09 October 2016

Family Meal & Hosting A Crowd

Hosting a Lovely Crowd

We lead an MC at our church and once a month host a boat load of awesome couples, singles, and families.  This past weekend we had 30 in attendance and since we were rained out (we had planned to picnic at Holmdel park this month) we hosted in our home.  

Everyone chips in with bringing a side dish, or a dessert.  This particular month our theme was sandwiches and soups.  I made two yummy soups and a huge salad, and I wanted to share my soup recipes!  One easy chicken soup recipe in the crock pot that I've made my own and my favorite Rachel Ray Chicken Cacciatore Stoup on the stove top.

Chicken Soup


1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut up (about 2lbs)
2-4 carrots chopped
2-4 celery sticks chopped
1 medium onion
1 box of chicken broth or 2 cans of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
cilantro to garnish (optional, but my favorite part)


Put all of your soup ingredients in the crock pot for 4 hours on high!  Add the cilantro at the end to top off the soup and add that extra bit of green!  I also serve with orzo pasta (but I do not include the pasta in the crock pot.)  I make pasta on the side and add it to each bowl so that the soup stays soupy and the pasta doesn't absorb all the liquid.

Serve with crusty bread!

Rachel Ray's Chicken Cacciatore Stoup


1 package boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1 to 1 1/3lbs diced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3-4 tbsps EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 portobello mushroom caps (I always leave out)
4 ribs of celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 -15 ounce can diced tomatoes (or just dice a tomato)
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp fresh rosemary (I use basil or cilantro from our garden)
1 cup basil
Grated cheese to top and crusty bread


1. Heat a deep skillet or a medium soup pot.
2. Add 2 tbsp EVOO and the chicken.
3. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
4. While the chicken cooks chop all the veggies.
5. When chicken is cooked through remove from pot and put to the side.  Add more EVOO and cook potatoes for 3-5 min until tender.
6. Then add the mushrooms, celery, and onion to the pot. Cook for a couple of minutes and add the pepper and garlic.  Season all the vegetables.
7. Add chicken back to pan and toss it with the veggies and add red wine to deglaze it picking up all the drippings.  And tomatoes and stock and stir to combine.  Add rosemary and reduce heat to low and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
8. Top with basil.  
9. serve with crusty bread and cheese for the top!

Every time I make my chicken stoup I get so many compliments so I had to post this recipe and give Rachel Ray all the credit!

The best part of hosting a crowd is seeing everyone talking and eating and just being able to make everyone comfortable and happy!  Having 18 kids in our MC is challenging especially since all of them are under 8 years of age, but we somehow make it work and there are lots of Dads and Moms in the room to referee any issues.  We pray, eat, and talk, and the kids love dessert time and the parents equally love the dessert time with piping hot coffee!  From our family meal to yours...

Bon apetit!


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