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Kickass recipes for a ski vacation?

I ski with 12 buddies each winter, and since I'm the guy who can cook, I'm in charge of the big dinner.

On this trip, I'll only have a basic supermarket with mediocre winter produce and maybe 2 hours total from taking my skis off to serving dinner.

I'm looking for recipe ideas that:

- Fit into a 2-hour window for prepping and cooking
- are easy to shop for at the crappy supermarket near the ski resort
- are dude-friendly (we get pretty hungry)
- don't require fancy kitchenware (because we rent typical ski houses, the equipment is really limited).
- have the potential to impress. These guys know good food.

I'll pack a few good knives and I can smuggle some spices or small ingredients in checked luggage. I'm fast with prep and can manage most basic techniques.

Can anyone suggest some good recipes for me??

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  1. New York Steak with bourbon gravy. Sear the steaks, reduce heat and cook them through, deglaze the pan with bourbon (I like Jim Beam for this) add a sprig of rosemary and a little butter to finish and drizzle the sauce over the steak. Serve alongside baked potato with sour cream/bacon and a fresh green salad.
    For dessert? Johnny Walker Blue (neat)

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Boozy awesomeness. Are you the Epic Mealtime guy?

    2. I love chili after a day of skiing. You can make it simple w/ ground beef, beans, tomatoes and even just buy the chili pack. Or you could make it fancier with green chilis and chicken. Or any number of variations, maybe using small pieces of chuck roast. Use beer as a base. Add corn bread (mix dry ingredients in advance in a zip lock bag) and a salad for a complete meal, plus you'll have beer then, too. Something like this:


      Or, lasagna is a good hearty meal, too. Use a lot of sausage and meats in it. Add spinach.

      1. From my skiing son to you: take the biggest slow cooker you can find and put chili ingredients in it before you leave in the morning for the slopes. Come home to hot chili.

        From me: you don't necessarily need the slow cooker if you do this the quick way. Brown ground beef in a big pot with chopped onion. Add canned kidney beans, tomato puree, and tomatoes. Add a few cans of water. Spice to taste with chili powder, cumin, hot pepper, and salt. Let simmer 20-30 minutes. If you're feeding 12 and have a big enough pot this way might work better for you as no slow cooker will hold enough chili for 12 people to have firsts and seconds.

        1. Alamundo, your challenge has entered my head. Problem 1, you have to feed 12 probably very hungry people who have been exercising all day. Problem 2, they "know good food" and may have gourmet expectations. Problem 3, limited shopping facilities. Let's hope your gang can dial down on # 2 and be glad of whatever wholesome meal you produce when you yourself have been skiing and are as tired and hungry as they. Are you driving in so that you could take something with you? Like maybe, a charcoal grill and charcoal? Will your kitchen even have big enough pans to feed that many people? I'm still hung up on "they know good food"--if you have an oven you could accommodate a crowd with big pans full of hot sandwiches (Reubens, hamburgers, "Hot Browns" a la Kentucky Derby, barbecued beef, fish tacos, etc) but I'm not sure whether that qualifies as "good food".

          3 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            Yeah, it's a challenge. These guys dine out a lot and I'm hoping for a little ooh-aah reaction when I feed them. There are lots of good things that taste great and satisfy, but might not "impress". Hoping to achieve that, but regardless, all good ideas will help!

            1. re: Alamundo

              A slow cooker would be helpful but if not, you could do a slow cooked pork shoulder/butt overnight, shred in the morning and then braise or cook in the stove after you get back for a couple of hours. Someone in my group did a posole like that and it hit the spot after a cold day outside. I've also done pulled pork like that, rolls, cole saw that was a big hit. And, chicken soup and dumplings are great--I like the dumplings like noodles that you put right into the soup and cook up.

            2. re: Querencia

              Don't forget--after a long cold day of skiing, and ski lodge food for lunch, anything will be good at dinner so #2 might not be as hard as you think!

