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Jun 30, 2009 10:36 AM

Company's coming - meal sugggestions anyone?

I have various relatives coming in beginning Thursday - ending Sunday. I am at a loss as to what to prepare. I'd like something I can cook in the next two days and just reheat - or something that cooks up really fast. We are not picky eaters - any suggestions would be appreciated. By the way - I have access to Costco, Sam's Club and Trader Joes. Cooking for adults only - no diet restrictions.

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  1. First where are you?

    Second easy for me. If grilling A good pork loin, roasted potatoes on the grill, roasted corn or asparagus a nice salsa for the pork roast with summer veggies, fresh fruit.

    Stuffed peppers or tomatoes grilled, even a simple skirt steak with a great marinade, made way ahead, some risotta or a good couscous salad, some sauteed spinach and grilled onions, fresh tomatoes and mozz with spinach salad.

    Chicken and dumplings, grilled romaine salad with a traditional blue cheese sauce, grilled peaches over ice cream.

    A great pasta with a mix of fresh greens, arugula, asparagus, peas, some ricotta, mozz, parm and fresh penne all baked with a bread crumb crust. Easy and delish. A wonderful roasted tomato and cucumber and fennel salad served individually in romaine leaves with a simple vinaigrette. Grilled pound cake with a walnut maple syrup sauce with grilled pineapple.

    Soups, a good barley, my potato soup with fresh spinach and sauteed mushrooms, A nice stuffed baguette with fresh grilled shrimp, lettuce tomato, a sort of po boy for a light night.

    Grilled ribs, a jicama apple slaw, a roasted broccoli and cauliflower salad, or a carrot salad or my favorite a cucumber dill and red pepper and onion salad.

    For the fourth I like to go some what traditional BBQ type of food. Just me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kchurchill5

      Thanks kchurchill5 ... I am in the lovely Southwest (Albuquerque). Your suggestions are great ... I too thought about a soup/sandwich combo for one of the meals since I have a panini pan. Okay - one meal down and a few to go ...

    2. I think most of what kchurchill5 has listed will cook up both quickly and/or yield to preparation ahead of time, even if you prepare a portion (e.g. chicken and dumplings) ahead of time and finish it up (dumplings should be freshly cooked) just before the meal. So she's set a good foundation for you to work from.
      One of my favorite make ahead items is pulled pork. If you get that finished ahead of time and refrigerate enough for your single meal while freezing the remainder you have the foundation for a meal that can go anywhere you'd like to take it. Empenadas, tamales, pulled pork gravy over waffles, Enchilada, any type of casserole using tortillas, rice, pasta or potatoes.

      1 Reply
      1. re: todao

        Ditto the pulled pork always good, Enchiladas or a similar casserole as well, great foundation and great left overs.

        Like todao mentioned anything ahead makes life easier on you. You can always go with a good baked ham or turkey, stick it in the oven and it pretty much cooks itself and feeds a bunch. And just don't think stuffing, think of a great wild rice dish or a there are many great casserole that incorporate rice and fresh roasted vegetables that would compliment the turkey or ham A chilled wild rice salad is great with a nice side of fresh roasted vegetables. Or a nice chutney which can be made ahead and then chilled. Great with sliced turkey or ham.

        But a nice pot of soup will last quite a while in the fridge, and is a great start for lunch. For me I never plan lunch, I alway have a few cold cuts and a few cheeses and soups and that way, you can mix or match. That are leftover from maybe grilled chicken or pork is what I enjoy for lunch. Sometimes I will make up a big batch of steamed shrimp that people can just nibble on or make a sandwich.

        Empenadas are great as todao mentioned, I love them, my Dad doesn't but I am many friends certainly do.

        I'm sure you have a better idea of what your relatives like. But it is your holiday too. So don't stress, make something easy but yet comforting that doesn't get you stuck in the kitchen all day. And ask others to help out. I have found that their are always a few who actually enjoy helping out which can really make it easier for you. I don't have a problem asking.

        Breakfast, make it easy on yourself a nice couple of tins of croissants, you can make a simple cream cheese and walnut spread for a quick bit, poached eggs over toasted croissants, if you have some canadian bacon it takes only minutes. You can also dip them and make a quick french toast. Or for me this time of year fresh fruit always goes well.

      2. Agree with KC & Todao, most large roasts are fuss free, and can easily be prepped or finished ahead of time and reheated.

        Pork shoulder (Boston butt) is easy in the crockpot and can make lots of sandwiches, tacos, etc with the shredded meat.

        Roast turkey & chicken are easy faves of mine - just dry brine in your fridge, heavily seasoned & uncovered, and you will have a flavorful, most juicy bird.

        I'm also partial to a boneless leg of lamb. Broiled or grilled, butterflied is easiest and quickest to do. Make sure to marinate or rub heavily the night before.

        Ribs and chicken pieces can be cooked ahead, then placed on the grill and basted with sauce and they're done in 15 mins.

        Pasta and potato salads seem better the next day as the flavors have melded some. I love fresh meditarranean flavors, like an orzo salad with feta, olives & peppers.

