One of the best things about the weather getting warming is having more opportunities to get together with friends and family to share good times and good food.

But sometimes, the idea of your basic sit-down, plated-meal dinner is a bit too much — especially as all those kitchen chores can keep the cooks from enjoying the time together.

One solution is to serve something that guests can put together themselves, such as a Taco Rice Bowl. Or set up an omelet bar, where guests can choose the meats, cheeses and vegetables they would like, all served with a side of home fries seasoned with rosemary.

For dessert, try something that is satisfying without being too terribly sweet, like a Mocha Cream Pie.

All these recipes feature ingredients from members of the Made In Oklahoma Coalition. To find out where to find these products, go to miocoalition.com.

Taco Rice Bowl

Taco Beef

1 pound lean Peachcrest Farms ground beef

1 small onion, chopped finely

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon Scissortail Farms fresh oregano, chopped finely

1 teaspoon Cheatwood’s Pure Raw Honey

1 teaspoon garlic, chopped finely

1½ teaspoons salt

1. Saute the ground beef, stirring to brown evenly.

2. Add the onions and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring to fully incorporate. Saute for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

1 small onion, chopped finely

1½ cups long grain rice

2 tablespoons New Mexico red ground chili powder

½ cup tomato sauce

½ teaspoon salt

3 cups chicken stock

1. Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepot over medium heat. Saute the onions until translucent.

2. Stir in the rice and chili powder. Gently stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a low simmer, cover the pan and allow the rice to cook, about 25 minutes.

To Serve: Serve with bowls of fresh cut limes, diced tomato, chopped Scissortail Farms chives, Hiland shredded sharp cheddar cheese, Hiland sour cream, avocado, Scissortail Farms cilantro and Coop Ale Works beer.

Make Your Own Omelet Bar

1 dozen eggs

Water

2 tablespoons Hiland Butter

Salt

1. Set out the eggs you will be using a few hours in advance to bring them to room temperature (room temperature eggs cook more quickly and evenly).

2. Crack 3 eggs into a small mixing bowl, add 3 tablespoons of warm water and blend with a fork.

3. Heat a 10-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add ½ tablespoon butter and tilt the pan, covering the surface of the pan evenly. Pour the eggs into the center of the pan, and stir vigorously with a rubber spatula for 5 seconds. As soon as a semi-solid mass begins to form, lift the pan and move it around until the excess liquid pours off the eggs onto the surface of the pan.

4. Run spatula around the edge of the egg mixture to help shape into a circle and loosen the edge. Let the omelet solidify for a few seconds and season lightly with salt.

5. Use spatula to slide omelet out of the pan and onto a warm plate. Guests can then fill them with their choice of items, such as:

Bar-S Ham, chopped

Bar-S Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Greer’s Ranch House sausage, cooked and crumbled

Hiland sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Scissortail Farms chives, chopped

Hiland Sour Cream

Ace in a Bowl Salsa

J-M mushrooms, sliced and sauteed

Mocha Cream Pie Chocolate Crust:

25 chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreo)

5 tablespoons Braum’s butter

1. Crush cookies in a food processor, or place cookies in a plastic sealed bag, leaving it slightly open to let air out, and crush cookies by rolling and smashing with a rolling pin.

2. Place crumbs in bowl. Stir in butter, mixing with a fork. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Chill 30 minutes before filling.

Pie Filling:

2 Bedre milk chocolate bars (total of 4 ounces)

2 cups Braum’s Heavy Whipping Cream

¾ cup powdered sugar, divided.

½ teaspoon Griffin’s vanilla extract

8-ounce package Braum’s cream cheese

¼ cup Compadres brewed coffee, cooled

1. Chop chocolate bars. Place pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, warming at 50 percent power for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Once melted, set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, mix heavy cream until soft peaks begin to form. Add ¼ cup powdered sugar and vanilla extract, continuing to whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

3. In another bowl, beat cream cheese and ½ cup powdered sugar together until combined. Slowly add coffee, mixing until combined. Add melted chocolate, mixing on low speed until combined.

4. Add 2 cups of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture, folding to combine. Pour into pie crust, smoothing to the edges.

5. Top with remaining whipped cream. Top with chocolate curls from a Bedre chocolate bar. Refrigerate pie for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Note: For the best chocolate curls, place a Bedre chocolate bar in the freezer, then use a vegetable peeler across the chocolate to make curls.

Fried Rosemary Potatoes

2 pounds small new potatoes or fingerling potatoes

½ cup Hiland salted butter

1½ tablespoons Scissortail Farms rosemary, stems removed and chopped fine

2 small cloves garlic, minced finely

1½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Halve potatoes, then cook in boiling water until a fork can be inserted easily into potato. Strain in colander, and cool on a cookie sheet. If making potatoes in advance, put cooled potatoes in a 1-gallon plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.

2. When ready to serve, melt the butter over medium heat in a large saute pan. When the butter is melted and pan has heated through, add the potatoes and gently turn every 3-4 minutes to brown them evenly. After about 8 minutes, add the rosemary and garlic and allow this to saute for an additional 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

James D. Watts Jr.

918-581-8478

james.watts@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: watzworld

Scene Writer

James writes primarily about the visual, performing and literary arts. Phone: 918-581-8478