This week for our Hosting Houseguests workshop, we are going to be talking about meal planning for guests and we even have a giveaway to help you plan! Menu planning is key in helping a visit from guests go smoothly. Remeber, your visitors are there to see you, enjoy your company and experience the unique things your town has to offer, not to go grocery shopping or wait around while you are in the kitchen all day!
A few tips to get started:
•Try out any new recipes on your family a few weeks before guests arrive and take note of the prep and cooking times. Put together a list of meals you would like to make, take requests from the impending guest to makes sure everyone will enjoy the meals.
•Make sure you are considerate of guests special needs, if someone has an allergy or intolerance, take note and make sure your meals do not include items with those ingredients. Also if there is an intolerance, such as to dairy, be thoughtful and have lactose free milk and snacks available.
•Take note of your guests "favorites". Maybe your Mother loves Coke, or your best friend loves Oreos. Make sure to have the favorites on hand, your guests will feel special!
•After you've planned your meals, make a grocery list and get all your grocery shopping done before guests arrive. If someone has a special request upon arrival, or you forgot something, you can always go out for a quick trip to the store.
Remember that not everyone likes a heavy breakfast first thing in the morning. Have options for your guests, so they feel comfortable having as little or as much as they'd like. Consider offering a hotel style buffet with some of the following items: bagels, muffins, toast, juice, milk, hot chocolate, fresh fruits, hot and cold cereals, yogurts, jelly, peanut butter, cream cheese, etc. If your guests are coffee drinkers, put the coffee in the pot the night before, ready to go. Let guests know that whoever wakes up first can just push the button. To save time later, set out paper or plastic plates and utensils.
For lunch, try setting out different types of deli meats and cheeses with a bread tray and a vegetable tray. Provide condiments like ketchup, mayo and mustard. Offer chips and fruits with a variety of drinks to choose from. Soups are a great combo with sandwiches, either homemade or store bought. Pasta and chicken salads are also easy to make ahead, and still taste good even after being refrigerated for a few days!
Have a basket on the counter filled with energy bars, microwave popcorn, nuts and candies for your guests to take from if they get hungry in between meals. Stock your fridge with bottled water, fresh fruit, yogurt and single serving cheeses. Stock your pantry with crackers, cookies, chips or pretzels for other snack options.
To save time, think of meals that freeze well and prepare them before your guest's arrive. Consider such dishes as lasagna, enchiladas, stews, etc. Have a few of your favorite restaurants in mind in case you and your guests decide to go out for dinner. Plan ahead if you think your guests may like to have dinner at the best restaurant in town, and make a reservation as soon as you can. You can always cancel the reservation later if you and your guests decide against it.
Now for the GIVEAWAY!!! I'm super excited about this! First, let me introduce to you Michelle, from Make 5 Dinners In 1 Hour. She is pretty much my hero these days. I've tried the twice a month cooking (where you cook all your meals in one day...it does take ALL day), but it was SO overwhelming! Michelle's plan is different, she has come up with meal plans that allow you to do all your prep work for 5 meals in 1 hour, so when it's time to make dinner, you just throw it in the oven, or crock pot and you're good to go! Her plan includes a menu (main dish and sides), ingredients list, prep & cooking directions, list of kitchen tools needed (for the one hour prep), and a grocery list that she has divided into categories to make shopping quicker! Not only is her system amazing, but the food is awesome too, and my grocery bill was only $57.00 for the week! I'm absolutely in LOVE! Not only would this be an awesome way to save time when company is visiting, it's an awesome way to save time AND money ALL THE TIME!
•A free one week trial when you email Michelle @ fivedinners1hour @ yahoo.com (minus spaces)
One lucky reader will win:
•a free MONTH'S worth of menu plans!
To enter you must be a follower of Crazy Domestic, then click here and become a follower of Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour. Leave a comment here letting us know how Michelle's plan would help you out! We'll announce the winner at the top of our blog on Monday!
To have your ideas featured on Crazy Domestic, click HERE