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Old 06-18-2008, 07:58 PM   #11
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Don't forget dessert!! Koolaid or juice in small, hefty plastic cups, like what you can get for 4 for a $1 are the dollars stores, with popscicle sticks

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Old 06-18-2008, 09:16 PM   #12
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Have finger food ready for the little ones who are always hungry when you least expect it. You might want to keep fixings for grilled cheese sandwiches handy as well as a mixture of peanut butter and honey/jelly. Kids love to make "ants on a log" -- celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter or cream cheese and raisins or dried cranberries (ants) on top of the peanut butter. Have lots of veggies cut in small pieces ready for dipping in a favorite sauce or dressing (like Ranch Dressing). Mini muffins (easily frozen) are good quick treats with juice or milk. Ask the children about their favorite meal and then take them (no more than 2 little darlings at a time) shopping with you for the ingredients. Allow them to help you prepare the meal. Not only will you be spending time with them, but they will want to eat what they make. Have a great visit!!!

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Old 06-18-2008, 09:23 PM   #13
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Simple stuff can be fun too, like sloppy joes, pigs in a blanket, chili dogs, corn dogs. Serve em with corn on the cob, fries, tater tots things like that. Also mini pizzas on english muffins cause they can help you make me which is fun for them. Chicken nuggets is another good quick one.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:06 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by trimont View Post
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...

Ideas? Thanks!
Hi Trimont,
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,
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:13 PM   #15
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Thanks, Archiduc! I really appreciate your extensive input and am sure many of your ideas will work out greatly.

I'm grateful to all who have responded so generously ...

And I would love to have those recipes if you get a moment to post them.

Many, many thanks!
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:32 PM   #16
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I know the taco idea has been mentioned and it is always a fun meal for kids but to make it even funner...tacos in a bag! My family does this when camping....put doritos in a sandwich bag and all the other fixings for tacos and then just mix it all together! Easy clean up and fun...I mean how often do kids get to eat from a bag????
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:06 PM   #17
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Things I loved as a kid...

Snacks/desert what ever..

#1 Iced graham crackers. Make unwhipped icing using butter and confectioners sugar, vanilla. pour/spread on graham cracker, cover with another graham cracker. What a treat!!!

Jello Jigglers, extra firm jello shapes you can eat with your fingers.

fruit, veggies etc

meal foods..
Soup! Kids love soup.. just heat and serve.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...still a favorite.
Lunch meats, cheese and crackers.. (better...roast some meats and slice)
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:16 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by texasgirl View Post
Don't forget dessert!! Koolaid or juice in small, hefty plastic cups, like what you can get for 4 for a $1 are the dollars stores, with popscicle sticks
This is such a great idea. ALL kids love frozen pops!

Another favorite treat that your sister can make ahead is Rice-Krispy Treats. If you buy the generic puffed rice cereal and the house brand marshmallows, it's really inexpensive. You can also use the chocolate puffed rice and you can even put a little food coloring in the melted marshmallow mixture. When I do these, I make 3 or 4 batches because adults adore them, too.

But one of my favorite things for kids is to use animal shaped cookie cutters to cut out their sandwiches. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but kids are absolutely delighted with sandwich cut-outs. My son would only eat bat-shaped sammies for almost a year and they never failed to put a grin on his face.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:22 PM   #19
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We used to make the frozen pops in ice cube trays, covered with plastic wrap, then toothpicks poked thru em. The plastic wrap held the toothpicks in place while the juice froze.
And they were just the right size for us kids.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:29 PM   #20
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We make homemade chicken fingers with crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal as the coating. We soak in butter milk, then coat, briefly fry and finish off in the oven. The kids LOVE them. There's even a local restaurant serving them now with honey mustard on the side. I see no reason why they couldn't be done ahead and frozen. The bonus over the processed variety is less sodium, no chopped and formed parts. You will know what they're eating, LOL.

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