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bringing dinner to a cottage - need something that travels well

Annual visit to friends' cottage - about a 5 hour drive, and we're responsible for dinner for four the first night there.
I'd like to have it mostly prepared before we go - we have coolers to keep things cool on the way - and can assemble/cook/barbecue there.
I'd like to keep things simple and relatively healthy (eating way too much red meat lately!!), but would still like a little "wow" factor so we keep getting invited back!
One limitation: no tomatoes (so sad this time of year, but a health concern for our hosts)
Any ideas?

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  1. I love this Picnic Pie ..... If you can make pastry ... it's not a quiche.....

    pastry:
    3 Cups AP Flour
    1 tsp. salt
    mix above IN A LARGE BOWL and cut in 1 cup crisco and 1/4 cup butter - until fairly fine - with a few pea size pieces
    mix 1/3 cup cold water - 1 T vinegar - 1 egg and pour over above
    now - with a wooden spoon stir like mad until it forms a ball ...

    so now - line a pie plate with pastry
    in the bottom - cut up a bunch of green onions (small pieces) including white
    then sliced black forest ham - chopped up about 2 cups
    then grated sharp cheddar cheese - about 2 cups
    now ... make little 6 nests through these layers right to the pastry layer and
    crack an egg into each nest - no mixing
    I put tomatos on top now with salt pepper and basil but you don't need to - put a little more cheese instead
    now the top crust - decorate with pastry if you want to impress them
    bake it at 350 for about 45 minutes - the cheese should be bubblinig out a little

    chill it
    When you slice it cold - you can see all the pretty layers with the hard egg in the centre.

    I had a business and I sold LOTS OF THESE PIES
    My mom used to make them for our family picnic because they travel so well....
    If that's not good - I'll give you something else

    2 Replies
    1. re: Soosh

      Sounds wonderful - I love the idea of having something beautiful to look at when it's sliced.
      Thanks so much!

      1. re: Soosh

        I totally using that for our next potluck thanks for the recipe :)

      2. I would do an Italian antipasti platter with fresh figs, proscuitto, mozzarella, olives, roasted peppers, and arugula along with a couple pizzas--toppings done with a light hand-- done on the grill. One could be rapini (bring it already cooked with garlic and olive oil) with pecorino, another could be caramelized onions with blue cheese. The former is great draped with proscuitto, the latter loves figs on top. You can also do some simple foccacia with the dough brushed with olive oil then sprinkled with herbs and salt. This would all travel well and the dough could rise as you go.

        3 Replies
        1. re: escondido123

          Another great idea!! I was actually thinking about pizza on the BBQ...
          decisions, decisions...

          1. re: hungryjoanne

            when are you going? The first night there can be a busy one - arrivals and unloading etc. Simple is sweet. How about a Creol Chicken Pie with Corn Bred Topping or a Sweet & Spicy Sweet Potatoe Topping? A quick Curry with a great salad . . . GOOD BREAD, lovely wine ..... I can post the recipes if you think you'd be interested in them.

            1. re: hungryjoanne

              Pizza on the bbq is nice - if you've done it before

          2. Good make-aheads:
            Silver Palate Chicken Marbella
            Allrecipes Beef Stroganoff (air tight container, at cabin heat, stir in sour cream, boil noodles)
            Raw chicken in marinade, sealed in zip locks, ready for the BBQ.
            Spaghetti, sauced with olive oil or butter, sprinkle green onions and lots of Parmesan on top, salad, La Brea sourdough.

            1. If you can keep them cool, marinated tenderloin cubes and prawns could be held in ziploc bags until assembly and grilling. You can use more veg. and seafood than beef for these, or just skip it altogether, doing a prawn/veg kebab and a chicken/peanut sauce kebab. You could pre-make a big orzo salad with roasted veg. or with fresh basil, tomatoes, blanched haricot, etc. - or the makings for a panzanelle or a Caprese salad. You could also spatchcock and marinate quail or Cornish Hens and set them to grill; with roasted corn on the cob and grilled tomatoes and grilled bread, maybe a cheeseboard? There's a nice dinner.

              5 Replies
              1. re: mamachef

                All nice mamachef ... what is " spatchcock "?

                1. re: Soosh

                  Soosh, to spatchcock is to remove the backbone and flatten the bird. It cooks faster and more evenly, and there's more crispy skin/meat ratio too. Win-win! Can certainly also be done with chicken; even turkey; but the little birds sounded a bit more elegant for her purposes. And quail are so nice with a grain/currant/salad or stuffing.

                  1. re: mamachef

                    mmmmmmm, I'll be spatchcoking, thanks mamachef!

                    1. re: Soosh

                      And when you get that down, try Pollo al Mattone, which is basically a spatchcocked bird pressed w/ a (clean, foil-wrapped) brick while cooking. Oh my word.

                      1. re: mamachef

                        Engine block pot roast has always worked for us. 3 lbs of chuck roast, one packet of onion soup and a cup of water. Triple wrapped in strong tin foil. Put it on the engine block at the start of the trip. Be sure not to puncture the foil to keep the juices in. Stop at KFC for sides just before you get to the cottage. Accentuate with numerous bottles of your favorite libation.

                        Why should somebody be trapped in the kitchen when all the others are enjoying the woods, lake, shore, etc.?

              2. I was watching "French Cooking At Home" and she made a pork loin florentine that could be served warm or at room temp and a celeriac remoulade. I tried it at home and it was fairly simple and delicious, It seems like it would travel well. Have a great trip.

                http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...
                http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recip...

                1. Thanks for all the great suggestions - I'm going to butterfly/spatchcock a chicken, and let it sit in marinade on the way, salad greens from the garden and grilled corn on the cob. And of course a nice bottle of wine and a peach pie from our local fruit stand!
                  I am definitely going to try the picnic pie sometime soon, as well - Thank-you!!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hungryjoanne

                    Wondeerful!... It's called Mrs. Adams PICNIC PIE - after my mome - who always made it - so please always call it that in her memory. :) Now we have all helped you - so we need directions to the cottage.......

                  2. I would prepare your favorite casserole. Instead of cooking it, freeze it. It will thaw in the cooler on the way up then just pop it in the oven when you get there.

                    Nobody is looking for something fancy in a country cottage. They are looking for comfort food.