            3. Not gourmet, but possibly okay for your situation.

              Chicken Strips in Garlic Butter

              As much chicken as you need (6-8 ounces per diner) cut into smallish fingers, dark, white, whatever (not stir-fry size)
              Toss chicken strips in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, garlic powder), pat off excess
              Brown in melted butter in saute pan in batches
              Put all browned chicken and butter sauce in roaster pan with more butter, lots of chopped garlic, enough white wine to get it soupy
              Cover with lid or foil, into a preheated 350 oven for about 30 minutes
              Add more butter and/or white wine, if necessary. You don't want it to get dry. You want sauce.

              Serve over spinach fettuccine for color, or whatever you can find (sometimes half white/half spinach is all you can get)

              A mixed green salad with a simple vinaigrette, good cherry toms if you're lucky, maybe slivers of red onion. Some kind of decent bread to sop up juices.

              1. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pa...

                You should be able to find all ingredients or at least a reasonable substitute for the mustard (grab something grainy). Surprising delicious combination!

                1. I like the slow cooker idea. With a bit of prep, it's wonderful to come home to a house that smells fabulous and basically no work to do for dinner. In addition to the chili idea, I would suggest beef bourguignon adapted for the slow cooker; Indian lamb curry (if you can smuggle in some spices -- I've come up with a great slow cooker rogan josh); slow cooked pork shoulder (either pernil style, or with onions, apples and curry powder); asian braised pork stew. Or without a slow cooker -- moroccan chicken braised with preserved lemons and green olives, served with couscous. You can make the preserved lemons or improvise using lemons and capers, or indian lemon pickle. it's not the same, but different/good, in it's own way. Prudhomme's cajun meatloaf, mashed cauliflower and roasted asparagus; roast chicken with sage and thyme under the skin, roasted with carrots, parsnips and potatoes; roast pork tenderloins seasoned well and then slathered with mango chutney, served with roasted cubed sweet potates dusted with five spice powder.

                  Those are some quick thoughts. We rented a ski house last Christmas and I cooked for the group every night. Their palates weren't very adventurous at all and many things I've just suggested wouldn't have made the cut for them, but unfettered by picky eaters, that's where my head would lean.

                  Have a great time.

                  1. You didn't say how many meals or how many days.

                    What we did during our last trip was made lots of meatballs. The first day, it was meatballs with baked potatoes. Second day, the meatballs were in with spaghetti. The third day, the same meats became chili. Boy, I made lots of meatballs.

                    1. Hi, Alamundo:

                      Two suggestions that are bound to impress, fill elevation-emptied bellies, and easy/quick to make:

                      (1) Paul Prudhomme's Chicken Curry;
                      (2) Kung Pao chicken.

                      Hope you and your party get big snow puffies and lots of powder shots.


                      1. I cook after skiing, and as much as I'd like to impress the hordes, a) I'm exhausted already and b) with a few drinks, everyone thinks homestyle tastes great. You don't have the facilities or time to really fiddle with fancy.

                        That said, you could take an afternoon when you arrive and putting together a bunch of stuff that you can cook off later. Make a complex stew, it will taste better after a couple of days anyway.

                        Vats and vats of spaghetti carbonara are doable quickly. How about ordering in an excellent smoked turkey or ham, deliverable to the house, and some cheeses or smoked fish? I often send a package of smoked salmon from Russ and Daughters to Colorado ahead of our ski week, makes for some fine breakfasts and other noshes. My brother has been known to ship his favorite braising pan ahead in order to make short ribs.

                        Todao's steaks sound great, too.

                        1. Raclette. That's what you'd be eating if you were skiing in Switzerland. All you need is the raclette (bring from home), some good ham, potatoes, pickles and beer to wash it down. Oh, yeah, you probably should bring one of those little raclette grill machines. But honestly, fat, meat, starch and beer--you can't go wrong with those.

                          1. Ok Alamundo, here is the answer to your question. I live in a ski town so all winter long I have alot of houseguests. When I need to feed a crowd, and want something quick and easy at the end of a great day on the slopes, I do this amazing one pot taco soup/stew that's ready in 30 minutes and makes 5 quarts!

                            The shamelessly easy "BROWN MEAT, OPEN CANS" deeeeelicious TACO SOUP recipe.

