Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What's For Dinner?

Dear Readers, I am in need of help.

(I know, I know - we re all well aware of THAT. :-)

Next weekend I will be fortunate enough to run away from my family - er, go on a writing retreat with my
dearest friends in the world. We do this twice each year, and after doing it for many many times, we have it down to a science. We know who is bringing the exercise DVDs, who is providing the wine, and who will be introducing us to funky new teas and organic potions. We know who is an early riser and who needs space to plot with Tarot cards and who can't  pick the movie unless we want to end up with The Big Lebowski :-) And where we really shine - other than our page production, of course - is the food.

We have a system here, too, of course. Each person is responsible for her own breakfasts and one group meal. (We also each bring some salad parts and snacks, because seriously, is it even legal to have a writing retreat without chocolate?) At meal time, the person in charge is responsible for everything for that lunch or dinner: planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, and clean-up. And then she is DONE with cooking for the remainder of the retreat. Is that not the most awesome system ever?

I'm signed up for Saturday night's dinner, and here's where I need your assistance. I've cooked all my favorite meals for these ladies already (I told you we've been doing this a long time). I need something new to prepare. The caveats:
  • no mushrooms, green peppers, fish, extreme spiciness, or cilantro
  • if the basketball game goes into overtime, people may be eating on the sofa. So nothing too messy/fork-dependent.
  • soup and tacos are already being prepared by other people
  • some hardy souls will still be sticking to their New Year resolutions, so nothing too decadent (translation: nothing from the Pioneer Woman site)
  • and above all, it must be easy, because I have a boatload of work to get through on this retreat. 

Hit me with your suggestions. If you have links, all the better. In return for your help, on Saturday I'll choose one winner from the comments to receive either a $10 gift card (Amazon, B&N, or Chapters Indigo) OR your choice of one of my books (including, if you're the patient type, an advance copy of my July release Dating A Single Dad, which I should have in June).

Thank you, thank you. I can't wait to see what deliciousness is about to be unleashed.


Mary Preston said...

This sounds like a toasted sandwich deal. Toasted sandwich in one hand, drink in the other. You can pile on whatever you/they fancy. Simple & tasty.

MJ said...

Dinosaur Barbecue Sandwiches are always welcome.

mary sullivan said...

Kris, I haven't tried this yet, but a friend posted this on Facebook a while ago and I've been eager to try it ever since. I don't have a slow cooker at the moment, though :-(

*Easy and amazingly delicious. Comes out like pulled pork.

Throw into slow cooker:

6 frozen chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, i.e. M&Ms),

1 bottle of BBQ sauce,

1/2 bottle of Italian dressing,

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce,

1/4 cup of brown sugar.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Chicken pulls apart with a fork - no kidding! Serve it up on a bun. So yummy!!

BW said...

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut cooked in a crock pot.

See link below to recipe

kris said...

Oooh, I should have known better than to check the replies BEFORE having lunch. Now I'm even hungrier!

Some amazing possibilities here. I might have to experienent on the family ...

Laney4 said...

You said "nothing too messy/fork-dependent" and this goes well with soup too.
Slice open various favourites of buns (hamburger, hot dog, or sausage buns work well, whole wheat or white) or slices of bread. Arrange on parchment-covered baking sheet. Place processed-cheese slice on top of each. Cover with whatever you each wish, perhaps leftovers from other meals or salads, including perhaps bacon (cooked ahead of time in a microwave and kept frozen or in the fridge), ham, chicken, turkey, beef, bologna, etc. and/or perhaps some veggies as well. Broil for a couple of minutes - until the bread is toasted and/or the cheese is bubbling. Easy schmeezy. If they aren't eaten, they can be reheated later. (This recipe was originally called "Bacon Bunnies". Googling this shows pictures too.)

Unknown said...


What about a baked potato bar? Bake a bunch of potatoes (including some sweet potatoes) and put out toppings: butter, sour cream, steamed broccoli, salsa, cheese, crumbled bacon, etc. Everyone can make their meal as they like and you can probably find good topping ideas online (Joe Yonan's book Eat your Vegetables has sweet potatoes topped with coconut oil, shredded coconut, dates, and walnuts--very delish). Most of the topping would only include opening the package and spinach or broccoli can be cooked in the microwave.

I was going to suggest a mashed potato bar, but that's more decadent :-)

Jo's Daughter said...

Pasta with Prunes = a favorite at our cottage. Simple to make and easy to eat too :D

This serves 4 people generously. It is a vegetarian recipe. But we have added a few pieces of bacon for someone who "could not" eat a meal without meat. So I know that tasted good too. Pretty sure you will like it, we do :)

Cook a large packet of pasta and save 1/2 a cup of the cooking water. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil & fry 2 cloves of chopped garlic in it. Crumble up 1 cup of gorgonzola cheese or soft goatscheese if you prefer. Chop 1 cup of dried prunes & chop 1/2 a cup of pecan nuts or walnuts if you prefer. Mix the cooking water with the cheese, garlic, prunes, nuts & the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put in bowls (add bacon?) & enjoy!!!

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Go to the grocery store. FInd the frozen food section. Walk up and down slowly, inspecting. Choose one.

kris said...

Mary Preston, is there ever a wrong time for a toasted sandwich?

MJ, is that a hint? :-)

Mary Sullivan, oooh! The family will definitely eat that one!

BW, how did you know that I adore crock pot meals?

Laney, I'm imagining a LOT of awesome possibilities with that.

Jennifer, oh yes! I do that for the family - never thought of it for retreat, but yes, definite possibilities!

Jo's Daughter, I have a prune-loving son who will go nuts for that recipe.

Jane, oh, I can always count on you to get to the heart of the matter!!!!

Colleen C. said...

At my house we have done a build your own sandwich bar... have crackers/ rolls/ bread/ tortillas, etc. and a variety of meats and cheeses and/or chicken salad, tuna or turkey, egg... a bunch of veggies sliced thin... everyone can make what fits them best!

kris said...

Colleen, that could definintely work, too!

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