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Cooking for a group when you are away from home.


johnder
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So I am heading off to a ski trip for a week with a few other people and I always end up being the one planning the meals and doing the cooking, (which I am fine with and actually prefer). However, it is always challenging when you are not doing it in your own kitchen and also when you can't really just run down to the corner to pick up something from the supermarket that you forgot.

I usually make a pretty precise menu plan for each night we are eating at home and from that come up with a very specific, department by department shopping list for the market so that on the trip back from the airport we have the driver stop and the group of us run into the supermarket split up and get everything on the list as quickly as possible.

Given this is a ski based trip, hearty, warm meals are a plus and given two people dont eat meat they are seafood or veg based. Given we are in Utah, the choice of fresh seafood will probably be somewhat limited.

The house we are staying at luckily is well furnished with kitchen supplies and a large but probably aging spice selection so that helps somewhat.

Given I have 6 nights of dinners to plan I am interested to hear what others use as their go do vacation dishes when they are cooking for a group. (In this case it is 6 people)

I think I am definately going to do the fish stick tacos I saw here.

Also my mac and cheese is a big hit, so that will be on the menu. I tend to stay away from non-baked type pastas because of the altitude and its impact on boiling water. Any non-baked pastas I have made tended to be pretty gummy.

Given there is a crock pot, it will also be called into service at one point, probably in the form of a chili.

Anyone have any other thoughts on other items?

Also looking for good breakfast ideas aside from the normal waffles and pancakes.

John Deragon

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--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Question: do you mean to say that for almost an entire week you cook and serve no meat? Surely the quasi-vegetarians would allow for two separate meals to be served on at least one occasion.

It hit me because as soon as I see the word 'crockpot', I think pulled pork or pulled beef and all the things you can do with it.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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No, there can be meat for the 3 that do eat meat. I for one will be having copious amounts of bacon for instance. So two meals can be done.

I was thinking about doing a roasted chicken one day and using the leftovers for sandwiches one day for lunch.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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For breakfast, you could do any number of things with baked egg custard variations. Delicious, hearty, and can be prepared in advance:

0.5 tbsp butter

8 slices bread, 1⁄2”

1.5 cup milk

1.5 cup cream

12 large eggs, lightly scrambled

4 oz gruyere, coarse-grated

4 oz cheddar, coarse-grated

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp smoked paprika

Night before:

1. Line the bottom and sides of a buttered casserole with bread slices.

2. Mix eggs, cream, milk, cheeses, and spices. Season well with salt and pepper.

3. Pour egg mixture into casserole. Cover and refrigerate.

Morning of:

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake custard in the center of the oven, uncovered, for about 40

min, until center is just jiggling.

 

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One good dish is shakshuka/eggs baked in tomato sauce, which can be done for both breakfast or dinner. You can use straight-up bought tomato sauce, or you can dress it up yourself (traditionally with onions, paprika, a little heat and maybe a bell pepper. I like it with lots of parsley too). Or if you have the time, make it from scratch with tomatoes, tomato paste etc. You could serve it with lavash.

You could also do the mexican variation and serve it with beans and quesadillas, which are all as time consuming to make as you want them to be. I like that version with corn salsa.

If the store you are going to sells pizza dough, that can be super quick an versatile, especially with vegitarians (ps feel you there! All veg roommies!) and though this might be too close to chili, you can always do a hearty lentil soup in the crock.

And last idea- how about one night just a nice sandwich spread? Roast some eggplant one night while cooking other stuff, and maybe some other veggies, marinate some tofu, nice cheese or pesto and then you don't have to cook much after a long day. Unless you want to fry them or panini!! (my favorite thing!)

And lets us know the final line-up. I'd like to know what actually turns out to be a good/bad idea after a hard day on the slopes. Good luck!

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I tend to cook my own unsophisticated version of Mexican for a group, using the pulled meat & poblano strips for enchiladas for the meatarians and said poblano strips & vegetables for the others.

We've also done Chinese, but that was with two cooking. And that's quite a lot of extra stuff. We would be staying in a condo for at least a month or more to do that. And then I would bring stuff from home in the van.

And Impossible pies work well for a group.

I bring chocolate. Always.

