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Our Lady's Loom, Larder, and Laundry
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Posted: Jan 08 2008 at 6:56am | IP Logged Quote mom2mpr

I used to have mac and cheese, frozen pizza, and frozen raveoli on hand for unexpected guests. I need more ideas for when you need to invite people(on short notice) to dinner and you want to have enough food. Last week we ate mac and cheese 3 times, and I am so tired of raveoli and frozen pizza.
It is hard as we are a family of 4 and usually the other families we have visit are much larger. If it is at the end of my menu cycle there is pretty much nothing in the fridge. I need things that are somewhat healthy, good and can multiply easily AND can be stored in the freezer. HELP!
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Rachel May
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Posted: Jan 08 2008 at 7:12am | IP Logged Quote Rachel May

This spagettini with garlic and pepper is a standby in our house (but we don't use lemon). All pantry items if you have dried parsely. I keep french bread in the freezer.

I've also added fresh chopped spinach, white wine equivalent to the oil, and frozen shrimp for a version we call "ER Doc pasta" after the doctor who treated me twice for mastitis in 3 years and both times mentioned this recipe.

Thomas and Anthony (10), Maria (8), Charles (6), Cecilia (5), James (3), and Joseph (1)
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Posted: Jan 08 2008 at 10:12am | IP Logged Quote CAgirl4God

***chicken enchiladas...***
ripped up corn tortillas,
jack cheese (or I use the shredded mix from Costco)
i can of green verde ench. sauce
1C evap milk, or enough to make the consistency you like (I use a tiny bit more cause I like it wetter)
two cans chicken (also use Costco) that are rinsed to help rid of salt...and broken up a bit to make smaller pieces... (can also use left over chicken breast too!)

toss ripped tortillas, cheese and chicken in a 9 by 13 baking dish, pour evap milk over evenly. then pour green sauce over the top, trying to be even.
sprinkle with a bit more cheese if desired.
bake until bubbly.

pair with refried beans and lettuce/tomatoes to top.

this will only take about 40 mins total to prepare and bake.

also linguine with fresh tomatoes and basil in a garlic butter (or white wine) sauce
side of garlic bread and a salad

chicken cesar salad wraps... we usually have nugget in the house (Trader Joes). we back these up and then toss in a cesar salad and wrap up in tortillas. pair with fruit and chips on side.

stir fry.
frozen sliced peppers and onions (can be bought or blanched, cut and frozen from scratch)
frozen julienned carrots
frozen broccoli
canned chicken drained and rinsed or left over chicken breast. shredded

dump veggies in a large skillet, not broccoli. cook until close to tender. dump in chicken. season with dry mustard, ginger, and soy sauce. dump in broccoli. finish cooking until broccoli is tender but green! lol

serve over rice...
could pair with frozen egg rolls.
we usually just serve fruit for the kids, as they don't eat all t he veggies lol.

make your own pizzas... like a pizza bar.
either pre baked, homemade or store bought, pizza crusts or bagel/english muffins etc...
variety of toppings... meats, veggies pineapples etc...

let people pock their own toppings then bake.
pair with salads/fruits

taco bar.
pre cooked meat, already seasoned... I usually have this in my freezer
and other taco fixings.

this is fast and easy. you would just cut up lettuce, tomatoes etc.. and you have a fast FRESH dinner in like 20 mins.

I hope these ideas help....
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Barbara C.
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Posted: Jan 08 2008 at 10:17am | IP Logged Quote Barbara C.

I got this recipe from someone in my homeschooling group, and I am absolutely loving it. And it is one of those strange recipes that actually tastes better reheated than it does freshly made. It also freezes wonderfully.

Cheesy Macaroni
2 cups uncooked macaroni pasta
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon (2 cloves) garlic, finely diced
1 to 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken, depending on how hearty you want it
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 cup grated mild cheddar cheese,depending on how cheesy you want it

1.     Boil macaroni until al dente; strain and set aside.
2.     In a pot large enough to hold the macaroni, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until softened.
3.     Stir in the cooked chicken, parmesan cheese, and tomato sauce.
4.     Add cooked pasta and shredded cheddar cheese.
5.     Stir to mix all the ingredients.
6.     If the pasta's a little dry, you can add a little bit of chicken broth or water you boiled the macaroni in.
7.     Salt and pepper to taste.

*You can substitute sauteed ground beef, turkey, pork, or Italian sausage for the chicken.
*This dish tastes even better the next day and it freezes well too!

I named it Cheesy Macaroni, for want of a better name. I substitute onion powder for onions and minced garlic for the chopped garlic, and I have not had any need to add any extra liquid or salt and pepper. (It may make a slight difference that I end up using two 8 oz cans of sauce instead of one large 15-oz can.)

I think it's supposed to serve a family of four. My oldest won't touch it because of the tomato sauce, so I normally make a big batch after dinner. I freeze one serving and refrigerate the rest to eat for breakfast, lunch, or a hearty pregnancy snack for a few days. I usually get four to five servings, depending on if my little one catches me eating it and wants some, too.

