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In-Laws Visiting For First Time & No Time to Cook!

sivyaleah Dec 23, 2011 06:55 AM

My BF's parents just shocked us by announcing they would like to come stay with us for a long weekend.

They are elderly, and live a couple of hours away. They have pretty much never visited him at his home like EVER for an overnight stay. Let alone while he was living with someone. We nearly fainted when they said they wanted to spend time here - which is perfectly fine. I really like them a lot and vice versa (in fact, they are the first "in-laws" I've had which I can say that about :D)

Anyway, my problem is they arrive on a Friday but, I'll be at work when they get here. BF is taking the day off from his job. I don't get home until after 7pm - *maybe* I can get out a bit early but it will be my first week back to work after 11 days off (our office shuts down for the holidays) so I can not leave too early.

BF does NOT cook. Well, barely. Surely not enough to be of help here. He can put out a cheese platter :P

I won't have time to cook a proper dinner unless I can prepare something in advance. I'd prefer not to have to take them out that night since they have been hearing about what a good cook I am for several years now (and, his mom is a very good cook too - I've had the pleasure of having a few meals at their home through the years).

I could use some suggestions of dishes which either I can cook very quickly when I get home or; the night before or even freeze in advance that would heat up relatively fast. Nothing fancy - they prefer comfort type foods for sure. I'll probably do some kind of roasted meat on Saturday (turkey, ham or beef) when I have all day to prep. His mom probably is more of an adventurous eater than his dad I think, although I'm sure whatever I made he would eat. All of us are big seafood eaters but the problem with that, is I won't be able to get anything fresh, it would have to have been something purchased in advance, kept frozen and defrosted for that purpose.

Last day I'd be able to stock up for them coming would be Monday, the 2nd if the supermarkets are open that day. Are they? I hope so!

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  1. m
    magiesmom RE: sivyaleah Dec 23, 2011 07:01 AM

    You have a whole huge amount of time ahead, so don't worry. Make a nice braise for the first night, short ribs or beef stew, or a braised chicken dish, it will be better the second ( or third day). You cna warm it up when you come home ( or BF can) and voila!

    4 Replies
    1. re: magiesmom
      sivyaleah RE: magiesmom Dec 23, 2011 07:15 AM

      I like the idea of the short ribs. It's something I don't think they would cook for themselves most likely, and they can be served over either large noodles or with mashed potatoes which are easy to whip up at the last minute. I actually could even throw that into the crock pot the night before. I've done them in that way before, browned on the stove top first and they come out really nicely with that method.

      Awesome. Thanks.

      1. re: sivyaleah
        magiesmom RE: sivyaleah Dec 23, 2011 07:43 AM

        they really are better the second day, so I don't think the crock pot is actually a good idea.
        If you want seafood, you could do bourride, also better the next day.

        1. re: magiesmom
          sivyaleah RE: magiesmom Dec 23, 2011 07:49 AM

          Oh wow, that looks amazing. I'd consider doing that on Saturday instead of a roast perhaps. All of us would really enjoy that dish!

          1. re: sivyaleah
            magiesmom RE: sivyaleah Dec 23, 2011 03:15 PM

            It might be fun to do together with MIL.

    2. Davwud RE: sivyaleah Dec 23, 2011 07:02 AM

      How's your BF at heating stuff up?? Make something like a lasagna or other casserole type thing that all he needs to do is stick in the oven. Charge him with getting some bread during the day.

      You could have a salad ready to go was well.


      6 Replies
      1. re: Davwud
        sivyaleah RE: Davwud Dec 23, 2011 07:17 AM

        Another good idea. You actually reminded me about a lasagna I made many years ago that had mini meatballs embedded in it. Very time consuming but oh-so-delicious. I wonder if I can dig up the recipe somewhere. Lasagnas freeze really well, that's for sure. I could make that the weekend prior and defrost a day in advance.

        1. re: Davwud
          CanadaGirl RE: Davwud Dec 23, 2011 08:11 AM

          Lasagna immediately came to my mind too. Or a nice (non-authentic probably) meat sauce for spaghetti.

