If you are like me you LOVE having people over! Well, maybe you aren’t like me and you HATE having people into your home. But, lets’ face it, we all have to at some point and we all need the necessary planning when guests are coming for a visit no matter the length of stay. And, considering that holidays are creeping up on us quickly, we all need to be prepared.
What do I do in preparation for guests?
1. Grab a piece of paper, a phone, and a pen~ Call or contact the guests and ask questions. This day and age there are lots of things out there and allergies seem to be at their peak. It’s best to know upfront so you can plan accordingly and maybe make something special for the one with the allergy. (I don’t always make a phone call if I know the individuals well enough)
I know often those with allergies typically just bring their own snacks and items that are helpful, but it makes them feel extra special that you would be considerate enough to fix something special for them. Research the internet or ask friends for tried and true recipes.
2. Make sure you know days and times your guests will be arriving or leaving. It is important to know what meals you will be needing to prepare or maybe what meals they will most likely be there but possibly not. In times like that it’s best to prepare a meal that can be frozen for a later time. (I especially use this for out of town guests due to crazy traffic, weather, or accidents they may actually not arrive at the planned time)
3. Begin thinking of a menu plan. This can be a very tedious thing for some and I believe can be very stressful with lots of dynamics involved. However, if you do not plan a menu your kitchen will be a frazzled mess and the one running within it will look way worse. So, take a second and breathe and then pull out those tried and true recipes that you love to prepare.
I typically do a list like this: (sometimes it is easier to make a table on the computer)
|Breakfast||Arrival~ 10 am.||Biscuits & Gravy |
|Homemade Cinnamon Rolls|
|Lunch||Grilled Cheese |
Choc. Chip Cookies
|Out while shopping||Subs |
Homemade Garlic Bread
|Chicken Penne |
|BBQ Ribs in Crockpot |
Mac ‘n Cheese
|Departure 3 pm.|
|Snack/Dessert||Shortbread Bars||Éclairs||Green Fluff/popsicles||Kettle Popcorn |
Pumpkin Gingerbread bars
4. When you have your menu finalized that is when you need to make a grocery list. It’s daunting, right? Well, remember our post from yesterday regarding keeping your stockpile up? This is the moment when that faithful act truly pays off. I’m one of those crazy home cooks who doesn’t make a weekly menu. I know, I’m weird, but I’ll be honest, I did it for a time and found that we actually spent way more when I shopped by a menu instead of just sale items--especially meats. With that said, when I do make a menu for guests my cost is typically higher, but my stress is at a minimal because I’ve prepared and know I have enough for guests and my family. We will discuss grocery budgets and why I do what I do later.
Make sure your list is detailed and you go through each meal jotting down everything you need. Then, go through your “organized” pantry and fridge and cross off what you don’t need. It helps to make a menu too based off of what you have if you can. For instance, if you have 50 lbs of ground beef in your freezer maybe you should pick 1 or 2 or maybe 3 meals that take ground beef. That will cut a huge meat cost off your menu.
5. Don’t get stuck! What do I mean? Well, be a little flexible! Very often when I’ve made a menu for guests our plans change---you know that saying, “let’s go shopping and out to lunch!” or “We are treating you out tonight,” etc? Things happen, but you need to be able adjust quickly and then just rearrange to what works best.
I love to put crock-pot meals for dinner for the days we are out and about. That way when we get back from a day of shopping, beach, or other activities we can come home to dinner already almost complete.
6. Lastly, don’t be super obsessed with trying new meals for guests. Sometimes the best things to fix are the recipes your family loves. Sometimes we are too concerned about impressing instead of just filling tummies with down to earth good foods!
So, when you get that phone call, “Your Mom and I, 3 sets of aunts and uncles, and 7 cousins are coming to visit tomorrow,” don’t stress! Grab your coffee, a pen and paper and set away at making this next visit one of the most smooth sailing and organized time in your kitchen. It really can be loads of fun, I promise!
Come back tomorrow and see who one of my best Kitchen friends really is!