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Having guests over for a meal is great, but spending the entire time in the kitchen is not a lot of fun. You want to visit and interact with everyone, not run around finishing up the food. Having recipes you can make ahead of time solves the problem. I’ve already posted breakfast and dinner menus, so now it’s time for some lunch ideas! If you need a lunch menu for weekend guests or a casual dinner option, this make ahead lunch plan is ideal.
Make Ahead Lunch Menu
- A Simple Sandwich. Depending on your tastes, a few options are listed below.
- Sloppy Joes. These sandwiches are loved by kids and adults alike. Mixing up the ingredients the day before and using a Crock-Pot makes this recipe effortless. Choose any type of bun and add pickles or a slice of cheese if you like. Keep in mind that some people like a lot of meat in their sandwich, so have plenty on hand.
- Ham and Cheese Sliders. Layer the ham and cheese in the rolls, cover and store in the fridge until it’s time to bake. Wait until you’re ready to bake adding the butter/seasoning mixture to the top.
- Corn Salad. If you’ve never had corn salad, the mixture of corn, Chili Cheese Fritos, cheese and a few other ingredients might sound like a weird combination. But it is amazing. I once took this to a family gathering, and within three days the recipe had been requested by over half the attendees. It’s that good. It’s also entirely make-ahead, with the exception of dumping Fritos in right before serving. Easy and delicious.
- Relish. Veggies can easily be cut up ahead of time. If you want to keep it really simple, baby carrots and dip require absolutely no effort and are liked by most everyone.
- Jello Salad or Fruit. Orange Fluff Jello Salad is a winner. I’ve also made this recipe with raspberry Jello and (thawed) frozen raspberries. If you’re looking for a simpler choice, grapes or watermelon are good options.
- Cookies or Bars. One of our favorites is Sugar Cookie Bars. These bars are essentially a delicious sugar cookie baked in a pan, so no rolling or cutting out. The creamy frosting really makes these bars. If you have leftovers, they freeze well.
Enjoy your guests. Don’t let your time with friends be ruined by unnecessary stress. Plan meals ahead and relax when the guests arrive. When you’re prepping the meal, you may wonder if your efforts are worth it. But when everyone starts to arrive and you have the meal completely under control, you’ll know that a little extra planning and work ahead of time go a long way. What are your meal ideas? Share your favorite make ahead lunch in the comments.