                            -In a large stock pot brown 1pound lean ground beef or turkey (add 1TBS butter for turkey) . (I add in 1 large onion chopped)
                            -When meat is hot sprinkle with 1 envelope Taco Seasoning. You are now done cooking!

                            -Open and add undrained 1 each 16oz can of;
                            -pinto beans
                            -kidney beans (or black beans, or any other beans you like)
                            -cream style corn
                            -diced stewed tomatoes
                            -diced tomatoes with chilies
                            -Sprinkle in 1 envelope ranch style dressing mix
                            Heat thoroughly til bubbly and serve. That's it!

                            Ladle over tortilla chips and serve. I put out bottled hot sauce (I use Cholula) and toppings of mexican mix shredded cheese, sour cream, black olives, sliced canned jalapenos, chopped scallions, fresh cilantro and anything else you like. Makes 5qts - feeds alot. Deeeelicious!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ski_gpsy

                              Thanks, ski_gpsy! That's some serious cold-weather eats!

                              1. re: Alamundo

                                For as hokey as it sounds with the packets of taco mix and ranch dressing, it turns out so delicious you'll be surprised. And you'll get great response, I guarantee it! Don't break up the meat too much, keep it chunky. And most importantly, find the fresh cilantro. I know that markets and little gas station stores in ski resorts can be frustratingly limited, but find the fresh cilantro or try bringing it with you packed in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel, it really elevates the dish.

                              2. Pork Carnitas (my way);
                                night before or morning before, brown pork shoulder (butt) deeply on all sides; i use a crock pot, but you can also cook in oven in a baking bag, just google for time/temp; put butt in crockpot bag, add 1 cardboard carton chicken broth, 1 tsp salt/1 tsp pepper/2 tsp cumin, 1/3 cup lime juice, 1 whole head garlic, minced. Cook low and slow for 8+ hours; when ready to eat, pull the pork, lay pork on a baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with homemade mojo (recipe below), and brown pork under broiler. serve with steamed corn tortillas and regular taco sides, chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, avacado, chopped peppers, crema, lots of lime. mojo - take bottle of goya sour orange, pour into a pot, add 1 tsp cumin, 4 cloves garlie, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp s/p, 1/2 cup olive oil; reduce by 1/3 and return to goya bottle when cool; all this can be prepared ahead and put out when you get home; house will smell great! suggest roasted bananas with cinnamon icecream for dessert (for icecream, just add ground cinnamon to softed high quality vanilla icecream) yum!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: thesunflower

                                  This sounds really good and simple. You could probably pull the pork in advance and keep it in a zip lock bag, too, so all you'd have to do is put sauce over and broil. How long do you broil? Thanks.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    i just watch it till it gets a little brown and crispy; i have also crisped it in a skillet, but the broiler works better for a larger crowd; and i like the idea of doing ahead and then pouring some of the mojo in the bag ... will def infuse more flavor; i like a lot of the mojo, but my sis likes it more in moderation... don't think you can go wrong; i would say the pork can take a lot of salt; i've not yet found the right amount of salt to put in while cooking, but you might find it listed out there in the google-sphere; i tend to undersalt as i know i can correct
                                    i also like some carmalized onions as a side too best

                                2. I think your biggest challenges are 1) the amount of food you need to prepare in a limited kitchen, and 2) the time restriction.

                                  How about individual meatloafs? Ina Garten has a great recipe you could manage start-to-finish in two hours, and you could probably get 12 of them on a single sheet pan in the oven. Served with smashed spuds and a green salad.

                                  I also second the chili soup idea - you can make a huge pot of it. Serve with grated cheese, chopped onions, sour cream, and chips on the side.

                                  Readily available ingredients on both counts. Comfort food. Good and plenty.

                                  1. Enchiladas...beef/pork/chicken served with Spanish rice and black beans or refried..top with sour cram and avocado slices.
                                    Guac dip to start..
                                    Cold Pacificos
                                    Super easy and can be assembled in minutes..

                                    Stuffed peppers
                                    Eggplant Parm
                                    Pork chops with scalloped pots
                                    Chicken Garam Masala over Jasmine rice...lots of mushrooms/onions/garlic
                                    Beef Stroganoff

                                    Have fun and shred the mountain!