I try to stick to classics—things that almost everyone likes, that mimic the take-out she might be ordering otherwise (i.e. pizza, pasta, soup). My plan, if I know I have a sitter coming that week, is to make something for my family the night before that will provide plenty of leftovers.
In a pinch, I buy a frozen pizza (or, for my vegetarian niece, a chana masala from Trader Joe's).
Here are seven foolproof ideas:
• 1. How to Make Calzones (and Freeze them for Later!). Or, make your own frozen pizza.
• 2. Macaroni and Cheese, which is great left over and will feed your family and the sitter for a couple of days.
• 3. Chicken and Tomato No-Boil Pasta Bake. Simple, comforting, and easy to reheat.
• 4. Udon Noodle Soup. Cheaper and better than ordering Asian take-out. If you don't think the sitter wants tofu, try Baked Potato Soup with Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar.
• 5. Garlic and Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin. We don't know many people who won't eat pork tenderloin. Make it for yourself the night before; serve the leftovers on a bun with a side of potato chips.
• 6. Snacks. I remember one of the best things about babysitting back in the day was raiding the pantry for chips, crackers, and cookies that I didn't have at home. In case the sitter isn't loving what you've prepared, have some chips and salsa, hummus, some popcorn—snacks for grazing.
• 7. Dessert. Offer a nice reward for wrangling your toddler out of the bathtub and into bed. Even if it's just a pint of ice cream or some Oreos.
What do you feed your babysitters? Anything? Do you make special meals or order pizza?
(Image: Emma Christensen)