I often tease that if I had a cooking show it would be The Fastest (and Messiest) Cook in the West. Tonight we had 12 people coming for dinner & a game of Texas Hold'em. It's been a snowy weekend so we weren't sure it was going to happen until almost the last miunte. So I pulled a dinner together for 12 in no time flat without breaking a sweat. Then I thought, "Hey, my blog readers might enjoy having this menu as an easy meal to throw together for holiday company!" So here you go.
The menu was Homemade Chili, ham & cheese rolls, sliced pineapple, sliced carrots, and Rotel Cheese Dip with tortilla chips. Nothing fancy, but came together well, and was so, so easy. Plus it filled up a crowd!
On your mark, get set... COOK!
First start the chili. Brown 3 lbs ground beef with a 2 cloves garlic (I use a garlic press but you can use canned or garlic powder...) in a large stock pot. While meat is browning, open 2 32 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, 2 16 oz. cans Ranch Style Beans and 1 16 oz. can black beans. As soon as meat is browned, drain any grease and add all 5 cans to beef. To this, add 1 heaping tablespoon cumin powder, 2 t.
grill or steak seasoning, 2 T. Thai sweet chili sauce (or if you don't have this, add 1 T. brown sugar and dash Tabasco). Finally toss in about 1/2 c. picante sauce.
Check seasonings and let simmer...uncovered. (You can also toss in leftover corn, any chopped tomatoes that are needing to be used up, bits of leftover roast or steak... )
Now, using 16 large prebaked dinner rolls.. (I highly recommend Sister Schuberts rolls - that now come in frozen food section at Sam's; but Hawaiian or Potato rolls from the deli are also nice..) place them on your largest cookie sheet(s). Slice each roll open and squirt a bit of your favorite mustard on each. Stuff with 2 slices of deli thin ham (folded over) and little square of cheese. (I just tore American cheese slices in quarters.) Cover with foil and bake at 350 until warm.
While chili simmers and rolls are heating... microwave 1 can Rotel tomatoes with 16 oz of Velveeta cheese in a big oven proof covered bowl, until melted. Stir. Pour tortilla chips in a bowl. Queso and chips, done. Keep queso covered to keep warm until serving time.
Now peel and slice 6 carrots (or use mini pre-peeled ones).. arrange around a little bowl of Ranch Dressing. (Or conscript a helper to do this for you!)
Slice a fresh pineapple. Here's how I do it. Fast, fast! Cut off top and bottom. Stand upright and cut in quarters. Take knife and slice the core (long triangle shape)off of each quarter. Then run a sharp long knife around the skin of the pineapple to remove fruit. Then slice pineapple in thin pieces... and serve.
Put grated cheese, chopped green onion and sour cream in 3 bowls on a big serving plate to garnish chili.
Call troops in for dinner. Use paper bowls and plates to make your life easier.
Serve slice and bake cookies for dessert, warm from the oven..
Everybody's happy. You've filled up a hungry crew without knocking yourself out in the kitchen all day!