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What to make and/or have on hand for out of town guests?

I'm having a couple stay with me over a weekend - arriving Friday evening (flying in from about 2 hours away) and staying til Sunday evening.

Saturday meals (brunch & dinner) are planned meals out, with everything else in flux... I'd like to have something for them to nibble on in the evening when they arrive, and something on hand to snack on throughout the weekend, should they be hungry and want a snack.

I keep thinking a bread of some sort (like a blueberry bread) - something not too sweet (like cake) but satisfying, should they want a little snack... It would be ideal if it was something that I could put out on the kitchen counter so they don't have to feel like they are raiding the fridge (even though they'll get the "help yourself to anything" disclaimer).

Do you have any go-to preparations for out of town guests or things you like to keep on hand? Any and all ideas are appreciated!

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  1. Scones cover breakfast, or if you want something sweet. Fresh fruit, bagels with assorted shmears, sliced cheeses, and nice cold cuts.

        1. How thoughtful of you!

          I am always sure to have a good selection of hot and cold beverages (for example, I will offer herbal/decaf tea, which I wouldn't normally have on hand).

          I like to offer little packages/dishes of mixed nuts, almonds, etc., plus a nice selection of olives, cheeses and wine/beer for the evening hour. I always have scotch/gin/vodka/bitters on hand, so I'll bring in mixers (little bottles of tonic, juices, lemons/limes)

          I like to let guests know that there's a cold cut tray in the fridge (as let'sindulge) mentioned. And I like to make a frittata, which is nice warm or at room temp.

          4 Replies
            1. re: carrytheone

              "House" brands for all liquors unless I know the guest prefers something else. Ketel One and Tanqueray are what sits in our liquor cabinet. But like I said, if I know a guest likes something, I'll stock it...did that with Gran Marnier when an uncle visited last winter for five days. We don't normally have that on hand, but we knew he loves it.

              ETA: Scotch is my parents' brand. Chivas. Always, always, always. They're now passed but we live in their house, and I don't think I'll never not have Chivas on shelf. It'd feel wrong.

            2. re: pinehurst

              I was also going to suggest nuts, plus dried fruit. These are things I keep in jars on the counter year-round. Some substantial crackers and presliced cheeses (in fridge) are another good snack.

            3. I would have several things out, sweet and savoury. Fruit, small bowls of nuts, roasted nuts or even roasted chickpeas, cookies, crackes, small jars of jam, cookies. Blueberry bread would be great on the counter. Cheese ready to serve in a container but unwrapped would be good too.

              Think about what you like to snack on and go from there.

              1 Reply
              1. re: herby

                If you have Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours, the first recipe in the book is for blueberry muffins. It is a keeper. I often measure out the dry ingredients and the wet and refrigerate for the next AM. Then in the AM I preheat my oven combine the wet and dry spoon them into the muffin cups, into the oven and I go shower and get dressed and the muffins are ready to take out and serve. This should work with any muffin or quick bread recipe.