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Super Excited! I Need Your Advice - Please!

Monday, July 09, 2012

I am so happy with all that is happening this month. Next week I am going to our place in Washington for a few weeks. We have a recreational property in a country club setting - tennis, swimming pools, golf, horse back riding, etc. In April we got a park model trailer (400 square feet) with a double loft with 2 queen sized beds for guests and a hide-a-bed for a few more. It's like a one bedroom house, so the loft makes a big difference.

My best friend and her husband will be there for my birthday on Tuesday and then stay for a few days. They love the mountains and are extreme hikers so they will be great exercise companions and we will do some exploring in the Mount Baker area.

July 27th family will arriving for their vacation. There will be about 10 of us for 9 days. I know they are looking forward to bike riding, walking along the ocean, tubing, swimming, golfing, paddle boats, canoeing, etc. With the active guests I will get lot of exercise!

Hubby and I both cook, but we have only been cooking for 2 so we are out of practice cooking for this many. Also we have never had this many people stay with us for this long.

We are in the country, no restaurants, so it will be home cooking. I need to plan a menu of delicious meals that can be prepared on a with a stove, BBQ, slower cooker or on a campfire. There will be 2 kids so we have to be a bit kid friendly too. Then I need a good shopping list.

I plan on putting the daily menu on the fridge so others can pitch in and help prepare veggies, set the table, etc.

This is our place in Washington.

Spark friends please give me your suggestions and recipes. Any other advice will be appreciated too!

Thanks for your help!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have to agree with Carol... the Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken is a big hit here. Super easy too!

    Love your place! I'll bet the loft makes a huge difference. That window in the front is awesome! Hope you all have a blast!

    Happy Birthday!
    2117 days ago
  • CAROLJ35
    Spark recipe for Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken is a winner with everyone who enters my door. (if you are making big batch, bake in oven)
    Cook up brown rice, have salad and meal is complete.

    Sounds like a wonderful time!!! ENJOY!!!
    2138 days ago
    Kids might like hot dogs cooked over the camp fire! You could get turkey hotdogs and it would be good for all with some great baked beans and cole slaw! It's been too many years since I camped in any fashion, so I'm afraid this is the best I can offer. Maybe veggie soup???? Slow cooker or shove or campfire (if you have the right pot)! Hope you have tons of fun!!! emoticon
    2139 days ago
  • AMANDA_A_725
    I would buy some deli meat (ham/turkey/roast beef - your choice) and some assorted cheeses. Then, buy some potato deli rolls (or something similar). You could make little sandwiches up a ahead of time and then put back in the original package. Great to grab on the go during the day/for lunches. Your park model looks adorable! What a great family event! I'm sure you'll be making lots of wonderful memories!
    Also, you could make taco meat ahead of time and then have a taco bar.
    2141 days ago
  • CHEEKY1000
    I love your park model! There are so many cute ones out there. The loft sounds like it's making all the difference. Woohoo!!

    I love the slowcooker suggestions (pulled pork in the slow cooker is a favorite of mine--I use a pork loin, much less fat). You can always boil/roast some hot dogs for the kids if there's a dish they don't like.
    2141 days ago
  • CANDOK1260
    i would go for the slow cook m ethod l spark as many recipes for them
    2143 days ago
    I don't cook but good luck and have fun!
    2143 days ago
    I use my slow cooker all the time. Venison chile, chicken, pot roast. Just toss it in with 2 cops water add fresh veggies on low in the AM and dinner is served in the PM!! Can't lose and very nutritious for you too!! Hugs, Moni
    2143 days ago
    The hubby and I just discovered a new delicious meal! Pot roast cooked in the crock pot with tomatoes and taco seasoning. Then you can make tacos out of the meat. It was SO good and if you use homemade taco seasoning and fresh tomatoes it doesn't contain hardly and sodium. It's definitely a meal for all ages. Btw, I love your place, it's so cute!
    2143 days ago
    I am assuming the stove has an oven? Pulled pork is easy and feeds a crowd. Buy a whole pork shoulder. Coat it with a rub of your choice set it on a bed of sliced onions, put more onions on top. Put it in the oven at night with a setting of 250 F. It cooks overnight (12 hours) In the morning, it easily shreds using 2 forks. Toss the onions and fat. You can reheat it in the slow cooker using your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve with cole slaw. It is really delicious.
    2144 days ago
    I like the slow cooker method. It free's you up for a day of adventure! There are some good ones at Spark recipes. I've made this one for BBQ pork before and even my grandkids like it!
    Serve with a salad and roasted corn.
    You can also substitute with boneless skinless chicken breast. I just used bottled (2cups)BBQ sauce-omitting the ketchup, Worcestershire, vinegar and brown sugar.
    Another one I like is:

    Lemon chicken. The only other thing I do is substitute broccoli for carrots.
    Have a Great time!!!
    2145 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/11/2012 8:51:44 AM
    Nice Park Model! I love the windows!
    2145 days ago
  • TANYA602
    Oh my gosh - you have so many great suggestions here! And your place sounds like it is amazing! Don't forget some corn on the cob
    2145 days ago
    What a great place to be able to stay. How about turkey hot dogs and fruit salad.
    2145 days ago
    With this many to cook for I would keep it simple of you could end up working yourself to death. I would grill chicken and would fix a pork tenderloin or two. You could always make chili or stew if it isn't too hot. And you can always buy a ham and slice it.
    2145 days ago
  • SIONED40
    It does sound like fun. Make spagetti with turkey meat instead of beef and add veggies to the sauce...it fools kids into eating more veggies than they realize. There are also better pastas out there now a days that taste like regular pasta but have a much lower effect on glycemic index. Also...make personal pizzas using flower tortillas. Get a bunch of fixing so everyone can make their own. Its just like a thin crust pizza and you can control the calories content much easier.
    2145 days ago
  • TMOORE073
    Sounds like a fun vacation! We do a lot of grilling in the summer! Chicken, veggies wrapped in tinfoil, corn on the cob on the grill is also delicious! We also do a lot of fresh fruit salads(low in calories) & tossed salads. Maybe fresh veggie trays with low cal dips everybody can enjoy! Fresh lemonade & fresh tea is also very good! I hope this helps & have a great time!
    2145 days ago
    Jealous! It sounds like tons of fun. You can try cooking light .com It has some good recipes and most recipes can be doubles really easily. Enchiladas done ahead. Taco bar. Hope it goes well. Plan plan plan emoticon
    2145 days ago
    Sounds like you're in for some good times with family and friends.Your vacation home is beautiful. I'm so jealous...we haven't been camping in ages and I'm dying to get back into it. My favorite is sitting around the campfire at night.

