We’re not really night people. However, we do try to have someone over for a meal several times a month, working through the families in our church so we get to know everyone. The evenings are difficult, however, with the kids’ routines and inevitable grizzles at the end of the day, plus, if the company stays too long (because they’re having such a wonderful time), David starts to nod off around 8:30.

Not everyone is in a regimented nine-to-five weekday, and as David’s pretty flexible (some days he works away from home, some days he’s here), a weekday lunch date is our preferred time for having people over. This week our guests came around 11.30 and stayed until 3. It was a good, relaxed meal, and we could talk leisurely while the children continued to play around us.

Gary, Joanna, and David, March 2009
G and J have one daughter and are expecting a son in two months. The gap between their two children is about 18-months, so we could really encourage them with how we've loved the gap.

For today’s lunch, I experimented with Bird’s Nest Pie, which is basically a spaghetti casserole. It’s good for effect but rather a lot of trouble when you could just serve up spaghetti and meatballs. Here’s the recipe:

1/2 pack spaghetti
2 eggs, beaten
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese (I used Colby cheese)
½ cup onion; finely chopped
2 tablespoons margarine/butter
1 carton sour cream
1 pounds Italian sausage
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup water
2 cups grated cheese

Break spaghetti in half, and cook as directed on package until al dente; drain. While spaghetti is warm, combine with eggs and parmesan cheese. Press spaghetti into bottom and up sides of a well greased, 10” pie plate with a spoon.

Saute onion in margarine, mix with sour cream and spread over crust. At the same time, brown sausage in large skillet; drain fat. Stir in tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon over sour cream mixture. Cover dish with foil, and freeze. To prepare for serving, thaw pie and cheese. Bake pie uncovered in preheated 180C/350F oven for 25 minutes. Arrange grated cheese on top. Return pie to oven until cheese melts.

If you have some sort of flexibility in your schedule, try having someone over for a meal in the middle of the day — it’s a great break.