Menu #1: Ina Garten's 40 Clove Garlic Chicken (remember I am obsessed); Couscous; Fresh Green Beans
Why it works: There is a bit of prep work with the chicken, but once it is all in the pot you can enjoy your company. The beans and couscous take about 5 minutes each on the stove, right before everyone is ready to sit down. I made this on a frigid evening and its was warm and hardy. It satisfied my need for something a little fancy but didn't offend the "meat and potatoes" crowd I was cooking for.
Menu #2: Pork Tenderloin with Rosemary and Garlic; Paula Deen's sweet potato fries; roasted asparagus with ciabatta and honey cinnamon butter
Why it works: The pork tenderloin is easy prep with moderate cooking time and once its in the oven you can pretty much ignore it. I have made it for years and its never dry. Interestingly enough I find that most guests really enjoy the pork, but don't tend make it much in their homes so its something a little different. Paula's sweet potato fries were an excellent and simple savory use of the locally grown sweet potatoes that I got at our winter market and the roasted asparagus can't really be any easier. I was dying to try Darcy's honey cinnamon butter and it seemed like it would fit well with the meal-I was right. I made the honey cinnamon butter earlier in the day and everything else pretty much hung out in the oven as we were enjoying our wine an appetizers.
Tonight I am sticking with the winter vegetables and planning butternut squash soup (the squash is also from the winter market) and sweet potato biscuits. I think the left over honey cinnamon butter will reappear as well.
*Disclaimer: None of the pictures are actually of my meals, sorry.