          1. re: CanadaGirl
            soupkitten RE: CanadaGirl Dec 23, 2011 09:25 AM

            me three, on the lasagna (or similar). bf could pop it in the oven, and you could toss a salad together.

            hearty soup is warming and seasonal, most older folks are content to have a big bowl of soup and some bread, rather than a heavy meal. i know it's a similar idea to the braise above or the chili below, but making a favorite soup recipe 1 day ahead and just reheating when you get home would be easy and hopefully low-stress.

            1. re: soupkitten
              sivyaleah RE: soupkitten Dec 23, 2011 02:51 PM

              This is something I would not have thought of at all and easily could be done way in advance. All I'd need to pick up is a good bread on the way home and he could have a salad made and we'd be set. Nice idea too. Thanks!

          2. re: Davwud
            betsydiver RE: Davwud Dec 23, 2011 08:40 AM

            chili is a good do-ahead dish also, maybe with corn bread and a nice salad?, depending on their tastes, of course!

            1. re: betsydiver
              sivyaleah RE: betsydiver Dec 23, 2011 09:15 AM

              No chili. His mom has a gastro disorder :(

          3. Hank Hanover RE: sivyaleah Dec 23, 2011 09:03 AM

            If you feel you just have to cook, I would either braise something like the others have suggested or make a casserole in a 9x13 pyrex pan. Put it in the refrigerator with aluminum foil over it and throw it in the oven as soon as you get home. Even better, have your boyfriend preheat the oven and put it in as soon as you call to let him know you are on the way.

            However, this will result in people eating at 8pm and dirty dishes and all that hassle. I would be very tempted to pick up Chinese food on the way home. You can show off your cooking skills the next day.

            You will probably still have to make sure there is something to snack on between when they get there and you get home. You could provide chips and dips or Italian bread with olive oil and pepper or even a party tray that your boyfriend can pick up at the grocery store.

            Make sure your boyfriend helps. These are HIS parents and he has the day off.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Hank Hanover
              sivyaleah RE: Hank Hanover Dec 23, 2011 09:19 AM

              I'll have groceries at home already - he can throw "something" together, he's not totally helpless lol. But I don't want to order Chinese; none of them nearby are really all that good and the best one is too far away and doesn't deliver.

              I don't care about the dishes. I'm not obsessive. They can wait until the next morning or he'll put them up. He's very good about that.

              But eating at 8pm is an issue which is why I'll probably try and book out at least an hour early. I think I can manage that. That will put me home around 6pm, and if he can get a prepared dish into the oven earlier to warm up, and the table is already set - I think that will work.

            2. j
              jkling17 RE: sivyaleah Dec 23, 2011 09:41 AM

              Deep breaths! :-) Ok ... it's all going to be all right! As others have stated, you have TIME to plan this. Sides can easily be prepped the day before. Here are some ideas that will work with your situation and time constraints.

              Prepped in Advance
              1. Mashed cauliflower. Just boil it up until it's soft, then blend in a LITTLE heavy cream (you can use milk instead). Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. You can also use some potato if you like. I made up a big batch of this for a dinner the other night for 12 and it was ALL gone.

              2. Steamed or Roasted Squash, seasoned with a bit of honey, cinnamon, olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Any winter squash (or mix of them) will do nicely. Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, etc.

              3. Pulled Pork for dinner - you can start this the night before and it'll be done before you leave for work - Or - you can start it before you leave for work and it'll be done when you get home. Low and slow, either in the oven at 225 or crock pot. Season with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Srirachi hot sauce is optional. If in the oven, it's best to cover the pork shoulder with foil once it hits 150 or so - this will speed up the rest of the cooking.

              This way, you are still "the cook" and all your boyfriend needs to do is warm up the sides in the oven or microwave.

              There are lots of things you can do like this. Have a great time!

              1 Reply
              1. re: jkling17
                sivyaleah RE: jkling17 Dec 23, 2011 02:55 PM

                Darn I wish I had read this before I went shopping today. That squash sounds really good and would go nicely with something I'm thinking of making for just the two of us this weekend. It's a veggie I don't really make usually, in fact, I think I've only used it once or twice but we recently had it while out to dinner and decided we needed to add it into the home rotation. Thanks for the reminder.

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