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Cabin Cooking

My husband and I rent a fairly remote cabin every summer. The closest, not-well-stocked grocery is about 30 minutes away and since an awesome sunset is usually part of our dinner routine, we are more than happy to stay home and cook. This year we are going for nearly two weeks and will try to bring most of our provisions with us, The house is stocked with good supply of basic cookware

I have some frozen, braised short ribs and a lasagna in the freezer and will probably freeze some mac and cheese before we go. We usually bring up some pantry pastas ingredients, frozen meats, and some marinating chicken for the first night. We also bring up a make your own muffin mix and fruit crisp topping mix and hit up the local fruit stands.

We have been doing this so long, our meals have gotten a little routine-any suggestions out there? Thanks so much in advance,

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  1. When we were renting a house in not-so-rural Vermont we brought our little Weber Smoky Joe grill, a bag of wood chips and frozen packs of chicken thighs and breasts plus the makings of a teriyaki sauce or other marinade. Obviously, the grill can be used for all sorts of food. The house had a well stocked kitchen with good a cooking range but it was nice to have the grill too.

    On our daily excursions we'd stop at farm stands, etc. and buy just enough salad makings or other foods for about 2 days. The last thing we wanted to do was to spend time on fussy preps for meals.


    1. Sounds lovely! I have a lovely recipe for a flank steak on my blog that I take camping with me. I cook it in a dutch oven, but you can broil it in the oven, too. You could make it in the marinade and freeze it to take with you.

      Mom's Tasty Flank Steak

      1/2 c. soy sauce
      1/4 c. olive oil
      1/4 c. lemon juice - bottled is fine for this recipe
      1 T. thyme
      3 green onions, sliced
      A big flank steak

      Place marinade ingredients in a plastic bag, and add steak. Freeze in marinade, and pack it in your cooler. (if you are making this at home, marinate it in the fridge overnight) At camp, put the beef and marinade in a 12 inch dutch oven with 10 coals on the bottom, 14 on top for about 30 minutes. (at home, broil it in a pan with the marinade until desired doneness) Serve with noodles. Yummy!

      1. Freezing meat in marinade sounds like a great idea....and we do have access to a nothing fancy grill...

        1 Reply
        1. re: margib

          I do that all the time. We usually RV and I prep ahead by freezing chops, chicken & skirt steaks with the marinade, so they can keep the cooler cold, and thaw out in time for dinner each night.

          I make a lot of fajitas, steak & potatoes, grilled pork chops, burgers & dogs for lunches, etc. And like the poster above, we shop locally where we end up, at farm stands and small grocery stores for staples. We also seek out fresh fish markets to enjoy some fresh fish on the grill as well. It works very well for us.

          Pantry meals : I have two small kids, so mine may not appeal, but we do mac & cheese (yes, the blue box kind you can microwave) and other canned pastas they love (they are growing and constantly hungry!!). Also bring packaged oatmeal, cereals, canned beans, tomatoes and olives. What my Mom used to call American Chop Suey, which is cooked elbows mixed w cooked hamburg meat, onions, tomatoes, some spices. Also take and use those pasta, couscous and rice mixes that come with seasonings, and you just add water, milk, oil or butter. Hope that helps!

        2. I would definitely take some steaks and some baker style potatoes... after all it is the ultimate in fast food.

          I would take a fairly large container of pulled pork and some hamburger buns, speaking of which, bring some hamburger.. nothing like grilled slider cheeseburgers.

          A tub of potato salad would be nice.

          I am trying to mention things that can be made ahead or made quickly there. You are on vacation. No need to slave in the kitchen for hours.

          1. Take some summer squash (yellow, zuchinni, patty pan, etc.) and some good sweet onions.
            The squash will keep at least a week in the fridge, if not longer. Slice up some squash and onions, splash with olive oil, salt, pepper. Throw on the grill on a piece of foil or a grill pan. Makes a great easy side for anything you cook on the grill. You can add red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, whatever you have for variety.

            1. These are my standbys.

              1. Things that are versitile...ham, potatoes, egg, cheese, bread...i I can do a million things with those. If I have plenty of these I know we will have something to eat.

              2. Things that can be a couple meals. I do not like really cooking 3 meals a day. We usually pick up some bar-b-q on our way up the mountain. Chili is good too although maybe not so much in summer. Maybe a light soup with lots of fresh vegetables or a pasta salad with lots of veg and tuna.

