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Nice Dinner for 10, Limited Cooking Supplies

10 of my friends and I will be renting a cabin in the woods for memorial day weekend. There will be a kitchen with limited supplies and one very old oven. I am in charge of the dinner the night we all get there. We will all be traveling for a while and will be fairly tired, but would like to have a nice sit down meal to catch up and relax over. I was thinking that rather than frantically cooking there it might be nice to make some things ahead of time ( although they will have to weather a 3 hour car ride). Also, considering there is only one oven and 10 of us, I'm thinking only one thing can be hot. We are also trying to keep it budget friendly. Any easy, cheap but elegant ideas out there? Oh and also, we will be grilling for the majority of the rest of the weekend, so although thats probably the easiest thing to do, I'd like non-grilling ideas for now.

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  1. Sounds like a picnic to me! Sounds to me like the real crux issue will be how to transport and keep cold the items you will bring that are already made. If you have access to a large cooler, would think there is lots you & your friends can prepare in advance. I would search this board for picnic ideas like cold salads (potato, cole slaw, pasta, caprese, asparagus), appetizers like deviled eggs, cold cuts, cheeses, crackers, nuts, olives, plenty of options for desserts. The main course could be the one thing you reheat in the oven. Lasagna or pasta dishes are the usual for large group, but you could do braised dish like beef bourgignon, short ribs, chicken arroz con pollo, chicken paprikash and reheat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Diane in Bexley

      I would do a baked ham. That leaves good sandwich or snack material for the rest of the time.

    2. Hm, Memorial day = hot weather, people will have been travelling so will be tired but not really starving and you want nice food without doing a huge amount of prep work. I would make up a few nice salads and cooler transport them to serve with good bread and white wine. You could also do a big tray of deli meats and cheeses with olives or other pickles and fruit. Pasta is most people's default for this type of meal and can be great too.

      1. I know I sound like a broken record, so please forgive me, but I think coq au vin would be a terrific choice. 'sides.... it does taste even better the second day. The entire meal can be made ahead of time. I generally serve mine with mashed potatoes, but many people use noodles of some sort.

        All you will have to do when you get to the cabin is open some wine, reheat the coq au vin, and chill. Your dinner is already done.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tehama

          I thinking chips salsa, make a few different salsa's just put them in sealed containers do some margarita's then maybe a nice big tray of enchilada's. or you could do tacos, have every thing ready and just re-heat the meat on the stove.I also make this other dish that is really only made in Texas ( I live in Dallas) it's called King Ranch Cassarole. If you Google the recipe a lot will come up amyway it's fantastic everyone loves it and it would be something great to do a head then heat when you arrive. I usually serve it with chips and salsa and a big sort of Mexican Caeser. I add chlile powder to my croutons and roast Pablamo's and roast corn really good. If you are not Margarita drinkers Sangria would be nice. Have fun.

        2. The is a situation for a weber grill and bag of charcoal.

          1. Why not a 'build your own sandwich' bar - Italian style. Lots of antipasti, crusty rolls, sliced Italian meats and cheeses, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and a tiramisu for dessert. Put all in a picnic cooler. Make some grilled veggies at home and chill. People love to graze. Lots of wine.

            1. Hey,

              A few things came to my mind - depending on the weather, you may not be up for something heavy so I was thinking perhaps quiche & a nice salad served with some great bread and wine... Some different main dishes I've tried from epicuriuos with excellent results are:
              mediterranean vegetable-cheese pie
              potato-crusted quiche with smoked cheddar and canadian bacon
              spinach, red pepper, and feta quiche
              You can make any of the above ahead of time, store in a cooler for the ride up and serve at room temp or warm in the oven...
              My favorite salad to serve with the quiche is strawberry and arugula salad with hazelnut dressing
              And I know you didn't ask but something I love to do in the summer with left over grilled chicken and bread is to make grilled chicken with tomato and bread salad

              All of the above recipes can be found on epicurious.com

              Bon appetito!

              1. When I think of lingering and catching up over a meal, I think of food you cook at the table like a hot pot. 2 electric skillets, a flavorful broth, chopsticks, pre-chopped proteins and veggies, some fresh noodles or rice in the cooker. Some dipping sauces pre-made and brought in jars. Interactive, interesting, and fun.

                1. It is all about chili and cold beer,natchos & salsa. Too easy!

                  1. If you are dealing with meat eaters, beef bourguignon is great. If veggies, curried vegges
                    both can be served on rice and both can be cooked ahead, in fact they are both better
                    the next day. I use them in my restaurant for parties. If you need a recipe drop me a

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paul balbin

                      Great idea on the boeuf bourguignon! Right up there with my fave coq au vin.

                      Paul - I'd love to have your vegetable curry recipe if you care to post. I have a vegetarian friend and I am always trying to come up with things to serve when she comes over. Thank you!

                    2. Sounds to me like an opportunity to try a recipe I found but have not yet made. It's called Italian Picnic Potpie, but it's not really a potpie. I've attached a link to the article it's found in, plus a photo. I think this would hold up well on your trip, and if you make two, you may have leftovers for snacking on later. If you try it, let me know how it turned out.


                      1. A cassarole like macaroni and cheese with salad and fruit is a nice, simple (and relatively cheap) meal for 10 hungry people. Grate the cheese and make the white sauce ahead of time if you have a cooler. If not, tomatoes, fruit, pasta, cheese, etc are pretty hardy and you can get milk and lettuice pretty much anywhere. Make the pasta and assemble the casserole when you get there and then have a couple beers while it bakes.