baking · dessert · Dinner · entertaining · main · Side dish

Easy Entertaining Menu


Entertaining at any season can be overwhelming, but especially so at Christmas, right?  I came up with an entertaining menu that can be made completely ahead of time and simply warmed up when ready to serve.  This is a Mexican Food feast that is delicious and stress-free!  Talk about simplifying things – this will do just that when you invite folks over!

Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Avocado Salsa

Spanish Rice

Refried Beans

Coffee Pie


Spiced Pork Tenderloin Tacos

  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive

Preheat the oven to 375°. Set the tenderloin on a large rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, mix the smoked paprika with the cumin, garlic powder, oregano and cinnamon. Rub the pork with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture all over the pork. Roast the tenderloin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centers registers 145°. Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Using two forks, shred the tenderloin for tacos.

Salsa Ingredients

  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 Hass avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Warm tortillas, for serving

For Salsa:

In a medium bowl, mix the onion with the red wine vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the tomato, avocado, chipotle, oregano and olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss gently. Fill warm tortillas with the sliced pork, top with the salsa and serve.


The Spanish Rice is every bit as easy as a boxed brand but even tastier!  You may already have every ingredient in your pantry for this recipe!

Spanish Rice


  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix rice into skillet, stirring often. When rice begins to brown, stir in chicken broth and salsa. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.


Refried beans are not the most beautiful dish to photograph, but when they’re made from scratch, they are a beautiful thing! This recipe is so delicious.  Here’s how I made mine using the crock pot to simplify the recipe:

Refried Beans
(I halved the recipe and it made plenty for 6-8)

6 cups dried pinto beans
4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch slices (or you can use salt pork, ham hock or diced ham instead)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt, plus more if needed
2 teaspoons black pepper, plus more if needed
1/2 stick butter
1 onion, diced
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar
Sliced jarred jalapenos

Put beans in a pot of water and let sit overnight.  In the morning, cook beans at medium-high temp until boiling.  Add 2 tsp baking soda.  Cook for 2 minutes. (This releases the gases in the beans and will keep tummies from feeling like they’ve eaten beans!)  Drain off water, rinse and place beans and bacon in a crock pot with enough water to cover.  Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.  Simmer butter and cook onion until tender.  Add the beans and liquid into a cast iron skillet, along with seasonings.  Cook until the sauce thickens and beans are tender.  Mash with potato masher until some beans still remain whole.  Serve with Cheddar cheese and Jalapenos.


Coffee Pie

1 Cup Water
1 tlb instant coffee granules
30 Large marshmallows
1/2 Cup walnuts
1 cup Whipping Cream
Cool Whip
Chopped Coffee Beans or Mini Chocolate Chips
Baked pie Shell

Bake Pie shell.  Let cool.
In a medium sauce pan, boil water.  Add coffee granules and marshmallows, stirring constantly until melted.  Let cool completely.

Whip the whipping cream.  Fold into cooled coffee mixture.  Pour into bake pie shell.  Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Cover with Cool Whip and Coffee beans or Chocolate chips.  Serve (with coffee!)

Take the stress out of entertaining and make a menu like this one that can all be prepared ahead of time!  My guests enjoyed it, and if you invite people that love Mexican food, they’ll be really glad you invited them over!

Happy entertaining!

Denise Signature 150 px




What’s Cookin’ in the Country?

This is my first day to use my new title on Monday’s post! Pictures will soon follow!

With all the busyness of moving, I’ve had to use my time carefully to make sure we had nutritious food for energy and stamina! I found this recipe on Mom on a Mission and we loved it! It’s oven baked, but is crispy and juicy!

The flash freezing method put six extra pieces of chicken in my freezer for another busy day! Here’s how it works:

Soak chicken in buttermilk eight hours:

Coat in crumbs:

Place chicken on baking pan and freeze for several hours:

Place in freezer bag until ready to bake!


  • 4 Chicken breasts cut into long strips or about 16 chicken tenders
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper or 1/4 teaspoon regular
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Soak chicken tenders in buttermilk over nigh or 8 hours.
  2. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray (one that will fit in your freezer for flash freezing)
  3. Combine both crumbs with seasonings. Coat chicken well, pressing if necessary.
  4. Lay on pan and flash freeze until solid or over night.
  5. Remove with metal spatula and freeze in a gallon size freezer bag squeezing air out. Label bag with baking directions:
  6. Preheat oven to 425.
  7. Spray a stone or cookie sheet with spray. Place chicken strips on pan and spray top of strips.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear. Broil for 5 minutes if you desire extra crispy.

You’ll love these!

Another answer to the question, “What’s Cookin’ in the Country?” is also…ENCOURAGEMENT!

After living with a husband for 32 years, and him also being a pastor, I know how much he needs my encouragement in both of those roles. It is my desire to encourage you in the days ahead to encourage:

  1. Your pastor

Pastors need to be encouraged!!!!!!!!!!!! They fight the devil as they prepare their messages, preach their messages, and live out their messages. Their flesh can get weary and weak. Their human hearts want to quit. The world is no friend to them, but also their own church members can also be attacking, bringing on even more discouragement. Many well known preachers and missionaries from years past including Charles Spurgeon, David Brainerd and William Carey fought depression due to the very things I just enumerated for you.

Don’t let your pastor, whoever he is, go without your prayers; that is your greatest tool to help lift his heart.

  • Your husband, if you’re married. Our men seem untouched by the “stuff” of life that goes on around them, but they need our words of affirmation. The Strange Woman in Proverbs 7 used ALL kinds of words to entice her prey. How much more should a husband hear from his wife words of support and refreshment?! Tons more!
    This next month, I want to share an idea from Revive Our Hearts, as to how you can specifically pray for your pastor and your husband. Are you up for the challenge? Let’s start today cheering on these dear men!

    Pastor’s encouragement – Pray that your pastor will love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. Pray that God’s Spirit will work in his heart in power and that he will value and follow biblical priorities. (Deut. 6:5, Matt. 6:33)

    Husband’s encouragement – One of the best opportunities to express your gratitude is first thing in the morning. How do you greet your husband each morning? Is he confident in your love? Give him a wake-up call that he’ll never forget—a big “I love you” and an “I’m so glad I’m your wife!”
    Are you willing to take this challenge and be a refreshment to your pastor and your husband?
    With love from my country home,