Summertime is the season for family get togethers. Whether it’s holiday weekends like Memorial day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day or Mothers day, Fathers Day, vacations or family reunions, crowds gather and have to be fed and fed by someone. In our house, it’s me.
I don’t mind, in fact I love to cook for my family and friends but between meal preparation, cooking, serving and clean up, you can easily end up spending the entire weekend in the kitchen and missing out on the fun and family. That’s the typical “me” situation, especially because I’m super host! I do not like my quests helping in the kitchen! I had to learn some new tricks.
Memorial Day was bringing 3 of our kids, 1 fiance’ and our niece with her husband, to our new home on the lake. I’d be cooking for 8 and while I wanted meals to be quick and easy, I also wanted them to be special and delicious. I admit I flew by the seat of my pants making a few things I’d never made before and without a recipe!
Saturday: Guests arriving. Brunch. Blueberry cream cheese French Toast with Bacon.
I picked up a couple loaves of pre-sliced baguettes and a can of blueberry pie filling. In the fridge was a couple blocks of cream cheese and plenty of bacon, eggs and cream. I whipped the cream cheese with a scant amount of cream, lemon juice and a couple Tbsps of confectioners sugar. Spread this on one side of baguette slices, topped with pie filling then covered with second slice of bread. I repeated until I had a stack of blueberry sandwiches ready. A handy item to have when company comes is an electric griddle. I preheated mine to the highest setting.
While heating, I whipped eggs with cream and vanilla and began cooking bacon. (Quick tip: the fasted way to cook bacon for a crowd is in the oven! Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange bacon on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.)
Dipping the sandwiches into the egg mixture, I layed them out upon the griddle, flipping then over once golden brown. Transfered to a platter and covered to keep warm while next batch is cooking. Once all are done, sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve with bacon and hot buttered syrup….on paper plates!
The meal took about 35 min and cleanup was a breeze. We were out on the lake in no time! And, my guests RAVED!
Dropped froze peaches and mango into glasses and poured a chilled Mango wine that we found at ST. James Winery over it. A huge hit on a hot summer day!
Dinner: Shrimp Boil with Garlic toast
Within an hour, dinner was served! Seriously the longest thing about it was waiting for the water to boil!
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer
1 bottle seafood boil seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic 2 – 3 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning 3 Lbs small red potatoes
12 ears frozen corn on the cob
3 Lbs Andoulli sausage cut in halves
4 Lbs large shrimp
French baguette, lemon wedges, melted butter, and Old Bay seasoning
Bring 4 quarts water and first 6 ingredients to a boil in a 12-quart stockpot. Add potatoes; simmer 15 minutes. Add corn and sausage; simmer 10 minutes. Add shrimp, cover, and turn off heat. Let shrimp sit 10 to 15 minutes to absorb flavor.
Drain liquid. Melt a stick of butter with a Tbsp of minced galic. Drizzle over all and sprinkle with Old Bay Seasoning. Serve with Garlic Toast.
Evening Sweets: Strawberry Shortcakes with a twist.
Ordinarily I’ll either buy or bake a pound cake, cut slices, butter and toast but the market had a great sale on Angel Food cake so I grabbed that, a can of Ready whip and a tub of strawberries
Hull and slice berries into a bowl. Top with a 1/2 C. of sugar, stir and refridgerate for a couple hours. I had left over cream cheese mixture from the blueberry Frence Toast this morning so I used that for extra flavor. Cut Angel Food cake into slices. Spread first slice with cream cheese filling, top with berries then cover with whipped cream. Top with Angel Food slice, whipped cream then more berries. Simple, cool, delicious.
Text from our niece Caitlin:
Thank you guys from the bottom of our hearts for hosting us this weekend! We truly had an amazing time and love your new home. You two went above and beyond with the food and accommodations. We’re so blessed to have you guys pour into us and love on us. Love you both! And I think Henry conveniently left his fishing pole and tackle box so he has an excuse to return this summer 😉