Fail Proof Menu for an Easy Successful Dinner with Friends
On my list of “Top 10 Favorite Things to Do” is sharing food around a table with friends, telling stories, laughing and soaking up friendships. Since I’ve only lived here 3 ½ years, all my friends are new. I’m still at the stage of initiating a lot and feeling ecstatic when I get an invitation to do something with friends!
I have just made another new friend. Well, not really. But I feel like she is my new best friend just by reading her book. And you will too. Shauna Niequist’s book Bread and Wine is most definitely a love letter of life around the table. She shares stories of experiencing life with friends and the heartache of moving and leaving old friends behind, but the promise of developing fresh friendships. Each story is heartfelt, humorous and summons a hug at the end. And following each story she includes a recipe that you want to try right away to see what magic it brings to your life with friends.
“What makes me feel alive and connected to God’s voice and spirit in this world is creating opportunities for the people I love to rest and connect and be fed at my table.”
When I step into the house of a friend, I feel like I’ve stepped into a world of acceptance, retreat and joy. Even if I’m going to help a friend that is full of physical or emotional pain, it is still a world filled with love and promise and God’s caring and grace. That’s how I want people to feel when they step into my house – warmth, love, acceptance, anticipation of laughter, safety to share deep feelings and a brief retreat from the outside world.
Go ahead. TODAY, make a list of different groups of people you can invite into your home to sit around your table. I challenge you to invite three different groups. I find what works best is to grab a few calendar dates, issue the invitations and mark your calendar. There! You might feel slight panic, knowing you now have different groups of people coming to your house. But plan one menu and make it for all three groups. Clean your house really well for the first group then just do touchups for the other groups. It gets easier the more you have friends over. And the walls of your home will ring with laughter and love long after your guests leave!
Here’s a sample menu (I’ll be using this menu this weekend with 14 guests!)
Annette’s Enchiladas (from Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist)
Chips and salsa
A big lettuce salad
A plate of sliced mango, papaya and avocado with lime juice squeezed on top
I’m doing carrot cake since we are celebrating three June birthdays, but you can do brownies, fruit shortcake or simply set out three kinds of gelato with sliced berries!
Annette’s Enchiladas from Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
1 cup sour cream
1 28-ounce can green enchilada sauce (Las Palmas is best)
2 4-ounce small cans green chilies, diced
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced (I use store rotisserie chicken)
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I sometimes use the blended Mexican cheese)
12 corn tortillas
1 cup chicken broth
Mix green sauce with chilies and sour cream.
Smooth 1 spoonful of the sauce mixture around the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan.
Simmer the chicken broth in a skillet, and before placing each tortilla in the 9 by 13 pan, use tongs to pass the tortilla through the broth for just a few seconds. If you leave the tortillas in the broth for too long, they’ll fall apart, so just dip each one in for a few seconds to soften it before putting it in the enchilada pan.
Layer 4 tortillas over the first layer of sauce.
After tortillas, add half the chicken, then one-third of the sauce, then one-third of the cheese.
Repeat so there are 2 full layers.
Finish with a layer of 4 more tortillas, the remaining third of the sauce, and the remaining third of the cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Let sit at least 15 minutes before cutting. Top with chopped cilantro.
I’d love for you to share in the comments section a sample menu you like to use when you invite guests over or a group you plan on having over! Remember, when you state it you are more likely to follow through!