This month I was was wondering WHAT in the world I was going to make for our 2nd Sunday Open House dinner for the neighborhood.
My son Dallin and new daughter-in-law Brooke were going to be married just THREE days before, and I was over that reception since Brookes family is from out of state.
THANK YOU my amazing daughters – which includes my daughters and daughters-in-law = Tawni, Danitra, Ashley and Delsi, as well as my sons Derek and Devin and of course my handsome hubby Stan who is AMAZING to pull all of it together. Of course my sister Jody who has been there for ALL of these and I don’t know what we’d do without her! And to the many other angels who contributed and stepped up in countless ways this month!
Anyway, back to my dinner.
I was talking to my mom, aka Connie Rasmussen, on the phone and telling her I was perplexed about what to make that I could prepare ahead, was simple, inexpensive and yet would be very tasty so my guests would feel wanted in my home and, as always my big concern, would want to come back again the next month.
She told me about going to lunch at my step-sisters house, Leesa, who had prepared a cold pasta bar.
BRILLIANT!!!! THANK YOU MOM:)
I headed over to see Todd, at Kent’s Grocery, to see what meat he might have on sale for the pasta bar. He had some ham for a fantastic price (thank you again Todd!) and pepperoni was on ad.
It all turned out really easy, just a few hours of cooking and chopping:) Now when you need to feed a crowd, this might be a go-to for you.
COLD PASTA SALAD BAR
The day before I cooked up tri-colored pasta that was on ad, till al dente; rinsed it, then added in a splash of vegetable oil so it wouldn’t stick together and stored it in gallon freezer bags in the fridge.
I also cooked up one bag of gluten free pasta (I found an off-brand that was less than $2 and tasted pretty dang good to a gluten lover like myself, lol) for those who need to eat gluten free. I try to have that option each month when possible, and stored as the pasta above, but without the oil since I wasn’t sure if it was ok or not.
Then I prepared these options and stored in bags or containers also the day before:
- Grated cheese
- Boiled eggs and chopped them
- Grated carrots
- Zucchini from the garden, diced
- Cucumbers from the garden, diced
- Ham, diced (mentioned above)
- Pepperoni, quarted (mentioned above)
- Bell Pepper, diced (but our garden hadn’t produced any yet)
- Frozen corn, thawed (I forgot to put this out :/)
- Frozen peas, thawed (I also forgot to put this out… a tired brain after the week ok…)
- Add anything else your heart and budget desires!
After my guest made up a plate of the pasta and all the toppings they chose to up on; I had several salad dressings that they could choose from. (I think I’m missing 1 or 2 in the picture. Just look for sales, ads and coupons and it’s not expensive. The EVOO’s where a HUGE hit and I found them at Walmart for under $2 each.) It was fun for my guests to mix and match. Some even put a bit on each portion of their plate – or came back for more, so they could try a bit of all of them!
I served rolls and butter too. That always makes everything right in the world, doesn’t it?Now for dessert. I wanted to wait until after the wedding reception to see what refreshments were left over, if any, before I decided on what to make.
For the reception we served Cold Stone Ice Cream in Waffle Bowls. We had ALOT of waffle bowls left over, so we grabbed some buckets of ice cream (missing 1-2 in the picture) at Sams Club and that’s what we had for dessert! VERY happy smiles all around, and it couldn’t have been easier either.And just in case you are wondering, we usually serve water with dinner.
Just before our 2nd Sunday Dinner, Delsi had surprised me by purchasing my ticket to attend BYU Education Week, which began the day after our dinner, and consists of five days of classes – thank you again Delsi!
Monday my sister Jody went with me, and two days with my handsome hubby Stan joined me.
On the last day I was alone finishing classes, and was able to go to one of Chef Brad’s classes. It was while attending his class a few years ago where Stan and I were inspired to begin having these 2nd Sunday dinners. You can find Chef Brad at: chefbrad.com
Stan and I held regular dinners for 25 months, then stopped as we felt we ‘were done’. That lasted for 20 months. Then the Spirit promoted us to begin again. It was more of a challenge this time around because we fully knew of the commitment, time, and resources these dinners demanded of us, and how they affected our entire family and schedules.
We took it to the Lord, fasted and prayed about it. The answer was undeniable and clear that we needed to begin these again, for our own benefit, as well as for our neighbors.
We sincerely pray every month that our neighbors who are looking for friends, and to meet others will come. That someone who is lonely, has a grudge, feels offended or prejudice towards/from another in our area, will be brought to the dinner, or even will come alone and feel the Spirit of peace and friendship; recognizing that we are all in this big ‘ol world together; and that most really are trying to do their best, and a healing begun- softening hearts all around.
With so many terrible things going on in society, it is natural to draw apart, however, we are doing our best to provide, in our own small way, a vehicle for community, unity and understanding.
Possibly you might be able to do something also?
*Such as take some cookies to your neighbors this week that you haven’t met.
*Some flowers from your yard to a shut-in.
*A loaf of bread from the local bakery to someone that you haven’t talked to in years – possibly due to a misunderstanding.
I hope you will do the ‘hard thing’ as we are trying to do, by doing HIS WILL and giving your best to create a little space of peace and happiness in your little part of the world.
I can promise that it truly goes a long way to bring a greater abundance of joy and blessings in your own life, as well as those you love, and any who pass your way.
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2016
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today