This is a story of freezer heroism. 🙂
This past week, my husband’s boss wanted to come over and see our sukkah. He was planning to stop by later at night for dessert and tea. No problem! I had glazed lemon cookies, peanut bars, and brownies ready to go along with a selection of tea and some of our regular Sukkot special drink – spiced apple cider.
We got word earlier that day that they would come an hour earlier than planned. No problem. Kids were in pjs, dessert was laid out, cider and water were hot, sukkah was set for tea and desserts. Right about when we were expecting them, we got a call saying they were about 20 minutes out, and looking forward to dinner.
Uh-oh. Seems something went a little off in our communication.
OK, 20 minutes to dinner for 4, and a vegetarian couple at that, so all of our Yom Tov leftovers were out. Did I mention they have traveled and lived all over the world and are foodies? OK, so no panic, but what’s a girl to do?
First things first. I took a deep breath and passed all care of the kids to my husband.
Next I turned on the oven so it would be warm and put a little oil into a saute pan on a low burner so when I figured out what I was going to do, I could just get right to it. Sauteing is one of the quickest ways to get food on the table, so I was pretty sure I was going to do that even before I knew what I was going to make. And the oven could get frozen food reheated.
Then, the moment of truth: I opened my freezer.
I quickly took stock and then pulled out four challah rolls, a spinach kugel, and a box of cheddar and potato pierogies. I put the kugel in the oven along with the challah, and then chopped and started sauteing some onions in my oil. With the cool weather and short time, I had decided on soup – lentil soup is quick, I have a great recipe, and the ingredients are always on hand! So I put together an easy calcutta lentil soup and left it to simmer (40 minutes is the usual time, so I got it going early in my prep).
Next, I sauteed the pierogies in butter with a little garlic, another sliced onion and a few bell peppers, and put them into a pan in the oven to finish cooking. I pulled out the thawed and toasted challah rolls and sprinkled some cheese on the spinach kugel (AKA quiche), which went back in to finish thawing. I pulled out some salads from Yom Tov (hummus, eggplant relish, zhug, and carrot) and put them in pretty dishes, set out plates and silverware.
Then our guests arrived! We spent a little time introducing everyone. The guests were wonderful – they read books with the younger kids and got a quick tour of the house (while my soup simmered – I was counting on that time to reach the 40 minutes or so it takes!)
Then we sat down to a four course meal: challah with salads and dips, lentil soup, spinach quiche, pierogies I finished off with some shaved parmesan cheese, and desserts, with teas and hot spiced cider.
The guests each went back for seconds. (Woo hoo!)
And dinner was prepped and ready in record time because of my freezer and a bag of lentils I keep in my cupboard.