what to cook when you have a million houseguests
best of luck 🤪
I am currently sitting at Houston International, headed home after a truly wild 24 hours in Houston celebrating my cousin Lexie’s 40th birthday. She and her husband threw the most beautiful, festive party at Turner’s, and my cousins and I danced all night long and laughed so hard that I hardly have a voice. In sum: I am as exhausted as everyone else in America right now. The holidays are exhausting in the very best way.
For many of us, this week is the best, coziest, happiest time of the year. However, even for a professional cook, the cooking part is… tricky. If you’re hosting, you’re basically throwing 6 brunches and dinner parties in a row. It’s intense! But with a bit of delegation and a bit of planning, you can get through it unscathed.
George’s parents, sister, and her husband and baby girl are already in California, and here’s the meal plan I put together for our time together. No doubt, it will shift around based on individual cravings and “oh I wanted to try XYZ recipe” ideas throughout the week, but this gives us a roadmap to work from. Eating out twice without kids is crucial to our success this week — the adults will actually get to talk, I will actually get to eat my meal, and we will all leave a little bit more relaxed and jovial. Love my kids, but know this to be true. We’ll spend *plenty* of other time with them!
here’s what we’re eating this week:
Souvla-Inspired Kale Salad (load everyone up with good mood foods!)
Or: trip to Big Sur, lunch at Nepenthe!
Pizza on the beach with friends (if you don’t have a beach where you live, you could do pizza at a park or playground! The basic premise is getting together with friends in a 100% stress-free way. No one has to cook or clean a thing!)
Lunch @ Folktale (casual fun spot)
Tamales (a local dude makes these, we just have to heat them up!)
Mexican Caesar salad (half kale half romaine, my Caesar dressing + roasted red peppers + corn + tortilla strips)
Cheddar cheese grits
Arugula tossed with shaved parm, lemon and extra-virgin olive oil (a few bites of greens will make you feel so much better all day!)
Spiral honey baked ham with frozen Callie’s Little Biscuits
Sausage balls (my MIL makes ‘em the classic bisquick way, but this recipe is so good too.)
Crudités with leftover caesar dressing, hummus, and whatever leftover herbs I have blended with yogurt and lemon juice
Garlicky sauteed spinach
Pot de creme (recipe below)
Steak salad // grilled flank steak (marinated in olive oil, Worcestershire, and garlic) butter leaf lettuce, pears, candied walnuts (from TJs), goat cheese, apple cider vinaigrette (from my 💩 salad on my feed)
Dinner: @ Bernardus (fancy celebratory dinner)
10-Minute Pot de Creme
Makes 4 to 6 pot de creme
This recipe from my cookbook, Just Married, is probably the recipe that I make most often. It is so easy, but it blows people’s minds! If you’ve never had pot de creme, it’s like a fancy chocolate pudding 🎉
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) semisweet or dark chocolate chips
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
2/3 cup strong, VERY hot coffee (decaf is fine!) (You can also use coconut milk, milk, oat milk, almond milk etc - the consistency will be softer but still delicious!)
Creme fraîche or whipped cream
Blend 8 ounces (about 1 ¼ cups) chocolate, 4 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and a pinch of kosher salt until coarsely combined.
With the motor on low speed, slowly pour in 2/3 cup very hot coffee. Blend until smooth.
Taste. Do you want it to be sweeter? If so, blend in 1 or 2 tablespoons sugar.
Pour into 4 to 6 small bowls/ramekins and refrigerate to set for at least 1 hour.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraîche or whipped cream and chocolate shavings or chopped chocolate.