              3. Stuff for the grill...Burgers, steaks, veg. I also like hot dogs and smores.

              4. A couple of frozen curbside casseroles or whatever they call them where you are. Last time one of mine was chicken divan which was a nice change from grilled food and sandiches.

              A couple of weeks away sounds divine. Can I go with you? LOL

              1. Those all sound like great ideas...any good exciting pantry pasta ideas...our standard sausage and marinara sauce is getting old....

                3 Replies
                1. re: margib

                  I might be able to help you out, there.

                  Andouille and Chicken Creole Pasta
                  Serves 8


                  2 tablespoons butter
                  1/2 lb andouille sausage,diced
                  2 skinless, boneless chicken
                  breast halves - cut into strips
                  3 tablespoons Creole seasoning
                  1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
                  1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
                  8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
                  4 green onions, chopped
                  1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium chicken broth
                  1 cup milk
                  2 teaspoons lemon pepper
                  2 teaspoons garlic powder
                  1/4 cup cornstarch
                  1/2 cup cold water
                  1 (16 oz) package linguine


                  Melt the margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook sausage and chicken with the Creole seasoning until the meat is about halfway done. Add the mushrooms, green onion, green pepper and red pepper. Saute over medium heat until the mushrooms begin to shrink, about 10 minutes.

                  Stir in the chicken broth and milk, season with lemon pepper and garlic powder, and reduce the heat to medium-low. (Now is a good time to start boiling water for the pasta.) Mix together the cornstarch and cold water until dissolved - I like to use a coffee mug. Stir into the skillet. Cook, stirring gently, until the sauce returns to a boil. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat and set aside. Serve hot over cooked pasta.

                  Place pasta in a large pot of lightly salted water. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Drain.

                  Also, try these links to some other pasta recipes.


                  This one is very good. If you don't want to mess with crab and or crawfish, use a little more shrimp. If you don't want to hassle with seafood at all use white meat chicken chunks instead.


                  1. re: margib

                    Posted this in another thread awhile back. Doubles easily, super quick and yummy. You can make the whole thing in the time it takes the pasta to cook. I can see this being delicious with a pile of farmstand greens chopped and tossed in instead of the frozen spinach.

                    1/2 pound of short whole wheat pasta
                    2 T. olive oil (or more as needed)
                    1/2 onion, sliced
                    1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or two cups cooked chickpeas)
                    2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
                    1 t. cumin seed
                    1/2 cup almonds, chopped (or sliced/slivered almonds)
                    1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
                    salt and pepper to taste
                    1/2 cup shredded cheese

                    Cook pasta according to package directions. Dip out about a cup of the pasta water just before draining.

                    Meanwhile, saute onion in oil over medium heat until light brown. Add chickpeas and saute well until thoroughly browned all around. Add garlic, cumin seed, and almonds and toast lightly. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Toss cooked pasta with chickpea mixture and stir in a little pasta water. Add cheese and more pasta water if needed to reach a slightly saucy consistency.

                    1. re: margib

                      How about couscous or quinoa salads? Couscous with some ground cumin, citrus zest, steamed broccoli or other veg, drained can of chickpeas, roasted nut or seed of choice and a simple oil-lemon juice dressing. Chopped flat leaf parsley or cilantro or mint if you have some will gild the lily. It comes together quickly.
                      Another idea for pantry pasta: saute sliced onion, garlic, chile flakes, chopped olives (or olive tapenade), sundried tomatoes, drained can of chickpeas or other bean. Toss in cooked short pasta reserving some pasta water to moisten as needed. Careful with the salt in this one! Top with grated parmesan, flat leaf parsley or basil, and chopped toasted walnuts or crisped breadcrumbs.

                    2. didn't mention if you have a campfire, but I love experimenting with my big lodge cast iron dutch oven with the little feet made especially for open fire cooking. one of my best dishes is an Italian hunter's stew with sausage, peppers, tomatoes, onions, carrots, potatoes...game meat should be added but don't always have venison or boar. Season to your delight; I always add red wine.

                      1. Freeze all meats and fish and use as ice pack and stick in freezer as soon as you get there.
                        Doy you fish? If not get a $9.95 Minnie Mouse fishing rod (I have one.) and learn. fun , peaceful and delicious. At our cabin, I get up at dawn and go fishing in my kayak. Few things, beat rainbows and scrambled eggs for breakfast.