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Help me prepare under the radar chow

A group of my friends has decided to start monthly Sunday evening suppers with a different person hosting and providing the food each time. Hubby and I have volunteered to be the first hosts and I am trying to finalize the menu. Here is the issue...

Most of the people in this group are not very interested in food and rarely, if ever, cook. I usually pull out all the stops for a dinner party, but am afraid that serving anything too gourmet or labor intensive would send the wrong impression about these get togethers. We would certainly not want others to feel they need to provide an eleaborate menu in order to host the supper. So, I want to prepare simple food that tastes amazing..nothing flashy or overtly gourmet (I can get more adventurous after we have had a few of the suppers). Currently, the menu consists of:

beef enchiladas
spanish rice
borracho beans
guacamole and chips

Any suggestions for desserts?
Any other menu suggestions?
I will have one guest who does not eat meat and was thinking about preparing a small dish of cheese enchiladas for her. Is it okay to only offer one person an alternative entree or must I provide the vegetarian option for everyone?

Thanks

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  1. I'd have enough vegetarian for everyone to at least try - whenever you have an option it seems everybody wants "just a taste". Also lots of non-vegetarians still like non-meat alternatives at times.

    1. I would definitely make enough of the non-meat dish so that everyone can have some if they would like. I think that A. You don't want to make that guest feel out of place or that she made you go to a lot of extra trouble and B. Just because people eat meat, that don't necessarily want just that if there is another yummy option. If you'd prefer not to make 2 kinds of enchiladas, then just make the cheese enchiladas and skip meat altogether

      1 Reply
      1. re: gourmanda

        Good point. I think some of my guests would miss the meat so perhaps I will do a big tray of each.

      2. I don't know how well this goes with your menu, but strawberries are really inexpensive right now, and I made strawberry shortcake for Memorial Day that went over very well but wasn't at all fussy or time-consuming.

        I used the biscuit roulade (technically a sponge cake?) from the Cake Bible and cut it into rounds. Assembly was easy; one cake round per plate, a couple of spoonfuls of sliced, macerated strawberries, a dollop of mascarpone buttercream, another cake round, more strawberries, and a big dollop of whipped cream. No reason you couldn't do it as a strawberry and whipped cream-filled roll instead, though.

        If I couldn't still taste that luscious strawberries, I'd say go "traditional" with Tex-Mex and make sopaipillas, flan, or vanilla cheesecake.

        5 Replies
        1. re: dietfoodie

          Good point about the strawberries. Maybe I can do a tres leches with strawberries on top? If anyone can point me to a good tres leches recipe, it would be appreciated.

            1. re: Honey Bee

              Here's a wonderful Tres Leches Cake from Mr. Food. It's a shortcut method, but it is delicious and it makes a most wonderful Strawberry Shortcake. Your guests will love it.

              TRES LECHES CAKE
              Serves 12 to 15 people

              1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
              1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
              1 pint half-and-half
              Pinch of salt
              2 pound cakes (12 oz.) each (I like the Sara Lee frozen ones)
              1 container (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed

              In a large bowl, combine the three milks and salt; stir well and set aside. Cut the cakes into 6 slices each. Lay the slices tightly in the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake slices, cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and spread the whipped topping over the cake. Chill for an additional 1 to 2 hours. (There will still be some liquid on the bottom of the pan because this is more like a pudding than a regular cake and should be eaten with a spoon.)

              NOTE: The cake is wonderful just as it is, but to make it even more special, spoon sliced, sweetened strawberries over each piece of cake at serving time. YUM!

              1. re: happyhomemaker

                I love recipes that use a lot of my pantry staples! I've been wanting to try my hand at a pound cake, and this looks delicious and easy. Thank you for the recipe!

                1. re: dietfoodie

                  You are very welcome. After posting the recipe, I decided to fix this dessert this weekend for company. We're having a casual steak cook-out for dinner tomorrow night.

          1. Flan would be an easy and inexpensive dessert to make. If you want a "fancier flan" here is a recent report from the COM, "Sunday Suppers at Lucques."

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39707...

            1. I think a nice citrus/melon/mint salad would work fine with this, still keeping the flavors zesty but also light.

              You did not indicate how many or how you would be serving. I am thinking that you are doing a buffet? Put the veggie dishes right out wit the others. Or to make it even more fun, and perhaps encourage experimentation; do more of a build it yourself station, using maybe a nice slow-cooked pulled pork with green chiles, sliced grilled chicken, some roasted veggies, cheeses along with the beans and rice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Quine

                I like the idea of a refreshing fruit salad, thanks.
                Yes, I will serve buffet style as the gathering is very casual and will include 7-9 people.