Meat can be one of the biggest expenses when hosting a dinner party, but that doesn't mean you have to cut it out completely if you're trimming your entertaining budget this year. In fact, cheaper cuts of meat are often juicier, more flavorful, and easier to make ahead, which makes them ideal for entertaining. And as the recipes below prove, they can be just as elegant and impressive as their more expensive counterparts.
It's a zombie invasion! Oh wait, no...just a ham bone. Phew. While this may not be the prettiest of ingredients, it is an inexpensive way to round out a pot of soup and add an enormous boost of rich flavor while you're at it. Skip the zombies, keep the meat. Ham bones are just the thing for a cozy winter meal.
Being Southern and all, I grew up eating, and loving, breakfast casserole. (Some of you may call it a strata or bake. To be honest, I still don't know the difference.) My mother's recipe is basic—just sausage, bread, eggs, and cheese. Any time mom has to feed a crowd, whether for company, early football games, or Christmas, this is the dish she makes.
Among the other flamboyantly garnished and highly aromatic plates being handed around the table, this one seemed rather plain jane. An unassuming bowl of slippery noodles sprinkled with what looked like crispy pork and crushed peanuts? But one bite was all it took: it was love at first spicy-tangy-sweet forkful.
Sausage gravy is one of those dishes that is so basic you don't even need a recipe. But it's also one of those dishes that, in the age of everything being bigger, bolder, and more unique, tends to get lost in the mix—meaning, you aren't going to see it going viral anytime soon.
Q: I work at a Boy Scout camp, and we receive a large donation of frozen ham. It seems to be in very thin slices (almost fluffy) and is within date, but it's entirely flavorless. Any suggestions of how the Boy Scout cooks can make the ham edible or perhaps delicious?
Over the last few years antibiotic-free, pasture-raised meat has seen a marked rise in popularity due to increased demand from big players like Chipotle and Hyatt Hotels... and experts say it's changing the game.
Stir-fries aren't usually the well-edited dishes you think about and shop for in advance. They are frequently renegade, use-up-what's-in-the-fridge meals, which is part of their charm. But not so with this recipe. I chose these particular ingredients deliberately, picking up pork tenderloin for a mid-week treat and adding lots of fresh spring vegetables for crunch.
When it comes to pairing wine with food, I don't know that there's a pair I like much better than a big plate of pasta with red wine sauce and tender, aromatic homemade meatballs — paired with a bold and delicious Chianti, of course. It's a classic setup, a staple of Italian-American restaurants, and comfort food extraordinaire. Here's the recipe for the meatballs I cook when I want to make certain members of my family extra, extra happy — and a tangy tomato and red wine sauce too.
Q: My husband and I are interested in hosting a pig roast at our house. We've thrown a lot of parties, but never one of this magnitude and certainly never one that entailed an entire pig. Do you have any recipes, tips or advice?