I first made it with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Then I cooked a little extra chicken one night with dinner (about 1 1/2 breast tenderloins). Next time I might try it with canned chicken. It's pretty quick to make, too. Basically, it takes as long as the macaroni cooks.

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Posted: Jan 08 2008 at 12:13pm | IP Logged Quote KellyJ

Assuming there are no food allergies amongst your unexpected guests...

I usually make something we call ziti, but isn't a true ziti recipe.

1 lb. Pasta (twists, ziti tubes, rotini, macaroni, etc.)
1 batch of Pasta Sauce (We make our own, I'm thinking you'd want at least 28 oz. per batch. I don't know what size pasta sauce comes in at the store. Sorry!)
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I eyeball it, but I think it's about 2-3 c.)

Cook pasta & drain it. Mix with sauce and cheese (works best is pasta is cooled, but not necessary). Put in a baking pan--9x13 should work. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Cover with foil if desired (if you do this, you'll want to bake it the last several minutes with the foil off. Bake in oven at 350 for about 30 min.

You can make double, triple, etc. this recipe. You can also add other ingredients to this dish, such as ground beef, sausage, vegetables....

You can make this ahead and freeze it. I don't know cook times off-hand for baking it from the freezer or from the fridge.

As far as other ways of having it at-hand, but taking up freezer space: The pasta and sauce you could have on hand already. You can even have the cheese on hand (keeps pretty well in the freezer, and it doesn't have to be totally thawed to mix with the pasta and sauce). You could also keep a couple loaves of garlic bread in the freezer to serve with it.

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Posted: Jan 08 2008 at 12:35pm | IP Logged Quote 5athome

I like to have meatballs frozen in sauce. With dry pasta in the pantry, it makes a quick last minute meal for unexpected company. If I know we are having that in advance, I just let the meatballs and sauce thaw in the crock pot on low.

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Posted: Jan 08 2008 at 1:29pm | IP Logged Quote JodieLyn

Also don't feel you have to have one main dish for everyone.. perfectly acceptable to serve say.. a dish of mac and cheese and one of speghetti.. or even more varied. Think of like a potluck, even if you're teh one providing all the food.

Soups are often easy to make up quickly.. and you don't have to store the whole soup.. just the stuff to toss together to make it. Some sort of meat, some broth or bullion, some veggies, water.. it's soup. There's some quick bread recipes that are great with a soup.. like beer bread.. or a garlic quick bread. You mix up the batter and pour it into the pan and cook it.. not like a yeast bread that takes time and kneading and all that.

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Posted: Jan 15 2008 at 11:28pm | IP Logged Quote mom2mpr

Thank you all for the suggestions and help.
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Posted: Jan 17 2008 at 6:50pm | IP Logged Quote Barbara C.

I thought I would also throw this recipe on there as an alternative to all the pastas. I can't remember where I go this one from, maybe Tightwad Gazette.

Savory Pilaf
2 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 c. uncooked regular long grain rice
2 c. chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt

1.Melt butter over medium heat, cook onion until tender.
2.Stir in rice. Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
3.Add broth and salt.
4.Heat to boiling, stirring once or twice; reduce heat to low.
5.Cover and simmer 16 minutes (do not lift cover or stir).
6.Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

I often add a handful of frozen peas and some julienne carrots, too. I also substitute onion powder for sliced onion. The recipe originally also recommended a can of mushroom stems and pieces or tiny pieces of uncooked spaghetti to make it more like Rice-a-Roni.    

My kids both love this recipe. My oldest thinks the rice is almost as good as the fried rice from Panda Express. I don't know how it freezes, but it tastes really good reheated from the fridge. It's a little drier reheated, so it tends to taste even more like fried rice.

Mom to "spirited" dd(9), "spunky" dd (6), "sincere" dd (3), "sweet" dd (2), and baby girl #5 born 8/1/12!!
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Posted: Jan 24 2008 at 12:25am | IP Logged Quote humanaevitae

I serve breakfast foods for the noon meal. Scrambled eggs with ham,onion,cheese and green pepper(dried if need be), toast with homeade jams, those little sausages that could also be cut up in the eggs, and even pancakes/waffles with cool whip and jam.

I do keep a pan of Lasagna in the freezer also.

Nicole-Zane 10, Elizabeth 7, Xavier 4, and John Patrick 2
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Posted: Jan 24 2008 at 7:00am | IP Logged Quote asplendidtime

Some Mennonite ladies I know get over this by adding "side dishes". So they might have 10 things sitting on the table. Some fun stretchers I have seen are:
a dish of apple sauce (usually from her freezer)
a dish of corn or another veggie
a plate of bread with butter and always jam
a dish of rice
a huge bowl of popcorn, with some chips or pretzels mixed-in
a salad
a plate with apple slices
dishes of pickles
a plate with cheese slices or cubes
a plate of raw veggies like tomato or cucumber

...if she had a small desert made, she might add a plate of cookies, or muffins

So if she had prepared a chicken and a few potatoes and a veggie, she'll add rice and more veggies, etc...

You end up with a pleasant meal of lots of small bits of things, but usually too much food that it isn't all eaten.

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Mary 14,
Tim 13,
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Will 7,
Peter 6,
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