Monday, October 25, 2010

6 Prepare-Ahead Foods to Simplify Your Life


I am not Martha Stewart and I am also no Paula Deen.  Our daily food around this house is usually very simple, no frills, and usually pretty inexpensive.  Because of this, I used to have quite the anxiety attack when I thought of cooking for company.

I have never been comfortable spending a great deal of time in the kitchen when I have guests to visit with.  I have a small kitchen that isn't set up for an audience, so I am pretty secluded when I work.  In the summer, my husband can grill and I can prepare a few sides, but in the winter most of the cooking takes place indoors.  For these reasons, I prefer meals that I can prepare ahead and just toss in the oven for dinner.  Here are my tried and true options!

1) Lasagna.  This dish keeps very well.  I usually prepare it a day or so in advance, cover it and leave it in the fridge.  If you want to prepare it a week or so in advance, you may want to freeze it.  Branch out: try a spinach lasagna if the regular kind is too boring!  We serve this with breadsticks, salad and a vegetable.

2) Scalloped Potatoes and Ham - this is one of my all time favorite dishes and also great to prepare a day or two in advance.  Merely get it all set for baking and put it in the fridge.  Serve it with a salad and some green beans and you have a delicious meal!

3) Pulled Pork.  This is a great crowd pleaser, easy to make either in a crockpot or on the stove top, reheats excellently and tastes delicious.  Make a cole slaw and some baked beans and you have an awesome dinner.

4) Soups and Chili - always a great "prepare-ahead."  The options here are limitless.  You can serve this for lunch or even for dinner with sandwiches.  I almost always have some homemade chicken stock on hand, and then I browse through my frozen veggies to see what to make.  We love broccoli cheese soup, potato soup, chicken noodle or chicken stew as well as regular traditional chili.  Have a hambone in the freezer?  Try bean or split pea soup!

5)Quiches - Having guests for breakfast?  No worries there!  As you are cleaning up the dinner dishes the night before, throw together a quick quiche and put it in the fridge.  In the morning while you are brewing your coffee, throw your quiche i the oven for 1/2 hour.  Served with fresh fruit, you will seem like a culinary genius!  I make up my own quiches - for a 9x13 pan, you usually need 10 eggs and 1 cup milk plus about 4-8 oz cheese of your choice, a vegetable (if desired) and/or a meat of some sort (if desired).  Salt and pepper and you are good to go!

6) Desserts - the options here are truly limitless.  Most desserts can be prepared in advance.  Cookies and cakes keep very well, and things like crisps or cobblers can be assembled beforehand and baked when ready to eat.

Hopefully this gave you a few ideas and helped quell any fears you have about cooking for company!  What is your favorite prepare-ahead meal?

Bookmark Digg Bookmark Bookmark Facebook Bookmark Reddit Bookmark StumbleUpon Bookmark Yahoo Bookmark Google Bookmark Technorati Bookmark Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for stopping by! I love hearing from you! While you're here, don't forget to click "subscribe"!