Friday, July 24, 2009

Preparing for House guests part 2

Writing down a plan helps me to think through my grocery lists, plan for special events, or prepare for a week of meals with guests. So, I always sit and think through the problem. Sometimes the thinking through gets to be more fun than the actual work! I like playing with all the pieces of the puzzle and figuring out how to make it fit.

In preparation for our guests next week, I already put together the menu plan. Now it's time to work out anything I can prepare ahead of time, and spread it out over a few days so that it doesn't seem like so much work. I'm sure I'll modify it a little as I work through the agenda -- I always run out of ingredients and need to change the plan.

Here's a good start:

Tuesday(Eight days to go)
Pot Roast
Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

Wednesday (Seven days to go)
French Dip Meat -- prepared and frozen
French Dip Rolls -- prepare the dough through the first rise. Shape and freeze.

Thursday (Six days to go)
Clam chowder -- prepared and frozen
Sour Dough bread -- fully prepared and frozen

Friday(Five days to go)
Prepare three batches of cheese bread and freeze after first rise.
Raspberry Turnovers -- prep to just before you bake them, then freeze.

Saturday(Four days to go)
Brown the hamburger for spaghetti night --freeze
Calzones -- prep to just before baking, then freeze

Sunday(Three days to go)
Chocolate Cherry Scones -- prep to just before baking and freeze

Monday(Two days to go)
Gorditas -- fully prepared and frozen
Cubed cooked chicken --fully prepared and frozen

Tuesday(day of arrival)
Final grocery trip -- purchase lots of fresh fruit, salad fixins, eggs, butter and milk

Now, during the actual visit, there are little things that you have to do to make the frozen food easier to use -- particularly where the bread dough is concerned.

The best way to handle it is to take the frozen dough out of the freezer the night before and put it in a bowl and rub it with oil. Put the dough in the fridge side and it will defrost overnight. At lunch time, pull it out of the fridge and roll it out. Let it rise for about two hours -- that's longer than normal because the dough will still be cold. Bake as usual.

For most of the frozen items it is best to follow that same plan -- put it in the fridge the night before so that it can defrost slowly. Then it should be defrosted by the time you want to use it the next day.

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