I haven’t shared our meal plans much this year — mainly because I’ve been either (1) working on new recipes for our family and this blog or (2) preparing cook-book favorite recipes. It’s amazing how many cookbooks have been sitting on my shelf, unopened, since I started using online recipes for meal-planning. I had forgotten about some of our favorite meals simply because I’d stopped using cookbooks.
Sniff — sometimes it’s sad how technology is affecting the old way of doing things. Think there will ever come a day when we don’t need paper books of any kind?
Anyway, this week, my inlaws are coming to town and I’ve been online, browsing Pinterest and my favorite foodie sites, looking for some new ideas. I even sent a shout-out on Facebook for help and several of you came to my rescue — yay!
Meal Planning For Guests
In my kitchen, there are three rules when I have house-guests: meals have to be easy, flavorful, and – when possible – a guest favorites.
With house-guests comes more laundry (towels and such) and more cleaning; who wants to add on even more time to meal-prep? Not me! So, I try to stick with a set of easy recipe types:
- Grilled Meals
- Slow Cooker Meals
- DIY Meals — aka Taco Bar, Sandwich Bar, etc.
- Breakfast (yes, breakfast for dinner is one of our favorites!)
Easy doesn’t mean boring!
- Marinades for grilled steak (or our new favorite Carne Asada Tacos) are a piece of cake to throw together and the result is scrumptious.
- The slow-cooker can bring out mouth-watering flavor from cheap cuts of meat OR bring out layers of flavor in ethnic recipes (like my Father-in-Law’s favorite Thom Kha Gai … a Thai soup I make in my slow cooker).
- Taco or Burrito Bars are nearly a no-brainer when it comes to flavor. As I’ve shared in my Tex-Mex recipe series, you can pack quite a punch with DIY Taco Seasoning, refried beans … and it’s easy to tailor tacos or burritos to one’s taste buds or dietary needs. And, they are frugal meal ideas!
I make it a point to always ask my house-guests if there is anything in particular they are craving or want me to make. I love to serve meals I know my guests ADORE. I want them to anticipate meals, mouths watering at the thought of their favorite spices or meats or grains.
I get satisfaction from that … nearly as much (if not more) than my family and guests get from their favorite meals. As I mentioned above, for my Father-in-law, that meal is my Thom Kha Gai. My Mother-in-law also loves it (in fact, it is something she now makes for her guests), but she also loves grilled shrimp and asparagus, so that is getting added to this week’s menu.
Making a guest’s favorite meal is just one way of saying “I’m glad you’re here” or, depending on the guest, “I love you.”
A Meal Plan For Guests
Monday: Pasta Bolognese, Whole Grain Rolls, Salad
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Greek Chicken, Egg Noodles, Roasted Lemon Carrots
Wednesday: leftovers (the easiest of easy meals!)
Thursday: Surf and Turf Grill: Carne Asada Tacos, Grilled Shrimp (new recipe), Grilled Spring Veggies, Tres Leches Trifle (new recipe)
Friday: Slow Cooker Butter Chicken, jasmine rice, Naan, Roasted Broccoli …. this meal *might* get switched out for a Thai food night. We’ll see.
Saturday: Breakfast! (still picking, but thinking scrambled eggs and biscuits and cream gravy)
Sunday: Kielbasa and Potato Bake, salad, veggie tray
What’s your favorite or “go-to” meal for house-guests?