Every kitchen should have an emergency kit.
No I don’t mean band aids and fire extinguisher.
I am talking about a true emergency. Like when you have out of town company drop in an hour before meal time. How do you prepare a meal for unexpected people. It could just be your child has invited a group of teens home for a meal without telling you until you walk in the door.
Meal Time Emergencies
Teens are pretty easy to please. Toss a couple pizzas in the oven supply a few drinks and they are happy and call it a home cooked meal. But what do you do when it is your husbands favourite sister with her husband and 3 children in tow?
That is why an emergency kit is a life saver. What should this kit contain and how long should it be allowed to sit before you change it for fresher items. Here is my list and it is practically age less.
A package of some sort of pasta, spaghetti is a good choice or linguini. A can or jar of spaghetti sauce or if you have linguini an Alfredo sauce in a can or jar. Same idea as the spaghetti just a bit fancier. A container of Parmesan cheese that is sealed and already grated. Fast and fool proof.
With these ingredients and a few items you probably have on hand most of the time you can put a great meal on the table while enjoying the guests company.
The things to make it complete would be toasted bread. This is done under the broiler simply by buttering bread sprinkling it with the powdered cheese for about 5 min. Make sure you set the timer so you don’t forget it is there. You can use Italian bread, baguette, even hamburger buns in a pinch. While that’s cooking make a tossed salad with a couple different dressings for choice, add some croutons and that is a good starter for the meal.
That is the main course and side dishes taken care of so you can sort of relax.
Dessert can be just as easy. I am not one to whip up a cake at the drop of a hat, so I tend to keep a package of nice cookies on hand. Add a dish of ice cream and the children will be content. Adults should know to call ahead so they can make do with that or just cookies and coffee while relaxing after the children are in front of the TV or computer.
My grandmother during the war always had her emergency kit as well. It didn’t need the entire meal as she was a farmers wife and had all the staples to make a feast. But she always had a canned ham set aside. She said that way she was prepared for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
To add some cheaters to my grandmother’s canned ham you could have the ham and a couple boxes of those scalloped potatoes, a can of pork and beans some pickles and bread and butter. Easy and quick to get on the table and they taste great as well. Again add a simple dessert some coffee and tea and your guests will never know how much you didn’t really need to see them today.
Those two ideas require no freezer space, but if you have the room in your freezer keep a package of boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces. These can be fried quickly and add a curry sauce to it and simmer this while the rice is cooking and within 40 min. you sit down to a chicken curry on rice. Pick a mild one for your emergency kit since you don’t know if people will like the spicier ones. Not everyone does.
Now I am sure we all know people with varied diets that they follow. Vegan, Gluten Free, No carbs, all carbs. I think the list is endless so when someone drops in and says they can’t have this that or the other thing, what do you do?
If they are gluten free you can have an oil and vinegar salad dressing and maybe add some tuna fish to the salad. Or bake a potatoe in the microwave and top it with the spaghetti sauce.
If they are a no carb eater, again salad and tuna fish or crab meat would be an easy solution. The same for vegetarians a salad can make an entire meal with some imagination. But if you don’t feel comfortable with that you can put on a few choices of frozen or canned vegetables poached in some vegetable stock. Remember these people dropped in unexpectedly so they should not expect a meal that meats with all their requirements. They are friends or family so they should be accepting and enjoy the meal you serve.
If they don’t maybe next time they will call ahead.