Ditto for breakfast custards, French toasts & pancake things which cover a whole sheet (no standing there for 3/4 hour dishing out stuff), etc. There are so many 'prepare the night ahead, store in the fridge and bake for 35 mins in the am' recipes.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I have made in the past the overnight crockpot oatmeal from Alton Brown and it was pretty well received. I like the idea of baked eggs and quiches. A good quiche and salad may make it onto the dinner rotation.

These suggestions are awesome! Keep em coming!

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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The problem I see with chili is 1. the beans at altitude, not so good and cause mountain bloat. ugh. 2. chili is served for lunch everywhere on the mountains. The last thing I want after skiing all day is chili. But that's just me.

What about some other different type of soup that could cook all day in the crackpot?

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How about spaghetti and meatballs or (even easier) chunks of store-bought Italian sausage?

You could make a vegetarian tomato sauce. You could either take some of it out and set it aside for the non-meat eaters, then drop your meatballs and/or sausage in to simmer a while. Or just serve the pasta and tomato sauce, and pass the meat separately.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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You said no non-baked pastas due to the altitude. The all time stand by for group cooking is lasagna you could make one with meat and one without. Something I do every year on our vacation trip is pot roast however that does not help your non meat eaters. A roast turkey breast can be used in many ways. Without pasta and beans big group non meat meals are tough. For breakfast most everybody likes French toast of one type or the other

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You said no non-baked pastas due to the altitude.

I didn't notice this when I posted that spaghetti with one meat and one non-meat sauce might work.

Although I don't really get it. I used to live at high altitude. Had a big family with lots of kiddos. Not sure how I could have gotten through that with no non-baked pastas. I didn't have an issue with it being gummy. Can't imagine what all those Italians in the Italian Alps would do without pasta. But on the other hand, you're not moving there, so probably an easy thing to just choose something else for your short stay.

I'd second the "easy Mexican" idea. Get a chuck roast or pork shoulder. Cut it into chunks. Put it into the crockpot. Dump one or two jars of Herdez Salsa Casera (go with 'mild' or 'medium' or 'hot' or a combination, depending upon the heat tolerance of your companions). Cook until the meat falls apart. Serve with tortillas and fixin's such as guacamole, onions, cheese, lettuce, sour cream, etc. I also opened a couple of cans of charro beans to serve alongside. (If you want to go more exotic, then do the same thing with a beef tongue for 'tacos la lengua.')

Two beef stews I've made in that situation went over very well: Greek Stifado, and Flemish Carbonnades. Familiar, in that they're beef stew, but with enough of a twist to make them interesting.

And lasagna is always well-received. As I said on that other "vacation" thread, bake it in a disposable pan for easy cleanup.

We actually just did a week at a vacation ski cabin in Tahoe. I baked a big ham the first day. We ate on it for most of the week - first night, ham for dinner along with mac & cheese, corn, canned baked beans (that the kids love), sliced fresh pears as a salad; then for breakfasts, sandwiches, snacks, whathaveyou. It's just so versatile. We finally finished it off on the last day and one family member that lives in California and had driven to Tahoe froze the ham bone, and then took it home with her to make split pea soup.

Other things that were a big hit:

I also made chili that first day. Used it as dinner one night with a salad and cornbread (that I made from a boxed mix bought there following high altitude directions), then over hot dogs with wieners roasted on sticks in the fireplace, then with one of our family's favorite evening meals, chili and eggs.

We made a big shopping run the first day. Some things we got that we were glad to have were a lot of eggs (we went through six dozen that week), and bags of frozen Pilsbury biscuits, sliced good cheeses that we used with the ham for sandwiches and snacks, peanut butter & jelly (there were five kids in our group).

Other huge hits:

S'mores in the fireplace

Microwave popcorn (that we'd make right when the skiers came in tired and wet and hungry, but before dinner was ready)

Chili con queso and chips (that we'd make right when the skiers....etc.)

