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Recipes for guests at the Ronald McDonald House

The group I volunteer with has been preparing meals for the guests at Ronald McDonald House. While we have prepared hot meals several times over the past few months, we've rarely had anyone attend a meal as families are occupied with more important things (i.e. spending time with their child at the hospital, or sight seeing around the area). We've decided it would be best to prepare individually packaged items so they can grab them and go at their own convenience. I was thinking along the lines of sandwiches, pasta salad, potato salad, salad, fresh fruit, and some other type of dessert.

I'm not really a pasta salad/potato salad kind of girl so I really don't have any recipes. I'm looking for items that hold well over the day or 2 they'll be in the fridge, even ones that get better over time, and can travel well. We have a team of 4-8 volunteers to cook and package everything for around 20 guests in approximately 2 hours, and an awesome kitchen with lots of counter space, 4 stoves/ranges, and lots of supplies.

Any other ideas for side items, desserts, or tried-and-true recipes? Thanks!

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  1. what about soups, stews, and casseroles? Those can be held in the fridge (or freezer) and microwaved.

    I have a friend whose kiddo just finished her last chemo treatment for leukemia (and whose prospects for full remission are stellar - yay!) -- she has told me that she craved a hot, homemade dish most of all....because they ate sandwiches out of the vending machine so many times. She said that things like chicken soup and beef stew and humble macaroni and cheese soothed her battered soul more than she could ever express.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      Along those same lines, curries are a great comfort food and hold VERY well in the fridge, often improving with time. I've made the following in the past few weeks:

      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
      http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/dh...
      http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/go...

      All quite tasty and would adapt easily to different meats (although I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for all of them, as I think they reheat better than other meats).

      As for cold, transportable items, pasta salads are great. One of my favorites is a super simple combination of cooked pasta (I like penne but anything smallish works), grilled, shredded chicken, roasted red peppers, crumbled feta cheese and sliced kalamata olives, dressed with garlic mayonnaise and plenty of cracked black pepper plus any fresh herbs you desire. This actually works great as just a plain chicken salad too, if you want to avoid carbs - just leave out the pasta and bump up the chicken. If you want to avoid mayo, look at some potato salad recipes that use vinaigrette dressings - here's one from Jacques Pepin: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

    2. How about pizza rolls. You mix up your fillings and cheese, spoon into the centre of a 6inch flat round of dough, bring the edges together then the two corners and smooth to look like a nice round roll. They microwave well and pizza can be eaten hot or cold.

      A play on chicken fajitas could work too, just have them either pre-assembled or you just have the chicken in the tortilla then have the extras on the side. Again, the chicken with the tortilla they'd be able to heat up if they wished.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Musie

        While your at it, what about mini calzones that are hand-held? Or savory turnovers. Fill puff pastry or phyllo dough with spinach and feta, chopped chicken in a bechamel, or even cooked ground beef.

      2. How about breakfast? You could make various stratas or quiches along with juice and coffee.
        A cereal/fruit/granola/yoghurt bar with to-go cups and spoons. Or a make your own breakfast sandwich bar with a toaster at one end and a microwave at the other. In the middle there would be cooked sausage, real and faux, cooked bacon, sliced cheese and some scrambled eggs.
        Your group is so terrific to do this. Think of the cost of feeding a family in a hospital restaurant every day. (I've been there briefly and it really adds up!)

        1. I have friends who have stayed at the Ronald McDonald house several times.

          Their food wants fell into two camps - comfort and transportable. They always took shifts. The parent returning from sleeping would pick up food and they would eat together before the other parent went to get a nap.

          Transportable could be sandwiches, cut veggies with a healthy dip, muffins, tortellini salad, mini quiche, cheese & crackers, whole fruits ie banana, apple, tangerine , grapes. Cookies.

          Comfort is pretty much anything you can eat with a spoon! Soup, stews, casseroles, bread or rice puddings, chocolate pudding. Quiche again.

          1. I'm thinking along the lines of a muffaletta, which does improve over time....

            Bless you for your work!!!