It's been an exciting last few days around here- we had a whole bunch of our friends from VA come up and visit us!  

 

One of my college roommates and her boyfriend came up to stay with us on Wednesday night, and then 2 of Mike's old roommates (before I stole him to live with me) and one of their girlfriends came up to visit from Friday to Sunday!

 

It was so awesome seeing everyone again.  It feels like it's been FOREVER since we moved up here, but it's really only been 2 months.  Crazy.

 

I did a terrible job of taking pictures but that might be for the best.  There was far too much homebrew, wine, and gin consumed in the past 48 hours... not having picture proof is probably a good thing.

 

The one thing I did get pictures of was our jaunt to Lake Ontario.  The weather all weekend was super rainy and gross but we figured we needed to at least show our friends a great lake, right?!

 

We thought it was really cool that all the sand on the "beach" (yes there is a beach around the lake) was covered in snow!  Have you ever seen a snow-covered beach?  It's a weird sight, let me tell you.  The guys in that picture look like they're on an Arctic expedition!

 

So anyway, we walk around on the snow/sand for awhile and then decide we want to go check out the water.  After walking probably 75% of the way to the water's edge, we had the unbelievably brilliant realization that hmm... are we even still on the sand?  Or are we walking on ice?

 

Yeah, I'm way too city for this kinda stuff.  Turns out we were actually walking ON the lake, thank goodness none of us actually fell through!

 

Well, actually, one of us did.  See that hole?  Our friend's foot fell into the water, hahaha.  Don't feel too bad, though, because I'm pretty sure he did it on a dare.  Hah.

 

So anyway, we slowly retraced our steps and made our way back to solid ground.  I will be much more careful around lakes up here from now on!  YIKES.

 

Throughout the debauchery, we had to eat.  It was important to me to provide at least a few meals for our friends- after all, they had driven 6+ hours just to visit us!

 

Normally, feeding a crowd can be a pretty expensive endeavor.  But I tried my hardest to plan ahead and pick things that didn't need a lot of fancy (read: expensive) ingredients.  I also made sure to see what we already had in our fridge & pantry and incorporate that into the meals! Here's what we ended up with....

 

 

Burritos

On Wednesday, when my college roomie & her bf came, we whipped up some burritos.  I've talked about cheap burritos before, right?  Well, we've been working on a new, easier method of cooking the fixins and I'm happy to announce that it works EVEN BETTER.

 

Instead of baking the chicken by itself and sauteeing the veggies on the stove, we use the Budget Bytes oven fajitas method: slice up all the veggies and cut the chicken into small strips, toss it all in a little vegetable oil and taco seasoning, and pop it in a 400* oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring it around once halfway through.  It will cook everything all at once and you won't have to stand over the stove sauteeing veggies.  WIN!  We also had salsa, plain greek yogurt (tastes just like sour cream!), corn, kidney beans, and rice to add to the burritos.  It was delicious!

 

Spaghetti

When the big crew came, we made a hugeeee italian feast for dinner.  We made spaghetti with two 1 lb boxes of rigatoni (so I guess not technically "spaghetti", huh?), 2 24-oz jars of sauce, and whipped up a serving of make ahead meatballs.  I accidentally only got 1 lb of meat but still used 1 box of stuffing mix and only 1 egg and a little less water.  It came out just fine!  I love that recipe because I was able to bake the meatballs Thursday afternoon and keep them in the fridge, then pop them in the sauce and warm up on Friday night.

 

Muffins & Eggs & Home Fries

Friday morning I made a batch of Pumpkin Muffins.  This was one of those recipes that I chose specifically because of the ingredients I have in the pantry.  I had a big can of pumpkin puree from last Thanksgiving (no worries it wasn't expired, haha) and I figured that would be awesome in muffins!  So I googled "pumpkin muffins", found a huge list of them on allrecipes.com, and picked this recipe since I already had all of the ingredients.  #winning.

 

Just be aware- that recipe says it makes "12 servings" which I assumed meant 12 muffins?  Uh... no.  Try 36.   No worries, we demolished them all over the course of the weekend :)

 

Oh yeah, I also added chocolate chips because those just make everything better.

 

We paired the muffins with scrambled eggs (we made 14 eggs for 5 people- excessive?  NOPE) and home fries.  We already had the potatoes from our epic post Thanksgiving feast last weekend, we just diced them up in 1-ish inch cubes and used this recipe to cook them.  Turned out pretty well!

 

For the other meals, we hit up some Rochester staples like Nick Tahou's for a garbage plate (if you don't know what that is, I try to explain it here) and the Genesee Brew House for dinner and beers.   YUM.

 

PS- all you people who visited us?  WE MISS YOU ALREADY.  Come back ASAP!

 

 

Moral of the story is that you can feed a whole bunch of people without breaking the bank!  Do you have any other cheap, crowd-feeding recipes?