Food + Wine

Entertaining the Entertainment

My brother in law, (or ‘other brother’, as I like to refer to him), is coming to stay with us for a few days after Christmas and I’m super stoked. He’s an actor/comedian/teacher in LA and we always have a little too much fun when he’s here. I love him because he’s like no one I’ve ever met, my husband loves him because he’s a tall glass of home, and my son loves him because he lets him beat him up with wrapping paper tubes. He lives right outside of Hollywood, with fancy and strangely exciting food at his finger tips, so I don’t want to be boring, but I also want him to feel like he’s at home. (And most importantly, I do not want to be in the kitchen while he’s here so everything is either already prepared or can be very quickly). So here’s what I came up with…
*Baked Penne
G and I had Penne Marinara one night last week and I made extra. The next day I browned up some hot Italian sausage and layered that with the leftover pasta and sauce, sauteed spinach, and some good mozzarella cheese, then topped it all with some grated Romano and bread crumbs. It now sits in the freezer waiting to be enjoyed.
*Pot Roast and Grits
I have a giant chuck roast in the freezer that will be transformed into pot roast, with big chunks of carrots, potatoes, and winter squash. I’ll serve it atop some sour cream grits (my new favorite bottom for anything stewy).
*’Barbecued’ Pork Shoulder, German Cole Slaw and Corn Muffins
I’ve mentioned before that my husband’s family is German; and his people, in my opinion, make the best slaw. It’s sugar and vinegar based, not mayo-laden, which is right up my alley. And since my other brother is partially German, I figure he’s ethnically required to enjoy it too. I make my pork shoulder the same way my mom always has: In a deep roasting pan, covered with salt and pepper and apple cider vinegar (mom uses white), and brown sugar (mom uses none), covered and cooked (mom doesn’t cover) in a low oven from lunchtime to dinnertime. (Well, almost like mom’s 🙂 And we always had corn muffins with “pickin’ pork” when I was little, so now I do the same.
As for appetizers…
I’ve decided we need to have a proper cocktail hour every night of his visit. I made some Crab, Spinach and Artichoke Dip today that we’ll have with crackers one night. (Never made this before but there was a special on crab and I had everything else on hand so I thought I’d give it a whirl.) I’ve prepared some Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Potato Gnocchi (the gnocchi is homemade from the freezer, leftover from my Thanksgiving). And I have a collection of fine cheeses in the fridge for another night.
-All of the items I’m using for the dinners and appetizers were already in my kitchen, which means they were bought within my weekly-under-$100-budget. The same goes for everything I served my guests at the many parties I threw this month, in addition to the homemade goodies I’m giving away as gifts. All it takes is a little planning ahead and some mindful shopping and you will never have to spend too much at the store, whatever the occasion.
~I want to wish all of you a wonderful holiday; may your every wish be granted, may you be with all the ones you love and may you allow yourself the time to enjoy them. Happy Eating!

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