I almost called this post, “Preparing to feed a few more mouths,” but then you’d think I was expecting a few babies. Uh, nope! Not pregnant.
Anyway, Shane’s parents and possibly his grandpa are coming to visit us this weekend. I love it when family visits! And especially these days when it’s much harder for us to travel with a certain little fellow named Jonathan. Plus, we’re more inspired to get out and do the more touristy (but still fun!) things in Pittsburgh. I also enjoy cooking for others, and use company as a chance to pull out some fun recipes.
Because I don’t want to spend all of my time in the kitchen cooking while they’re here, I’m going to do as much prepwork as I can before they arrive. I thought I’d share my tentative meal plan. It’s tentative because we’ll probably go out to eat some, and tentative because my baby is 8 months old and crawling up a storm and he might not put up with a big cooking day. We’ll see.
- Lemon Herb Chicken Ring (this is a Pampered Chef recipe. My neighbor made this for our lunch one day and it was fantastic! I haven’t made it myself yet.) with deviled eggs and veggie sticks & dip
– I’ll make all the filling for the chicken ring that day, but before they arrive. I can finish it once they arrive or if I know they’re only 15-20 minutes away. The deviled eggs are easy to do in advance. I always prepare hard-cooked eggs in my food steamer, since it’s so simple and I never mess it up! I’ll need some diced red pepper for the chicken ring, so while I’m chopping vegetables, I’ll slice a few more and throw together an onion dip made with sour cream and onion soup mix, which I already have.
- Black bean burgers, macaroni salad, fruit salad, chips
– The black bean burgers are sooo delicious, especially served with slightly toasted buns and fresh veggies. The burgers seem simple to prepare in advance. I might try to freeze them in patties, depending on how in-advance I make them. Hope they still turn out ok. I haven’t decided on a recipe for the macaroni salad. It’ll be something simple, and again, something I can do before they arrive.
- Chicken noodle soup, homemade bread, fruit salad
– I love homemade chicken noodle soup! I’m going to do prepwork by precooking the chicken and chopping carrots, celery and onions and freezing that. I might try this in my crockpot, if I know we’ll have some time before we want to eat. Otherwise, it’ll go on the stove.
– I haven’t used my bread machine nearly enough. I hope to make a loaf to serve with the soup. Should be simple enough, yah?
- Carribean jerk chicken, steamed rice, salad
– I love this recipe! It’s so incredibly simple and perfect for freezers. I chop the fresh chicken in bite-size pieces, throw it in a gallon-sized freezer bag, and add all the seasonings to let it marinate. If you enjoy this dish, make as much as you can and freeze it separately for future enjoyment.
- Spaghetti bolognese, salad, bread
– I already have a batch of the spaghetti sauce in my freezer. I’ll probably want more, though, so once I thaw and heat it, I’ll add another jar of sauce and probably some sliced mushrooms.
For breakfast, if I’m feeling super-inspired and am able, I’ll make baked oatmeal and/or a buttermilk coffeecake. Either of these would be delicious with baked apples, which can be in the oven right along with the oatmeal or coffeecake. The baked oatmeal can be prepared in advance and baked the following morning. When I do the coffeecake, I bake them immediately and freeze what I plan to keep for awhile. It can go in the oven at about 200 to thaw and get nice n’ warm.
What do you like to cook for others?