Entertaining Overnight House Guests – Made Easy

I have truly enjoyed entertaining overnight house guests and since we live in Florida near a beautiful beach, we have guests who look forward to the change in scene and for some to get away from frigid weather up north. It is fun and enjoyable simply because of pre-planning and organization.

Below are some tips that work very well for entertaining overnight guests:

*Planning - put together a plan for meals to be served including breakfast, lunch and dinner far in advance to allow sufficient time to shop for groceries and have the right food on hand.

*Food Preparation - prepare most foods ahead, freeze or refrigerate.

*Breakfast - this meal tends to be more difficult to prepare in advance. Have on hand cereals, yogurts, protein powder to make smoothies, fresh fruit, eggs, bacon/sausage, pancake mix, frozen waffles. Preparing omelets and pancakes makes breakfast special and my guests enjoy watching this activity. Also, I have on hand a few additions so that my guests can personalize their omelet.

*Lunch - sandwiches are the quickest and easiest to prepare. Have on hand a variety of deli meats, tomatoes, dressings. Package salad mixes work well along with a variety of bottled dressings. Leftovers from dinner the night before also works well including fried chicken, cold sliced roast beef served over salad greens topped with dressing.

*Dinners - meals that can be made ahead include casseroles, tomato sauce, either with meat or marinara style, fried breaded chicken breast. I do the breading early in the day and refrigerate till ready to fry. Fry an hour before serving, and place in a warm oven. This gives you additional time to set the table, prepare a salad and visit with guests. I also prepare breaded veal cutlets and fry in extra virgin olive oil or bake until brown. An easy meal is serving the cutlets with lemon slices, a vegetable and a salad. Also, the cutlets can be served cold the next day in a sandwich.

*Morning Coffee - if you have an auto-timer coffee maker, prepare coffee the night before and set to the time guest awake. Have cups, sweetener, and cream set out for guests to help themselves until breakfast is prepared.

*Preparing the House -place an alarm clock in the bedroom. Have adequate hangers in the closet and provide drawer space. Find a space to store luggage.

*Bathroom - should be equipped with fresh soap at the sink and in the shower along with shampoo and conditioner. Have an extra supply of towels stored in a convenient place for guests to reach. Since traveling by air these days makes packing some toiletries difficult, have on hand in the guest bathroom small bottles of lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, small size package of aspirin/ibuprofen, Band-Aids, even a spare hairdryer can come in handy. I also like to include a small package of TUMS, as it's easy to over indulge when on vacation and always have a few extra rolls of toilet tissue.

*When Children Come To Visit - keeping children entertained is easy. Just be sure to have things like books, puzzles, crayons, paper, scissors, and Silly Putty. Also have a small variety of toys and a large basket to store the toys, making cleanup easy. Kids can sometimes be picky eaters, but most children enjoy chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, bagels, waffles, canned soups and fresh fruit.

I have found planning in advance has made my time with guests relaxing and gives me more time to spend visiting with them.