Get ready for the kitchen Dude: It takes neither mystery nor mastery to cook a meal that is fool-proof and enjoyable to everyone partaking of your culinary creations. These five meals are easy to make, require easily obtainable ingredients, and will easily please your guests.
The Farmer-Style Meal
This is an easy and casual meal. At a picnic or a stand-around-and-nibble meal, you cannot go wrong with a large variety of rustic foods. These items can be purchased ready-to-serve or may require minimal preparation. Heap plates and bowls with: crusty rolls or baguette slices, pickles, olives, a variety of cold-cuts and cheeses, an assortment of in-season berries and melons, pre-cut raw vegetables, brie cheese to spread on the bread, a bowl containing equal amounts of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a bread dip, and ranch salad dressing for a vegetable dip.
This is a simple dish that looks, and tastes, delightful. Cook a package of penne pasta in a large pot of boiling water that has one tablespoon of salt added to it. While the pasta is boiling, grab a big frying pan, crank the stove to medium-high heat and fry up Italian sausage â€“ your choice of mild, medium or hot â€“ that has been cut into 1/4 inch coins. A general rule of thumb is one link per guest. When the sausage is cooked through, toss in frozen shrimp that has been thawed, a small handful per guest, and a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes including the liquid. Cook until warmed through. Drain the pasta and dump it into a large bowl, then pour the sausage and shrimp mixture on top of the pasta. Top with some parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley, and you have created a masterpiece.
Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan; sprinkle boneless, sprinkle boneless, skinless chicken breasts, one per guest, with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the frying pan for about a minute on each side or until they are a nicely browned. As the chicken browns, mix a can of cream of chicken soup with 1/2 cup water, three tablespoons Dijon-style mustard, and one tablespoon honey. Pour the soup mixture over the chicken, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside. The sauce from the pan, by the way, is heavenly over the boiled potatoes so you may want to consider that as a side dish.
No collection of meals for Dudes would be complete without a mention of steak. A fool-proof steak is rubbed down with olive oil, seasoned with pepper and seasoning salt, and tossed onto a hot barbeque. If you do not have access to a barbeque, steak still turns out great cooked in a medium-high frying pan. Use your hand to gauge how cooked the meat is: rare feels like the meaty part of your hand near the thumb, medium is similar to the base of the hand nearer the wrist, and well-done feels like the top of the wrist close to the palm. To dress up the cooked steak, top it with a pat of tarragon butter: Soften a stick of butter slightly, at room temperature, until you can mash one tablespoon of dried tarragon into it. Place the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap, roll it into a cylinder, refrigerate until firm, and slice into small pats.
Stroganoff is a comfort meal everyone will enjoy. Brown thin strips of steak, about 1/2 of a steak per person, with 1/2 of an onion, diced up, in a large pan with a little bit of olive oil. When the meat is browned add a can of cream of mushroom soup, one cup of beef broth, and one teaspoon of paprika. Once heated through, remove from heat and stir in one cup of sour cream. Serve this over hot buttered noodles, add your side dishes, and dinner is done!
Remember to include side dishes: any of your favorite vegetables and salads will work well with all of these meals!
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