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need idea for a low maintenance dish

We're having friends over for lunch and there will be young babies involved (meaning, you eat when they are ready to let you eat....and you might only have one hand available to eat with). We need an idea for a dish that we could prepare ahead of time and is very forgiving time-wise.

Last time, we made pulled pork which was perfect.

btw, the babies will not be eating.


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  1. Chili
    Tuna casserole
    Mac and cheese using De Cecco/bechamel/asiago and some grana padano)

    1. Moussaka?

      Could eat with one hand with a fork.

      1. Actually I think pizza comes to mind. Not a deep dish that would require a knife and fork.

        1. I have a newish baby so I totally understand!
          Soups are great!
          Chicken and dumplings
          Potato soup

            1. Nice hearty crockpot soup of some kind - maybe potato, or corn chowdah? W. garnishes like: crumbled bacon, shredded cheeses, sliced green onions, herbed croutons, diced ham, tomatoes, etc? You could even provide the soup, and ask each guest to bring garnishes to share....almost no work for all you busy mamas......

              1. Baked potatoes with a variety of toppings -- broccoli/cheese sauce, sour cream, chili, grated cheese, precooked BBQ chicken/beef (or tub of commercially made, heated).

                Easy to reheat individual servings in microwave if meal is interrupted. After baking, these can stay warm in a very low oven, or be kept warm in a crockpot. I've even carried them to a potluck lunch at work in a 12-pack cooler (which was never quite the same afterwards -- it warped a bit after holding hot potatoes 4 hours).

                2 Replies
                1. re: MidwesternerTT

                  Here is my favourite slow cooker recipe (I sound like a broken record, I post this so often, but I can't speak highly enough about it).

                  Coconut Carrot Red Lentil soup

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    I right with you - I've seen you post about the soup and I am going to make it soon.

                    I with you because I've post this recipe so often - i love it. Very similar to pulled pork.


                    I make it with a cylantro citrus slaw - red & green cabage orange lime, garlic and cylantro - goes great with it.

                2. Beef stew. Make sure everything is bite size and have some terrific bread with it. How about a dessert like lemon or chocolate pudding cake? Easy.

                  I've used the same stew recipe for about 40 years. If was called oven beef stew (maybe bean pot) because it was made in the oven when the top of the stove had to be used to heat water for laundry. Shake the meat with seasoned flour. Brown in fry pan. Put in a casserole dish or bean pot, add wedges of onions and thickly sliced carrots. Salt and pepper. Cover with water. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of quick cooking oatmeal. Somehow, it makes it's own gravy. It's not very thick, just thick enough for stew. You can add whatever other seasonings you want. I don't add potato because I usually serve it with mashed potatoes but if you are going to add potato, wait until the last hour of cooking. Oh yes, about 3 hours at 350 degrees or 325. It's not fussy.

                  1. Lasagna can be made ahead of time. As long as it isn't too saucy it shouldn't be messy. Just pop it back in the oven to heat it up.

                    Chili as mentioned is better the second day.

                    Meatloaf with mash potatoes or potato salad and green beans. All do well reheated.

                    You can find a lot of slow cooker recipes that might work. Also think about casseroles

                    1. I'd go with paninis or something. You can prep all the ingredients the night before and keep them in the fridge, then assemble your sandwiches and grill/pres them when it's lunch time. Easy to eat with one hand while bouncing a baby on your lap.

                      1. you could do appetizers as lunch. Meatballs with a dipping sauce, potato skins, stuffed mushrooms, salad, lettuce wraps. etc

                        1. What about hand pies? You could do empanadas, cornish pasties, etc etc. I've learned from a few friends who had babies that it was great to have something they could eat without a fork. They also said that soup was the enemy because so much potential for spillage.

                          1. Wraps or burritos.
                            Individual quiches in muffin tins.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: greygarious

                              yep, quiche or tortilla espanola was my thought....

                              1. When babies are involved my principles would be things I can pick up or eat with a fork, nothing that will slosh if I have to shift or move suddenly, nothing that has to be piping hot to be enjoyed but doesn't cool too quickly, and nothing that has to be cooked an exact amount of time or involves last minute prep or assembly. I'd suggest a casserole (I vote for King Ranch) or enchiladas. In lieu of salad, how about a tumbler of gazpacho?

                                Or, eliminate cooking from the equation and serve a platter of cold cuts, cornichons, etc. with great wine followed by profiteroles.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tim irvine

                                  I was going to suggest King Ranch Casserole. I have made the food Network version which does not use canned soup. You can make it ahead of time too. Also, you can control the "heat" which any breast feeding mother's might appreciate.

                                2. In the weeks and months after my son was born we had lots of visitors. My standard lunch was: butternut squash soup, tortilla espanola, and baby greens salad with pear, walnuts, and cheese (goat, bleu, or shaved parmesan).

                                  It could be done in advance, held indefinitely (the tortilla is room temperature and the soup heats and reheats), and it's all pretty easy to eat.

                                  I've made this exact meal countless times.

                                  1. Thanks everyone! The replies were fun to read and they've given me tons of ideas (and courage) for future lunch/dinner parties.

                                    We ended up making chili(+cornbread+rice) though it the chili cooled down a bit at the table because we were too busy taking photos of the babies. I guess sometimes, adults have timing issues too! ;-)