Deviled Eggs

6 hard cooked eggs, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup mayonnaise (this grandma does not mention Best Foods, but I never saw her use any other brand)
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp dry mustard

Remove egg yolks and mash. Mix with remaining ingredients until light and blended. Spoon into egg white halves (or you can place the mixture in a zip lock bag, clip off a corner and pipe it in). Refrigerate until ready to serve. Sprinkle with paprika.

Grandma also had her own recipe for hard boiled eggs:

Cover eggs with water by a generous one inch in a deep saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, uncovered, over high heat. Immediately take off heat, cover, and allow eggs to stand 25 minutes. Plunge eggs at once into cold water.

Normally, I use the above recipe when I am hard boiling eggs. But on Saturday I used my new Cuisinart Egg Cooker. I bought it with a gift certificate to Bed, Bath, and Beyond that I got from my dad and Diona for Christmas. I have only used it previously to poach eggs (primarily for Eggs Benedict--see here). But I used the hard boil option for my deviled eggs and it worked really well! In fact, it was easier than ever to peel them. The deviled eggs turned out to be very good thanks to grandma's recipe. And what is a barbecue without deviled eggs?

Stay tuned for my next post about this morning's breakfast: Crepes!


Anonymous said...

Your food looks terrific! Keep sharing the recipes...I love them!

Diane said...

Can I come to your house for dinner? It seems like I go in spurts preparing a "real" meal and then it is well, uh...less than what you would call dinner. Looks yummy!

Hacking it up said...

How fun for you to have your mom and Jim visiting! The food looks great! Have a fun visit! I love it when family visits us!

Linda said...

Everything was so good! Thank you Jennifer/Eric and Natalie/MRK. The weekend was so fun, and I don't want to go home! I guess all good things must come to an end!

Love you guys

Eliza said...

You are so impressive. You are intimidating to be friends with. Nevertheless, I find it is worth it.

Natalie said...

Thank you for all the yummy food. You are seriously the best cook ever. Keep the recipes coming.

Zachariah Parry said...

I have to comment on some of your interests:

I love grammar girl. I listen to her on the way to school and find myself nerdily nodding as she speaks.

I tried watching Battlestar Galactica - I couldn't get past the fourth episode. How'd you make it to season 3?

Intolerable cruelty is awesomely funny. Audrey and I share the guilty pleasure (guilty for me, not for her) of thinking the funniest line involves the f word and green salad.

Also, I love deviled eggs. I usually just mix the yolks with mayonnaise and add paprika, but I am going to try it your way next time.

Savannah E said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jenn E said...


Thanks for your comment. Allow me to comment on your comment:

Grammar Girl is the best. I subscribe to her weekly podcast and thoroughly enjoyed her audio book. I like that she is a stickler without being a snob. I have also enjoyed Eats, Shoots and Leaves and Woe is I, in the grammar book arena.

I love the Battlestar Galactica characters. I was also a fan of the original that came out in the 70's. (Written by a Mormon--fun to watch for the various gospel references.) I am having trouble getting into the 3rd season because I am currently too obsessed with Veronica Mars (I have been re-watching favorite episodes).

I look forward to watching Intolerable Cruelty as soon as I can, again, pull myself away from VM.

My grandma's Deviled Egg recipe is the best. I think it's the Worcestershire sauce.

Aivaz Family said...

You are so funny. Such a great entertainer. Lets play, k?

Zachariah Parry said...

I just made your deviled eggs. They were delicious. I ate 12 of them (halves).

I have read Eats, Shoots and Leaves, but not Woe is I.

Are you talking about Glen A. Larson? I have seen the original Battlestar Galactica kickoff movie, but never watched the series. But I was a fan of his other shows--The Fall Guy, Knight Rider, and Magnum P.I.

Anonymous said...

Jenn, you are an awesome cook. That salad is one of my favorites. Keep up the good work!


easleyfamily said...

I'm thinking of jumping in the car and taking a trip to Vegas this weekend for your yummy food...that and your company of course!!

Becky said...

So are you and Zach doing a blogchat?