Answer this question: When my family comes home from a day of skiing, we are?
a) Happy b) Hungry c) Tired or d) All of above.
At my house, the answer is all of the above and usually in that order. When we’re on a ski vacation, we get happier, hungrier and more tired with each consecutive day. As the mom, I have to answer this question as well: “Mom, I’m hungry. What’s for dinner?”
While we enjoy dining out as much as the next family, eating at a restaurant every night of a ski vacation can be a drag and uber-expensive. Especially during busy school vacation times, restaurants are often booked or have long waits. And while your five year-old may be game the first night, by night three, he’s asleep in your lap before the entrees arrive.
If you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll be eating out and my best advice is to make reservations for the coming week as soon as you arrive. But if you’ve booked a condo, you’ve got a kitchen. Now all you need is food: Good, easy food.
We are skiers first and cooks second (or maybe third), so we don’t want to spend a lot of time prepping or make complicated dishes on vacation (or anytime). What we want is delicious hot food, that tastes as good as a restaurant, but doesn’t require us to leave our toasty warm condo. Here’s how to do it.
Plan ahead. Before you leave home plan out a couple of dinners. You probably won’t eat every meal in, so don’t over plan. Make a list of the ingredients you’ll need to buy. If you need spices, measure and bag them for each recipe. Then, bring these bags along. Don’t assume you’ll have anything more than a frying pan and saucepan with which to cook, so keep it simple.
Shop early. If you can, shop on your arrival day. Try not to wait until after a day of skiing. It is so much nicer to come in from the cold and have hot chocolate, adult beverages, snacks and your dinner ingredients waiting for you. You can relax, not rush.
Bring a crockpot. If you’re driving and you have room, bring a crockpot. Find slow cooker recipes on the internet, assemble everything in the morning, flip the switch and dinner is done. You’ll be your own hero.
Bring a cookbook. I am devoted to The Ski House Cookbook by Sarah Pinneo and Tina Anderson. Written by skiers for skiers, the recipes are rated green, blue and black and cover everything from breakfast to cocktails. The green and blue recipes (I’ve not ever tried a black — too lazy!) are quick and fresh, and taste as sophisticated as anything you’ll find in most restaurants. We take The Ski House Cookbook everywhere, winter and summer. Spaghetti carbonara or maybe blue-cheese stuffed burgers, anyone?