Do you get stressed before company comes and not know where to turn?  The following are a few easy things I do to remove steps from my day before company arrives that allow me more time to be present for friends and family upon arrival.
Day 1: Tacos.  The dish I made for the first night is a variation on traditional tacos.

And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in god my Savior, because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His slave…. Luke 1:46-48

Preparing ahead of time.  In life and with company meals, preparation ahead of time  allows  me to magnify Him to others, saving me time in the kitchen for time with family and friends.  I am prepared to be present.

Cook up a pot of black beans and a separate pot of rice 1-2 days before. The rice and beans both have standard recipes on the side of the bags. I follow those directions  and add a little e.v.o.o. and butter to both as they simmer.  Store cooked beans and rice in the refrigerator.
The day before cook up about 3 lbs. of carne picada or other meat of your choice sliced extra thin, seasoning to taste.  I boil mine in a cup of water and drain off before adding one small can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilis, and a nice dose of garlic powder, salt and pepper.

On the day of their visit, buy fresh ingredients:fof

Bag of limes

2 bags of cilantro

4-5 tomatoes

1 head of garlic

1 onion

fresh tortillas….watch for carts rolling into the bread aisle

1 head of lettuce

1 c of apple butter

Plate cilantro into a bowl tearing off leaves gently.  Slice limes in half and place on a small cutting board leaving a few whole for guests.

Make your pico-de gallo.  Finely chop tomatoes, garlic and onion, add salt, pepper and jalapeno pepper to taste…squeeze four to five limes and toss thoroughly.  Add some chopped cilantro.  Chill several hours covered before dinner.

Toss 1 c of apple butter  into carne picada and serve on a heated platter (hearth or oven works well)

Slice lettuce very thin and place on the table, along with your chilled pico- de gallo, tortillas, beans, rice and carne picada. Your feast is ready and your guests will enjoy your company as you join them at the table instead of speaking to them from your kitchen.

I would have missed the neighborhood girls and their four cans of empty shaving cream (pictured above) if I had stayed in the kitchen all evening.