As a recent college graduate, I’ve found that the meals I eat at home tend to fall into three categories:
2. Cooked meals for one
3. Elaborate dinner parties with extensive menus that for some reason always involve cornbread.*
* I think for some reason cornbread satisfies some latent longing I have for home because it is warm, involves bread, and tastes like comfort, which is weird because I’ve never had cornbread at home.
Don’t even get me started on take out.
I almost always get ramen, and 80% of the time I get ramen from Momofuku Noodle Bar, and 99% of the time that I get their ramen I order the Chicken Ramen. One time I ate more than half a bowl of ramen, took home the leftovers, reheated and ate the leftovers, and used the soup left in the bowl as a soup base and added soba noodles. It was like seven meals in one, except it was only three.
For some reason, I have yet to eat a home cooked meal with 2 to 4 people. I guess you could say my friends and I subscribe to the “if you’re going to cook, really cook” school of thought, and always have 7 to 9 people over. As fun as these dinners tend to be, they also require a tremendous amount of effort (going by the standards of someone who heats and reheats ramen 3 times for 3 meals).
What options are there when you want to have a bunch of people over to share food, but don’t want to spend the entire night cooking and worrying about coordinating prep time and cook time?
My sister and her roommate had the genius idea of cooking an entire meal around the main course of two delicious, juicy Herb Roasted Chicken from Whole Foods. At $7.99 a pop you get a perfectly cooked main course for quite a deal. Let’s say you have 7 or 8 people over and get 2 chickens – it’s only a couple of bucks a pop! Not too shabby for some quality yum.
Here’s the menu from our most recent Fall Supper Club. The recipes are rough because that’s how I like cooking to be: imprecise and improvised. It’s much easier to enjoy a meal when all you have to do is throw ingredients together and then use your judgment to determine when they’re done.
2 Herb Roasted Chickens from Whole Foods
Sautéed Kale: Blanche kale (put in boiling water for 2 minutes). Sauté onions, sliced garlic and shallots in a pan with Olive Oil. Add chicken broth if you have it. Combine all the ingredients and keep it covered.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: cut each one in half, lay them out in a baking pan, douse them in olive oil, cook them until they start to burn a little bit, take them out and eat them like popcorn.
Butternut Squash : The basic premise of this recipe is cutting up the squash and laying them out in the pan, then covering them with cream and seasoning with salt and pepper. Then you bake them from 30 minutes, add some parmesan cheese to the top, and bake for another 20 minutes. Check out the recipe here.
Conrnbread: I recommend two recipes from Epicurious.com. You can make the cornbread a day or so in advance and then heat it back up if you feel like spending less time in the kitche. The first recipe is lighter. The second recipe I’ve used makes large buttery slices of cornbread if you want something that packs a bit more flavor. You can find the recipe here.
So there you have it. A pretty easy, well-balanced feast that tastes like home. All that’s left is hot apple cider or red wine, depending on where your night is taking you.