Sun-fueled summer entertaining is swinging into full force. And if there's one thing I love to do, it's hosting. I love getting people together to enjoy good company, eat great food, and relax.
When people come into my home, I want them to feel taken care of. However, being the Type-A human that I am, I want everything to be perfect. Thus, I habitually spend way too much money on food, favors, and other party elements. Not only does this cause unnecessary stress, but I miss the entire point: Entertaining isn't about how much money you spend. It's about bringing people together to celebrate and enjoy life.
Though that may sound cliché, it's true. And the person who recently reminded me of this is someone who may surprise you: Chrissy Teigen. Chrissy is my current favorite food-loving celebrity--and when it comes to entertaining, we're kindred spirits.
The Sports Illustrated model, wife to John Legend, new mom, and co-host of Spike TV’s Lip Sync Battle is also an avid cook. She runs a food blog called Delushious and released her first cookbook earlier this year. Simply scroll through her Instagram, and you won't be able to get very far without noticing she's constantly cooking and entertaining.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Chrissy about her book, cooking as a new mom, and summer entertaining, and it didn't take me long to realize how practical and down to earth she is about it.
MR: Any exciting plans this summer? Are you going to entertain?
CT: John likes to throw parties in LA, and they’re always very casual. There’s no like passed hors d’oeuvre’s or anything. It’s very friendly to the masses. We have ice buckets around, everyone’s pouring their own drinks, and there’s no bartender. You’re going to come, and you’re going to have a good time. Hopefully we'll be in soon, because I love cooking for the masses. I need to make like 12-15 dishes to feel happy.Though Chrissy's extremely busy these days taking care of her 3-month-old baby Luna, she can't wait to get back to hosting parties in LA. Chrissy and John love to entertain, and they're not fussy about it--and this is why we love them. But, really, no bartender or servers? Keep reading to learn what they're serving to their guests.
MR: So you're doing all the cooking? What’s a favorite, easy dish you and John like to whip up for guests that still looks impressive?
CT: We love Frito Pie, which is a tailgating-style dish. We make John’s chili, dump it into a little bag of Fritos, and then have an entire buffet of all of these accouterments for it like shredded cheddar, green onion, and sour cream. It’s one of my favorite recipes in my book, and I think it’s one of the coolest things to walk into for a party. When you see these little bags of Fritos with their tops rolled down and this pot of crazy-flavorful, bold chili, and then all these little bowls of toppings for people to jazz it up however they want, it really sets the tone for a party.
In case you've never heard of Frito Pie, let me educate you. It's just about the most fun way you can possibly attack taco night. Basically, these individual "pies" call for your typical taco ingredients, including ground beef (or John's Chili--see below for the recipe), bell peppers, cheese, sour cream, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and salsa. The key element that sets them apart are snack-size bags of corn chips. These deconstructed tacos are simple, quick, and portable, and we're obsessed with the idea of serving them for a summer party.
John Legend's Chili
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans, drained
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef, mushrooms, onion, seasoned salt, chili powder, and cayenne to pan. Cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms release their liquid and the meat is no longer pink, 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 cups water, brown sugar, tomato sauce, and kidney beans to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low; simmer until chili thickens and the liquid reduces slightly, about 35 to 40 minutes.*The chili tastes better the longer you let the flavors mingle.
So thanks, Chrissy, for reminding me that entertaining doesn't have to be synonymous with extravagant. Throwing a party is about bringing people together to enjoy life, not about a perfect buffet table and fancy appetizers. You can serve creative and fun food without breaking the bank, and your guests will leave just as happy.
Hungry for more Frito Pie recipes? Keep scrolling. We call this dish several names, including Corn Chip Pie and our personal favorite: The Walking Taco.