Let's say, hypothetically of course, that your husband calls you some morning and tells you the dinner count that evening will be 12, including you and your husband. (Actually, I knew ahead of time that a crowd would be a possibility but didn't know how many--5 people? 9 people? 12? I found out the exact number around 10 a.m.)
Here's an easy, crowd-pleasing menu that can be quickly customized to number of people expected. It also involves no last minute steps or any high-maintenance cooking.
Grilled chicken marinated in Italian Dressing
Crudite with Ranch Dressing
Easy Roasted Potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Bread or Rolls
Homemade Texas Sheet Cake
Steps 1-3 can be done before lunch or even the night before if necessary.
1. Marinate chicken in bottle of Italian dressing: dump bottle of dressing into big ziploc bag (or two) along with chicken in the morning.
2. Cut up crudite (or buy a tray already assembled). Reserve bottle of Ranch dressing.
3. Make chocolate cake and let it cool.
4. Cut up potatoes (unpeeled) and sweet potatoes (peeled). Place enough of each in two separate pans. Cook covered or uncovered, depending on your time frame and crispy preference. I usually only add salt and pepper to sweet potatoes (skipping onion powder and garlic salt).
5. About an hour before guests are due to arrive, throw the potatoes in the oven and start up the grill. (Stir the potatoes every 20 minutes or so)
6. Grill the chicken for about 45 minutes over the cold side of the grill (turn burners off on that side); don't keep checking on it because you'll let some of the heat out!
7. When the potatoes are done, pop the bread or rolls in the oven (adjusting temperature if necessary). Gather the crowd and bless the food!