Hot drinks made in the crockpot:

Gluwein

Hot Apple Pies - first you mull apple cider. (Don't add the booze to the cider then, so it's good for children or non-drinkers.) Then you pour it into a mug, add a nice shot of Tuaca, then top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Such a big hit that I had to make two batches of a gallon each, and buy more Tuaca. And one friend that had never had it before emailed me later to say that he had taken Hot Apple Pies to several parties after he got home and now he's something of a "hot drink celeb" in his crowd.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I've not been in that position, but it sounds like fun (sort of :rolleyes: ). I think I'd do fritatas a couple times, Fajitas/tacos (varied for the veggies), Burgers plus a hot potato salad, BBQ shrimp + sticky rice, maybe tapas one night.

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Hot Apple Pies - first you mull apple cider. (Don't add the booze to the cider then, so it's good for children or non-drinkers.) Then you pour it into a mug, add a nice shot of Tuaca, then top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Such a big hit that I had to make two batches of a gallon each, and buy more Tuaca. And one friend that had never had it before emailed me later to say that he had taken Hot Apple Pies to several parties after he got home and now he's something of a "hot drink celeb" in his crowd.

Tuaca. Learn something new every day. Can't get it in Ontario, at least not in Peterpatch or Toronto. But I see we can get it in Moab. Next fall, with luck. :smile:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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For ski trips we always have duck confit (prepared in advance and just reheated & crisped in the oven) with potatoes sauteed in duck fat.

Another favorite meal is raclette or fondue. The raclette can be simply made by slicing cheese into a pyrex dish and melting it in the oven if you don't have the specialized equipment. Serve with potatoes and dried meat.

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Hot Apple Pies - first you mull apple cider. (Don't add the booze to the cider then, so it's good for children or non-drinkers.) Then you pour it into a mug, add a nice shot of Tuaca, then top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Such a big hit that I had to make two batches of a gallon each, and buy more Tuaca. And one friend that had never had it before emailed me later to say that he had taken Hot Apple Pies to several parties after he got home and now he's something of a "hot drink celeb" in his crowd.

Tuaca. Learn something new every day. Can't get it in Ontario, at least not in Peterpatch or Toronto. But I see we can get it in Moab. Next fall, with luck. :smile:

Tuaca is an Italian apple liqueur. Pretty nifty stuff, I think.

Tuaca Apple Liqueur

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I usually do a curry with lots of toppings. I make a garbanzo/veggie or chicken base with just a few ingredients that can slow cook during the day and then set out lots of toppings (fried onions, bananas, coconut, etc.).

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

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chicken and mushroom pie ( and i get a soup out of the stock which can be used for another meal with salads/cold cuts and cheese) and you could do a nice spinach, cheese and mushroom version for the veggies, a good stirfry with some meat cooked separately for the meat eaters.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Where are you headed? There's a Whole Foods just off the interstate as you turn off for Park City/Deer Vally/The Canyons. It's about 10 minutes from either of those resorts, except at rush hour.

You actually shouldn't have trouble cooking pastas, should you be inclined, they just take longer.

I'd be inclined towards short ribs, myself, maybe served with roasted winter vegetables (check out the French Laundry Cookbook, though the short rib recipe is epically more complicated than need be).

Polenta with milk, garlic and grated Parmesan. Chop the garlic, sweat it, add half-and-half water and cream at about 5-1 to the meal (more or less to taste0, with an amount of Parmesan equal to the meal. You can let it set and fry it or serve it creamy with sausage or better yet...

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic.

This is some great shit and vegetarian, too, if you're skiing with Communists. It and went down brilliantly after a day at Park City. The greens ratio can be troubling, depending on the green you use (ie, chard reduces much more than kale) so don't add it all at once, and accept the possibility of leftovers.

Also, anything with garlic bread.

Keep in mind, if this is your first trip, wine and liquor are a pain to get hold of, so you may want to research in advance. As far as I know, there' only one wine/liquor shop in Park City (acceptable) and I expect that that pattern is repeated throughout the state.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Keep in mind, if this is your first trip, wine and liquor are a pain to get hold of, so you may want to research in advance. As far as I know, there' only one wine/liquor shop in Park City (acceptable) and I expect that that pattern is repeated throughout the state.

If there is one thing johnder has handled, it's the booze :laugh: .

I like mushroom stews, ratatouilles, etc. They can be served over polenta, rice, pasta, etc.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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