Simple Hospitality Meals

I have found simple meals as one of the key methods for allowing our hospitality to be practical and doable. Remember, you don’t have to serve a six course meal in order to extend hospitality! One pot meals can be just as warm and inviting to those who come into your home! And you don’t have to have a full scale set up on the table either. Spread out your food on the counter with a pile of plates, utensils, and such and allow your guests to serve themselves. There is certainly freedom to use paper plates and napkins as well! This makes for easy clean up. Whatever it takes to make it doable for you…use those ideas and go for it! God will richly bless your heart to serve and you will be storing up treasure in heaven through the process.

1. Make the Same Meal.

One of the best ideas I have discovered is to chose one or two of your favorite meals and rotate them for your hospitality guests. Stick with only one recipe/meal plan if necessary. Here are some of our favorite meals:

Pasta Presto – this recipe gets rave reviews wherever we serve it, and trust me, we have served it dozens of times for guests. It takes only 15-20 minutes to prepare, and is well received by adults and children with its pasta base. It is easy to use brown rice pasta for the gluten intolerant and it is simple to serve the feta cheese on the side for the dairy free or substitute with goat cheese. With a simple green salad, this is our favorite go-to recipe for hospitality.

Chicken Cordon Bleu – Another easy favorite that is creamy and rich!

Coconut Brownies – this recipe takes only 5 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to bake, and is an all-time favorite for hospitality. It is unique enough with the coconut additions that it is a special change from standard brownies. Serve with coconut or vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert. I always keep the ingredients on hand for these brownies as it is easy to throw together for last minute guests.

Popcorn - whether it be simple stove top popcorn buttered and salted or caramel popcorn, you can’t go wrong with this simple after dinner snack/dessert! I honestly serve this all the time to guests and we love it!

2. Utilize your Crockpot.

Anything in the crockpot makes a simple dinner. We like to try to serve something on the nicer scale for company. Many times I will make a chuck roast and cook it on low all day. This makes for easy dinner preparation. The last thing you want is to be hustling around the kitchen extensively while your guests arrive. The crockpot is a real favorite because all your preparation takes place in the morning. On other occasions, we like to barbecue something for our guests. This balances the task and helps include my husband as well in our preparations.

Favorite Crockpot Meals:

Chicken/Beef Enchiladas
Shredded Beef/Pork Sandwiches

3. Potluck It!

Distributing the weight of food preparations among your guests makes an easier load for you as well as helps include your guests in the preparation, which helps make them feel more comfortable as well. You can provide the main dish, and have a guest bring a salad and another guest bring a dessert. You could also choose a theme: mexican, italian, etc. and have your guests bring their favorite dish that fits the theme. Other ideas that we have done include:

- Waffle Night - breakfast for dinner is so much fun! In this case, I provide the batter, and my guests provide various toppings: whipped cream, syrup, berry sauce, etc.

- Taco Feast - Another popular idea that is easy and always well received is a taco night. I usually good up a big pot of refried beans, and guests can bring corn tortillas, cheese, lettuce, olives, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, etc.

- Spaghetti Feed – Can you go wrong with spaghetti? Cook up some spaghetti noodles and have three types of sauces: marinara, alfredo, and pesto. Serve alongside a salad and french bread, and you have a yummy meal.

What are your favorite simple meals for hospitality? Please share your links in the comments below.

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About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

11 Responses to Simple Hospitality Meals

  1. MrsJLW April 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    I can’t thank you enough for this series on hospitality. Our women’s ministry has been so convicted in this area! We know the Holy Spirit is urging all of us to do this. I am referring everyone in this study to this site!

  2. April April 23, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    I love making lasagna for guests because most of the cleanup is done by the time they arrive!

    Great post!

  3. Angi April 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm #

    This a great and for helpful post. I think you can take this idea wither you are just cooking for your family or guest.

  4. Mindy @ The Purposed Heart April 22, 2011 at 7:00 pm #

    Simple meals are definitely the way to go for me when extending hospitality. I had to find this out the hard way!!! I used to try to impress my guests with fancy meals that forced my attention and effort to be focused on the food instead of my guests. At the end of the night I would just feel stressed out and I know that I was NOT being a blessing to my guests. Lately I have just been making simple (but still yummy) meals for my guests and the fellowship has been so much sweeter.

    One meal that is always a hit with our guests is our homemade sloppy joes. I usually make up the meat ahead of time and just let it simmer in the crockpot. Very easy and very delicious!

    Thanks for the great post Lindsay!

  5. Rachel April 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    We love doing waffle night too. We have an open invitation every Sunday night for them at our house, and we provide the waffles and sausage/bacon, and they provide the toppings. Everyone loves them. We also do taco bar (great if you don’t know if there’s picky kids coming) or crockpot of soup (left to simmer while we’re at church usually) and baked potato bars are a great idea too. Thanks for the wonderful series on hospitality. It really got me motivated to have company over before baby #4 arrives in Sept., since I have the energy and ability now.

    • Lindsay April 25, 2011 at 6:05 am #

      Oh yes, I forgot about baked potato bar! But that is something we have also done with great success!

  6. Lacey Wilcox April 22, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Loved this! Such great ideas!
    I especially loved the idea of potluck–I think it makes it a little more fun! I’m definitely going to have to try the waffle idea soon!! :)

  7. Brianna April 22, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Great ideas! Good reminder that it is fine – probably better to keep hospitality meals simple. I love having a “make your own taco salad” for guests. It is easy (I can have everything ready before hand), and everyone loves it – especially as each one can suit his own tastes, putting on their own toppings. I also have a baked spaghetti recipe which is great for company. I can make it in the morning and keep it in the fridge, then pop it in the oven an hour before we want to eat.

  8. Lisa Christian April 22, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Thanks so much for your ideas. I really appreciate your heart about how to practically honor God and take care of our families. The title of a previous entry, “to Bless or Impress?” is a good question to ask myself when inviting others over. I often lose sight of the joy while trying to entertain or worry about my house being just right. May you be blessed this GOOD Friday!

  9. Maura April 22, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    My easy, favorite meals for hospitality:

    clam chowder in the crock pot
    chili in the crock pot
    taco bar
    chicken and dumplings

  10. Narelle April 22, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    My spag. bol. is a favourite – easy to do in bulk, easy to have in the freezer for last minute guests and popular with children and adults alike

    Savoury mince is another popular one – I can even have the pancakes cooked up in the freezer and just heat a stack in a covered casserole in the oven

    And to accompany any soup – these muffins (crushed garlic & parsley can easily be added to use as a garlic bread with the spag. bol. too!

    We got some great heavy duty, large size paper cups from costco – great for serving up soup to a crowd and keeping dishes to a minimum. Our soup spoons are stored in a mug as per the picture with this post so it makes for really easy ‘table setting’ especially when we don’t all fit at the table!

    For pot luck we love to do ‘brunch’ around 10am and have breakfast with the works…. everyone brings something: eggs, bacon, pancakes, fruit platter, juice, hash browns, sausages, mushrooms/tomatoes. We cook up and clean up together – great time of fellowship. Summer makes for a great brunch around a BBQ or two as well.