In hosting, I have recently adopted the idea that simplicity is key. I am so over the idea that in order to have people over, my house has to be perfect. I have to have the perfect decor. My setup has to be gorgeous. And the many other thoughts that give me a gut-wrenching anxiety over hosting. One of my favorite “simple” hosting ideas is the taco bar. Here are some fun tips to make this easy meal for a crowd.
~Cook the meat ahead
When I do a taco bar for a crowd, I always cook the meat the night before so that my house doesn’t wreak of meat and onions. I also feel much less stress, and have more time to make sure the house is somewhat clean the day of. Typically I make equal amounts of beef taco meat and chicken fajita mix (which I will share the recipe for below).
~Cut the condiments, and place them in cute bowls
The morning of, I typically cut all the condiments (tomatoes, olives, cheese, lettuce, onions) and place them into cute bowls in the fridge. This way, when it is time to host, I can simply take them out of the fridge, and I am not spending time while guests are there preparing. I also get our salsa, sour cream, and guacamole bowls all set.
~Use some fun labels
I got these super cute labels at Target in their party aisle! I love using them so that guests can see what is in each crock pot without having to take off every single lid. Love that I can use these over and over again.
~Provide chips for Beefy Nachos
When I host a taco buffet, I love to include a big bowl of chips, and a crock of nacho cheese, so that our guests can do a big plate of beefy nachos. This is a huge hit with the kids, and many of the adults too!
~Ask your guests to bring a side to share
While I agree that sometimes it is nice to go somewhere and just be served, I never feel overwhelmed in the least when a host asks me to bring something to share. We hosted a taco bar for some friends recently, and we asked them to each bring something to share. They did an amazing job of bringing things that complimented the meal well. One person brought desserts, one a corn salad/salsa (which was delicious), one brought the guacamole, and one brought the chips and sour cream. To make it even simpler, ask each person to bring one of the condiments, so you only have to worry about the meat!
As promised – here is how I make one batch of the fajitas for my family.
1 lb. chicken breast (we use fryer tenders)
packet of fajita seasoning from the organic food aisle
2 TBSP Olive Oil
Directions: put all ingredients into a ziploc bag, and shake to coat. Let marinate for about an hour. Place in a baking dish with the chicken in a single layer. Bake at 375 for about 35-40 minutes (make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through). Take out of oven and shred chicken.
When making this for just our family, we typically eat it right away on taco shells with our favorite fixings mentioned above. When making it for a crowd however, we refrigerate it overnight, and then put it into the crock pot a few hours before the party.
You can certainly also make this as the package recommends, but I find this way is simpler, and creates less cleanup.
What are your favorite simple hosting ideas?