The Meal Tieghan Gerard Recommends For Unexpected Holiday Guests - Exclusive

Let's build a scenario: Every Thanksgiving, you plan for 15 family members — a small and intimate gathering. Then, one family member brings a friend. Another family member brings a new partner. Suddenly, those 15 family members turn into 25 guests. And while the holidays bring merriment and quality time with loved ones, you're beyond stressed at having more mouths to feed. When you realize you don't have enough food, the emergency meal you stored in your freezer comes out.

But what should that emergency meal be? Tieghan Gerard, the brain behind the social media brand Half-Baked Harvest, recommends making a lasagna for those unexpected holiday guests. She explained in an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, "I always say go for a lasagna, because you can make it ahead of time and that's also something that freezes really well, any pasta style dish." While it may not be traditional holiday fare, it's hard to go wrong with Gerard's choice — it's a classic that even the pickiest of eaters are likely to enjoy, and it's a pretty simple meal to perfect no matter your preferred cooking methods. 

Lasagna's versatility allows you to account for dietary needs

Another reason Tieghan Gerard thinks a lasagna is a great backup choice for your company? It's totally versatile. The food blogger said, "What's great about lasagna is you can make one or two, maybe make more of a meat-heavy one, and then if some of your guests are vegetarian or they're gluten-free, you can do that, and that way they're not [ex]cluded from your dinner."

If you're feeling adventurous, there are also tons of ingredients to elevate lasagna, like throwing Worcestershire sauce in the bolognese sauce or substituting the bolognese for a homemade pesto. If you decide to go the classic gluten-free lasagna route, you don't even have to grab some gluten-free lasagna sheets from the store; instead of pasta, you could use sliced zucchini. Best of all, nearly any lasagna can be frozen for up to three months baked or unbaked. If you decide to assemble a lasagna or two for emergencies like unexpected guests, you can throw it in the oven upon arrival, and it will still be fresh and ready for eating — no last-minute scrambling required.