HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Suggestion for a quickly prepared lunch which can be done ahead of time

I know that's awkwardly worded. Sorry I couldn't do better!

In any case, I will be preparing lunch Sunday for five people. I will arrive at home with my guests, having been gone since early morning.

Furthermore, I will be away from home most of Friday, most of Saturday, arriving back home late that night, and will need to leave again early Sunday.

So basically I have tomorrow to shop and do most of the preparations.

There's always steak and roasted potatoes but that doesn't sound good to me for Sunday lunch.

I could also shop this evening and put something in the freezer.

Any ideas for this situation? I think I am having a mental block!

Thank you!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You could always look at crock-pot recipes -- assuming you own a slow cooker -- and try to time something to be hot and ready when your guests arrive. :)

    1. What about some kind of chicken or pasta salad? You could make the whole thing ahead of time, or, assemble the parts ahead of time and put them all together right before you eat.

      Do you have a grill? Some kind of grilled skewer could be good. I've made this a number of times, cooked both outside on a grill and inside on a grill pan. You don't need to marinate it for long at all. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em... These are also good, I've done on a grill and baked in the oven: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/07/gar... Serve it with a salad and you're all set.

      1. How about a lovely soup and a quiche. Both can be prepared ahead and warmed up very quickly.

        1. How about a Thai green curry? You can cook it tomorrow and then refrigerate. It will be even better by the time you re-heat it on Sunday. Cook some rice when you get home Sunday. Maybe roast some pineapple while you're eating lunch and serve it on ice cream for dessert.

          1. Composed salad - such as Salade Nicoise or a Chicken and Peach Salad (recipe on Real Simple uses rotisserie chicken).

            Quiche that you serve room temp with a salad.

            Pressed sandwich like a Pan Bagnat. Melissa Clark recipe is good.

            Cold poached salmon.

            1. Perhaps a bit trite, but lasagna is great and easy to make ahead. Or a pot pie-- I do mine with no bottom crust and a cheesy biscuit topping. I also have done chili or tacos (chili, I think, is better with time...) If these are casual guests, what about a little sandwich bar? Buy meats, bread, cheese in advance, set it out on trays when you get in and everyone can fix their own.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ama658

                but...but... the best part of the pot pie is the bottom crust! lol. My first thought would be to stick with the steak and roasted potatoes...... but slice the steak and make sandwiches with it (along with grilled/sauteed onions and peppers), and serve roasted potatoes on the side.

              2. Cobb Salad
                Prep all the ingredients before hand and just assemble when you return on Sunday.
                Make 2 dressings ahead of time; ones that will compliment the blue cheese in the salad.

                Accompany with crackers and cheese and grapes

                Serve iced tea, coffee and a cookie platter.

                1. Must it be lunch food, or is brunch food acceptable? Along the lines of the quiche, how about a strata and baked french toast or bagels with assorted spreads, lox, smoked whitefish, etc.? Crudite (can even cut veggies a day in advance, and store with slightly damp paper towels to keep moist) with a few dips would round it out.

                  The other ideas, like lasagna, soup, chicken and/or pasta salad are also really good. Any recipe that will benefit from more time for flavors to meld (e.g., chili) would be perfect.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: asf78

                    Thanks, everybody. Your ideas are wonderful.

                    My prep time has actually shrunk since I posted my question! I went by to visit a elderly friend and she fell and broke her pelvis. She had to go to the ER and be hospitalized. I feel so horrible. It wouldn't have happened had I not gone by to wish her a happy birthday. So will need to be seeing about her...

                    and getting ready for a house guest

                    and the outside activities which I am responsible for....

                    Without going into a lot of details, just let me say that a composed salad or nicoise sounds the most manageable right now, although all the ideas are terrific and much appreciated.

                    Thank you so much for your kind help.

                    1. re: laredo

                      Or perhaps it would have happened anyway and it was a blessing that you were there to help her straight away.

                      A super-quick and summery idea would be a platter of antipasti: grilled peppers, artichokr hearts etc from jars, sliced salami and cheeses straight from the deli, heat some ciabatta and maybe grill some asparagus while you're arranging everything on a serving dish. Store-bought ice-cream as affogato for dessert.

                      1. re: gembellina

                        Yes, perhaps.

                        Our schedule may be changing. Dinner Friday and eat out Sunday.

                        So, I went to the store and sort of bought one of everything. Artichokes, peppers, onions, asparagus, romaine, cheeses, ciabatta, blue cheese dressing (No, I usually don't buy dressing but need timesavers :<) ), avocadoes.....So can do a Cobb salad or mix and match.... I am making a hearty lentil stew right now.

                        I guess I melded many of your suggestions.

                        Was going to add salmon sounds good, but not available. Same with good canned tuna. I don't have crock pot, and we'll be eating brunch food tomorrow. Just wanted you to know I am grateful for your ideas and will file them away.

                        Thanks to all. You are so kind.