More on Hosting the Unexpected Guest
I was so happy to see that there were so many great comments on getting your home ready for an unexpected guest. It seemed like people enjoyed the cleaning tips and techniques, but the question about feeding the unexpected guests also came up. I thought it was an excellent question and I have been thinking a lot about it for this week's topic. Getting your house ready for an unexpected guest is challenging, but cooking food when you aren't prepared can often be more difficult.
I think the key with this is really having your pantry stocked and ready to go for the unexpected. If it is the day before grocery day, however, you might need to just take the plunge and hit the supermarket. In all other instances, having a stocked pantry can be the answer to all of those unexpected hungry mouths and it can be a lifesaver when, let's say, you have to bring a treat to school and forgot you signed up. Of course, this has NEVER happened to me...well, maybe once or twice.
Here are some tips for preparation:
- Remember my post about how brunch is sometimes best? Brunch can be the least expensive meal and one that can easily be prepared and multiplied for your guests. I like to mix up the ingredients ahead of time for my waffles and pancakes so that we can eat these for times such as these. Not only are these mixes great for the unexpected guest, but they can be great for those nights when you just don't feel motivated to cook. We use these lots on the weekends, when I want to be spending time with my family rather than slaving away in the kitchen.
- Sometimes a couple of convenience items in your pantry can really help you in times like these. While I don't endorse eating convenience foods all of the time, because they cost so much more than their made-from-scratch counterparts, these are still much cheaper than paying to dine out. I like to keep cake mixes on hand to whip up a quick batch of muffins , a quick apple crisp, or an elegant coffee cake. A jar of spaghetti sauce, for example, can help you make a quick batch of spaghetti and can easily be doctored with spices or a can of diced tomatoes. Keep just a few convenience items on hand so that you can whip something up easily for occasions such as these.
- Stocking your freezer can also be helpful in these types of situations. Defrost items in your freezer quickly in your microwave. If you have meatballs in your freezer, for example, you could pair them with the spaghetti sauce and make an entire spaghetti and meatballs dinner in a matter of minutes. Some items may require a longer thaw time, but if your guests happen to be dropping in for a weekend visit, you could pull things the night before to be used the next day.
- If you absolutely don't feel up to making anything and don't have the goods to prepare something, there is always dining out...but do this by still dining in! I prefer to do those take-and-bake pizzas or lasagnas from the grocery store or a pizza joint and make my own salad and drinks at home. You can still take a little help from the restaurants and add your own homemade touches to make those dinners special. By preparing the drinks, sides, and quick desserts at home you will still save lots of money and enjoy the convenience of having someone else prepare the main dish.
Here are a list of fun & fast recipes that you can make at home. Most can be prepared and served alongside a simple side salad, a little bread, and a pitcher of sweet tea:
Sound Off: How do you feed your unexpected guests? Do you have any fast and furious recipes to share for entertaining?