Originally Posted by trimont
My sister is expecting a house full of visitors in a couple weeks and asked what she can make ahead (even freeze)... to make the food preparation a breeze while they're here. She'd rather play with her grandchildren than spend the day in the kitchen...
So much depends upon what your sister`s grandchildren like to eat or what they eat when staying with Grandma which may not be the same thing!
* could she make batches of pancake batter for breakfast and freeze in packs of 1 batch per day and allow to defrost in the `fridge overnight?
* what`s the long range weather forecast - would it be useful to have a couple of soups in the freezer?
* cakes like a carrot cake traybake with a butter cream icing or victoria sandwich cake filled with jam and buttercream work well in the freezer.
* meringues (to serve with fruit and ice cream) should store well in an airtight container.
* fish pie (white and smoked fish or prawns in a good white sauce with chopped parsley) topped with mashed potatoes freezes well.
* homemade beef burgers, pork burger etc., could be mixed, shaped and frozen as long as one remembers to wrap carefully so that they don`t stick together.
* a fishcake mixture, shaped into fingers, dipped in egg and breadcumbs and frozen could be useful.
* sauces for pasta like a tomato sauce or a spaghetti and meatball sauce could be made and frozen in advance.
* home-made chicken pie - boil a chicken, make up the sauce using chicken stock and sautéed onions and mushrooms/leeks (or other veg. that the children will eat). Cool the cauce, add diced chicken and freeze in batches. If she knows the size of pie dish she would use then she could make up pastry and cut pieces to fit and freeze each topping separately.
* following on from the previous idea she could do the same for fruit pies, i.e., freeze the topping and filling separately, defrost and put together AND depending upon the age of the children get them to help with the the final assembly. The children will feel as though they have cooked with Grandma and will remember it for the rest of their lives.
* macaroni cheese - as pasta stands in a sauce it takes moisture from the sauce so I would strongly advise making and freezing a cheese sauce. This could be thawed in the fridge and VERY gently reheated. Add cooked and well drained macaroni and bake.
* finally, as other posters have suggest, one of the great things a Grandma can do is to get children into the kitchen. I think a "make you own pizza night" is a fantastic idea. Your sister could use shop bought pizza bases or make and freeze some and then with the children go shopping for bits and pieces (and children always behave better in shops when Mum isn`t around!), let the children slice vegetables like onions, red/green peppers, use some home-made tomato sauce or passatta, grate cheese etc, set everything out in the kitchen and make up their own pizzas and cook them. They may not be pizzas as Grandma would like but the children will never forget the experience and that`s what`s important. Even a 3-4 year old can have a role to play in putting some ham or some cheese on a base, although older children might have to do the cheese grating etc. the only thing is Grandma has to "set the rules" as to how everyone behaves. I find this works with children every time!
Also your sister could have a baking afternoon - yes again, get the kids into the kitchen, and make chocolate cornflake cakes or a biscuit like melting moments. I`ve been making these with kids 4 years old and over. They are are great for a wet day and the ingredients easy to keep and store. If you would like recipes for either of these, let me know.
Hope this helps,