Cooking for my boys is one of my love languages and I’m always looking for some new recipes to prove my love. In addition to my husband, I have 4 perpetually hungry teen and pre-teen boys to feed and they love hearty meals – especially after a day on the slopes. When we come on a ski vacation, we prefer to grocery shop and prepare most of our evening meals in our condo and I need supper ideas to fill up those empty stomachs and hollow legs.
Our time-share condo kitchen is equipped in the most basic fashion: no slow cooker, and (I know – it’s almost like camping) no food processor. To make it to prime time in our condo, a recipe needs to be easy, delicious, and hearty to satisfy my crowd of boys. In addition, I don’t like to have a lot of waste at the end of our ski week so I won’t buy items that I won’t completely finish during our week. For example, my family won’t eat Dijon mustard. If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon Dijon, I have to pass it up because I don’t want to have an entire jar of Dijon go to waste. So with that in mind, I plunged into The Ski House Cookbook by Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo to find some new recipes that would work for us in our “Ski House".
The cookbook is divided into sections featuring breakfast, lunch, soups, après-ski snacks, pastas, fast food entrees, slow food entrees, salads and sides, desserts and beverages. Each recipe is graded in the familiar ski slope method of green – easy, blue – moderate, and black –difficult.
"Each recipe is graded in the familiar ski slope method of green – easy, blue – moderate, and black –difficult."
The first recipe that caught my eye was “Chunky Beef Stew” which is rated blue - moderate. The description proudly proclaims, “This recipe uses the oven as the slow cooker.” Lightbulb! I love cooking with a slow cooker and really miss having one when we are away from home. The unique thing about this recipe is that it keeps the veggies and stew separate until the last minute when they are served together in bowls. The veggies roast in the oven alongside the stew, and since they aren’t in the sauce, they stay firm and keep their texture rather than turning into mush. This recipe is relatively easy and the only comment from my boys was, “Next time make more!” The chunky beef stew could be easily accomplished in the limited rented condo kitchen and I predict will become one of my family’s favorites.
Another delicious recipe we tried was “Roasted Pork Loin with Cherry Balsamic Pan Sauce.” This recipe was rated green and listed in the fast food entrees. From start to finish this took me 1.5 hours to make without assistance but this included 30-40 minutes of downtime while the roast is in the oven. Coincidentally, this is just enough time to give those sore ski muscles a good soak in the hot tub. This recipe could also be done in the ski condo kitchen but I would pack a meat thermometer to ensure proper cooking temperature in an unfamiliar oven. The cherry balsamic pan sauce was such a delicious accompaniment to the sweet pork loin, but the next time I make this recipe, I will try substituting red wine for the balsamic vinegar in the reduction. Rather than wasting a bottle of the balsamic, substituting red wine would be a win-win because there won’t be any leftover ingredients and I get a dose of heart healthy anti-oxidants in my glass of red wine.
I tried several other recipes from this cookbook and my family enjoyed them all. Some met my criteria for the condo cooking and some did not but were excellent here at home in Austin. Honorable mentions to “Herbed Turkey Burgers,” “‘Twas The Night Before French Toast,” “Maple Glazed Bacon,” “Roasted Red Pepper, Feta and White Bean Dip” (yes my picky boys ate this) and “Winter Romaine Salad.”
Now, dear reader, as a reward to you for reading through this article, I must share with you arguably the best recipe in this book and perhaps the best I’ve tried in a long while. “Fabulously Fudgy Cocoa Brownies” is touted as a highly guarded secret family recipe that friends have begged the authors to share for years. This recipe is as simple as a boxed brownie mix but the end result is highly superior. These brownies are moist, chocolaty and impossible to resist. They are made in an 8” by 8” pan and in my house were gone in a flash. I will undoubtedly make these brownies again and again.
If you enjoy exploring new recipes and are looking for hearty meals this winter check out The Ski House Cookbook. If your ski condo has a food processor – invite me over – I’ll make some of these dishes for you!
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