        I also always keep some marinated chicken breasts in the freezer, that I can thaw out in the fridge the night before & throw on the grill last minute. I like a simple garlic, white wine vinegar and thyme marinade.

        Hope that helps!

        4 Replies
        1. re: Phurstluv

          Yes, loves the frozen breasts, also keep a pork loin at times marinated. Easy to just defrost and grill. Easy and quick, less work for you. A quick warm potato salad or couscous some grilled corn on the cob or any fresh veggies and a salad and dinner. 30 minutes with hardly any work.

          1. re: kchurchill5

            Exactly, my kind of weeknight meal, or when you have guests for an extended stay.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Nothing like quick and easy, outside grilling relaxed a good bottle of wine some margarittas to start, throw a baquette on the grill, some pesto and a little cheese to start and how easy. Use some paper plates outside, make life simple. More important is to just enjoy your guests rather than a fancy meal. Not that you don't want to cook a great dinner, but sometimes a simple dinner, just to enjoy with friends, family or relatives is way more worth the food itself.

          2. re: Phurstluv

            Thanks ... Roast turkey is a great idea and I have a local resource for a fresh turkey. Two meals down and a few to go ...

          3. Suggestions for dinner have been so good that I thought I would suggest a few easy fixes for the other times of day. For breakfasts you could make a few different types of muffins and freeze, then defrost the morning of. Serve with berries and good greek yogurt with honey. Or try making a make-ahead stuffed french toast by spreading cream cheese on slices of day-old french bread, sandwiching them together, and dousing in an egg, cream, orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla, melted butter mixture. Then refrigerate overnight and bake off the next morning. For lunches, buy a rotisserie chicken and pull it into a salad with grilled veggies and couscous. Buy really nice rare roast beef and make sandwiches with a sour cream/horseradish mixture, arugula, roasted peppers on ciabatta. Do an easy lunch of baguette, cheese, fruit, good sliced french ham, and a purchased dessert from a credible bakery. Hope this helps!

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodie4444

              I have a great breakfast casserole and great breakfast pizzas with fresh tomatoes and pancetta. They aren't fancy by any means but always a hit. It uses crescent rolls (pillsbury), uses Ore Ida Obrien diced potatoes (frozen) eggs, bacon or ham and cheese. Now I have made the same thing dicing my own potatoes, grating my own cheese and making my own biscuits, but if you want something hearty, easy and nice this is a fun recipe. You make it the night ahead. Bake 30 min in the am, top with the rolls and bake another 15 and serve. I will list the pizza recipe below, just as easy but fun and great for company.

              Here it is.

              1 bag 28oz package of frozen diced Ore Ida potatoes. Obrien has the green peppers,
              onions and red peppers added. If you just can fine the plain, just add a little onion or
              extra red pepper
              1 1/2 cups or one bag of shredded colby-montery jack cheese or your favorite blend
              6 eggs
              1/2 cup milk
              1/2 teaspoon hot salt
              1 teaspoon any all purpose seasoning
              s/p to taste
              I like 6 slices of chopped sauteed bacon, or you can you pancetta or just chopped ham
              1 8oz can of crescent dinner rolls (Pillsbury)

              Spray the 13x9 pan with pam. Add the potatoes, frozen is fine, then the cheese and toss lightly. Then mix the eggs, milk, seasoning and pour on top. Top with the bacon and cover overnight. Heat oven to 350, let the dish sit out a few minute to slightly get the chill off. Cook 30 minutes uncovered. Remove and set to the side. Remove the dough from the pillsbury can and lay flat on a lightly floured service, press the seams together and then cut into 8 squares. Lay the eight squares on the casserole and cook another 15 minutes until the crust is golden. Set 5 minutes and cut. Serves 8-10. It is amazing.

              Breakfast Pizzas:
              1 can Pillsbury crescent dinner rolls
              2 large tomatoes (I like plum) thin sliced
              1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
              1/4 cup pesto (home made or not)
              1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
              3/4 cup diced ham or you can use 5-6 slices of diced sauteed bacon or pancetta
              1 cup mozz
              3 scallions diced

              Just like the pizza, lay flat and press the seams together and then cut into eight squares. Put the eight squares on a greased cookie sheet. Spread the cream cheese over each square and then the pesto. Top with sauteed mushrooms and 1/2 the cheese. Add the tomatoes, bacon/ham/pancetta and scallion and then the rest of the cheese. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown at 375.

              I used spinach, ham and tomatoes rather than mushrooms. Use what your favorite veggies are. They are small individual pizzas which are easy and fun and take no time to bake.

              Another fun dish is to make a pan of scrambled eggs with scallions, mushrooms, some herbed cheese, onion, and under cook slightly, you can also add diced ham or spinach and vegetables you enjoy. Make this the night before. Then in the am, hollow out a small baguette and then stuff with with cheese, then the egg mixture top with fresh tomatoes, extra cheese and then wrap up the bread and bake 30-40 minutes. Slice and enjoy. Easy and quick.

            2. Thanks chowhounders - great suggestions - I anticipate my guests can look forward to some great meals (and I can rest easy and enjoy my company).