Easy Hospitality

I’ve always been reluctant to open my home in hospitality.¬†I often find it intimidating and overwhelming to host a crowd for a meal, party, Bible study, or any other event. For some, hospitality seems to come naturally. But to others, like me, it’s completely out of their comfort zone. Because I am married to someone who loves to have guests over, I’ve had to learn how to be hospitable. And the truth is,¬†Scripture calls us all to be hospitable, whether it is easy for us or not (1 Peter 4:9).

Today, I wanted to share a few practical ways that I have learned to make hospitality less intimidating. One of the biggest things I’ve discovered over the years is to prepare in advance and always be prepared. I say this because if you are always prepared, you can be hospitable on the spur of the moment–whether it’s making a meal for someone the same day you’re asked or spontaneously inviting a new family over after church. Being prepared also removes some of the obstacles to having people in your home.

This is a photo a friend took of the mess in my boy’s room after having our small group over! Courtesy: Lisa Tarplee Photography

Today I wanted to share a few practical tips we’ve learned as well as a couple of easy recipes. So here goes:

1. We keep stocked on hand food and drinks we know most of our guests like. I never know when I might have company so I always have cans of soda on hand. (I never drink Coke but always keep it some in the fridge.) I also try to keep non-caffeinated drinks on hand as well like Sprite or Gatorade. Juice boxes for little kids are always nice to have handy if you often have children visiting.

2. Having kid friendly snacks in the pantry for the same reason above is good too. Even just a bag of pretzels will do. I also like to have a few things in my pantry that can be turned into a quick snack, appetizer or dessert for last-minute guests. Sometimes you can find chex mix, chips or some other snack as a ‘buy one get one free’ deal at the store. Chips and salsa are also an easy item to keep on hand.

3. I always have paper plates, cups, napkins and plasticware in my pantry.

4. If we are having a large group gathering (like more than 8 people–a small group bible study for example) we bring out extra trash cans and place them near where people are seated. I also put extra trash bags at the bottom for easy replacement when trash is taken out. I actually have 2 or 3 extra trash cans that I store in the garage.

5. We are usually short on seating so we keep folding chairs in the garage that we bring out for company. We keep extra folding tables on our back porch. If storage space is a concern, square folding tables fitting perfectly under a bed.

6. I have my boys put important toys up high or away in another room before other kids come over. These are either favorite toys or one’s they are concerned might get broken (like a Lego masterpiece). I remind them about sharing and we practice dealing with conflict over toys.

7. I also like to keep some craft supplies at the ready for when we have kids over and they are bored.

Recipes: I have a few stand by recipes that I use all the time. One is a main dish I use for bringing a meal to a new mom or someone sick.

Cranberry Chicken: 4-6 Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts, 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce, 1 package dry onion soup mix, 1 cup Catalina or French dressing

Sprinkle soup mix on top of chicken, mix cranberry sauce and spoon over chicken, and then pour dressing on top. Cook covered with foil at 400 for 30min. Remove cover and cook another 15 min at 350. Serve with wild rice.

Orange Salad: (This salad is favorite and one I often get requests for. I make it for dinner parties and as a side for bringing a meal to a new mom.) Ingredients for the salad: Bag of Romaine hearts, 1 can of Mandarin Oranges or Clementine oranges cut into pieces, bag of honey roasted almonds, 1 cup of chopped celery, 1/4 cup of chopped onions. Ingredients for the dressing: 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2T sugar, 2T vinegar, 1T dried parsley, 1/2tsp salt and pepper, 6 drops of Tabasco Sauce.

Mix the salad ingredients together in a salad bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over salad.

Lastly, here’s a dessert favorite:

Minty Brownies

2 boxes of your favorite brownie mix 1 bag Andes mints chocolates (or any other favorite candy)

Mix 1 brownie mix according to directions. Pour into prepared baking (9 x 13 or similar size) dish. Unwrap chocolates and lay them on top of brownies. Mix the second box of brownie mix and pour on top. Bake according to directions.

Happy Hosting!


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One Comment to “Easy Hospitality”

  1. mebswick says:

    Love this post!

    I know our big thing is to be better at the keeping house straightened up – so that we can have people up at the drop of a hat…

    OR – get over the house not being perfect <3