Something I learned quickly upon marrying into my husband’s family was that my in-laws have the concept of an impromptu party DOWN. Not ones to usually plan too far ahead, it is often the case where once one son and his family show up (my in-laws had five boys and no daughters), before you know it, all those who live locally are called over and a party (which didn’t exist in anybody’s mind an hour before) is now suddenly underway.
Having raised five sons (all with big appetites and all who love to snack between meals), my mother-in-law is the expert on being able to whip up something crowd-pleasing in a hurry (without any time to plan ahead for ingredients or look at recipes or anything). One thing is for sure–if you go to my in-laws around a meal time (or even not around a meal time), you will likely be fed, and fed well.
One Meidell specialty that works particularly well with the crowd we become is the following formula:
Meat-Based Dish in Sauce + Your Choice of Mashed Potatoes, Noodles, or Rice as a Base
Seriously, one of these days I’m going to do a post compiling just some of the MANY variations we have had on this formula over the years.
Today though, I’m just going to share one (and it’s one I recently stole from my sister-in-law when she made it for just one such party last month, though we did at least have a couple days advance warning on this particular shindig). I love this recipe because it generally goes over well with pretty much anyone, it can be made gluten-free (which we have people in Matt’s and my family who have celiac, so that’s important), and it can be easily doubled or tripled to accommodate more people.
And, of course, it serves VERY well over mashed potatoes, noodles, OR rice (although at a Meidell gathering, you will always have your choice of all three).
Pesto Ranch Chicken
Serves: 6 adults (but can easily be doubled or tripled)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 packet Ranch seasoning
1 8-oz jar of pesto (I used Clasico)
- Dump all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- When a meat thermometer pushed into the chicken reads 165, shred the chicken in the pot, then leave for another half hour or so to marinade in the juices.
- Serve over mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles.
Seriously, you can’t get much easier than that.
And it’s DELICIOUS.