Probably one of the top ‘tips’ I give to guests and friends is to remind everyone to entertain on a regular basis. Seems like we have friends or family over just about every two weeks. It keeps your home picked up and once you set a routine for entertaining it just becomes second nature.
Let’s take tonight for example. I am busy preparing for guests for the night of Fourth of July. When I work all day long I never feel bad about asking guests to bring a dish. Tomorrow we are providing the meat and condiments, ‘heavy’ baked beans, (This means loaded with extras like bbq meat or sausages.), buns, appetizer and dessert. For dessert we’re enjoying peach cobbler with ice cream along with chocolate upside down cake. Our beverages are mostly ice tea or water. However the second refrigerator is absolutely loaded with wine, beer, and margarita makers. Have plenty of ice on hand when it’s hot because nothing is worse than hot iced tea!
Before I go to bed this evening I’ll have a list for my family to follow through with during the day. Which includes starting the beans in the event I don’t get home on time! The truth about tomorrow’s gathering is I wasn’t having one! Phillip, our son, says: ‘We are having a party of some sort, right?’ I must admit that Christmas and the 4th are his favorite times of the year. I was looking forward to a quiet evening at home after work. However the idea of breaking bread with several of our friends and neighbors is much much better.
In the old days I would wait on everyone and end up not enjoying the evening. Now I allow folks to help load the dishwasher and tidy after the meal. They feel like they’ve contributed more and they too feel worthy.
The macaroni salad I’ve focused on this week is once again a recipe you can modify out. Put in your favorite ingredients and not necessarily mine! Make it into a one dish meal and take it on your next road trip or picnic.
This past week I have been enjoying the opening of ‘Patrick’s’ Garden here in Reeds Spring. Where do I begin to tell you all the delicious fresh produce and fruit I purchased this week: tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, peppers, eggplant that was fantastic tonight for dinner, new potatoes and green beans. I could go on all night. Probably the best thing was the fresh blackberries that were as big as your thumb!
My assistant, Bonnie & I put up kosher dill pickles this week rendering about 25- 27 pints. This coming week we’re making bread and butter pickles and hopefully pickled vegetables like cauliflower, celery, and onion in a quart jar to use as a relish dish. We have so many things on our ‘do list’ to can this summer I hope we can get them all done. Both of us plan on buying large canners before the summer concludes. I’m thinking of canning a few meat items to have for winter.
With the droughts and extreme rains engulfing our nation I think it might be a good idea to ‘fill the larder’ in the next few months. In other words ‘really stock
I will never forget the story a guest shared regarding her basement pantry. Her husband was injured on the job so the family was left with workmen’s compensation for about nine months. She told me how they went through all their food storage and if her husband hadn’t gone back to work when he did they would have been forced to apply for assistance. I know I’ve shared this story before in my column, but it’s always good to be reminded.
Keep busy, and prepare for the days ahead. Whip up a dish of macaroni salad and have an outstanding week. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com.
Country Style Macaroni Salad
8 ounces dry macaroni, (size, style, your choice)
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
8 ounces diced cheese, cheddar or Velveeta
Chopped Sweet Pickles, drained well
Green Onion, if desired
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
(May use pickle juice instead of vinegar.)
Boil pasta in salted water. When tender, drain and wash with cool water. Boil 3 eggs, cool, peel, and chop. Dice your choice of cheese. If you use a diced carrot in this dish it would be a good idea to blanch or steam lightly.
Sweet pickles are a personal choice. Feel free to omit them entirely. If the salad needs more color use drained pimentos.
Blend all the dressing ingredients together and stir into the ingredients. Often the day after finds this salad a bit dry. Consider making extra dressing for this purpose. This salad serve 4-5 persons.
Option: Add a meat to make this a complete meal.