    I love the idea of having guests help with cooking a meal or two. That way everyone gets a break from cooking. I'm sure they won't mind...it's still a lot cheaper than going out for a meal. I would let the guys do the grilling (they love to hang around the grill gabbing and drinking beer), you could give them veggies to grill as well then you only have to do a side dish. Everyone is happy!

    Happy Birthday!
    2145 days ago
    hobo packets would be fun to do on the grill. I think originally you use hamburger(but could sub. turkey or chicken), cubed potatoes, carrots, onion. You could add whatever you wanted though. And, seasoning. You probably put in a dab of butter or oil with each packet. I put in an ice cube also..to make steam. Just mix all the veggies, seasoning, and meat together and then put a serving size in the middle of a sheet of foil then wrap up really well. Add the butter/oil before closing and the ice cube..if using. Toss on the grill. No mess involved since you can just toss away your used foil when you eat your packet. It's fun for kids also. I make one with salmon/cabbage/potato/carrot/onion with dill, salt, pepper added and a sliver of butter per packet with an ice cube. Good stuff. I add corn when I have it also.

    You could do a pork bbq roast in the crockpot. Use a lean cut and it's not bad at all.

    I'd pick up some sandwich making materials also. They're quick and easy and can feed a crowd for a couple/few days. I really enjoy the chicken lunchmeat from our deli. It's awesome with some provolone, tomato, romaine, onion, and a dab of the olive oil mayo blend. Had one for dinner last night.

    And, I agree with whoever suggested you let the guests buy and prepare dinner at least one night. They'll probably be really thankful to do it and would enjoy doing something nice for you with all you're doing for them. Plus, it would def. give you a break.
    2146 days ago
    Think of cooler recipes to use since it is summer and you might not want to have a lot of hot food---and with all the exercise you will be burning calories. Spaghetti is always good for a crowd---with different people you might want to do that twice---Maybe get a large turkey---then lots of meat to use in variety of recipes. Also doing a ham would also provide meat for sandwiches or adding to omelets. For breakfasts you might want to do pancakes or french toast if you have a big griddle to take. Have a great time!
    2146 days ago
    You've got lots of ideas already, but I would also add- invite your guests to help. Invite them to pick a night to do a meal. It would be fun and take the pressure off of you a little. They might have a favorite food or dish they like to make and will be happy to share it.
    2146 days ago
    slow cooker...grilling... emoticon
    2146 days ago
    You got some great ideas! I am smiling thinking of all the great memories you will be making.
    2146 days ago
  • MAGGIE101857
    Have a wonderful birthday! It's already been said, but I'll say it again:

    Vegetable kabobs, grilled fruit kabobs, and of course chicken kabobs!!
    Fresh veggie platters in the fridge for snacking
    Slow cooker recipes are always great!
    Quinoa is good, hot or cold - love it with edamame, craisins and low fat feta cheese mixed with balsamic or lime vinaigrette!

    Have a wonderful time! The place looks so nice!
    2146 days ago
    Super cute house--the vacation sounds wonderfull. Here are some SP slow cooker recipes in case you don't have them at your fingertips.




    2146 days ago
    Slow cooker will be your freind - big quanities and not alot of work!
    2146 days ago
    I would do a lot of grilling
    Cold salads with light dressing. Have fun and have a happy birthday.

    2146 days ago
    Happy birthday! Have a great time with your family. Share the load of the work and enjoy your company instead of worrying about it. Can't share much cooking advice, because cooking is one of the last things I do. In my family the men do the BBQ which takes some of the responsibility off the women. emoticon emoticon
    2146 days ago
    I'm off to a family reunion next week. It's of the camp out variety. Most of the cooking will be outdoors.

    Lots of salad, mostly greens and each person dresses their own.

    I'm taking Bratwurst in a variety of flavors. The local store owner makes his own and they are delicious. I am also cooking up some roasts before hand and slicing some and shredding others, cooling, bagging and then when we get there they are ready for sandwiches (the slices) or with barbecue sauce for sloppy joe type things.

    I like to do roasts frequently since they are such good leftovers --- you can use them for sandwiches, make hash, make soups, reheat them, etc. If you get rump roast or sirloin tip, or round, they are relatively lean. Also roasted or grilled chicken breasts cook up fairly quickly, can be seasoned in many ways, make great leftovers for a chef's salad. They can be served in one piece, or for quicker cooking, they can be cut into the strips that are "chicken tenders".

    My sister does do it yourself kebabs -- She fixes marinated meat, and various veggies and mushrooms in uniform sized chunks and then lets everyone assemble their own skewers and then they are grilled. Everybody can pick out what things they like. All of the stuff can be prepared ahead and just set out when it's time to grill.

    Stir fry is another thing that is a quick cook and all the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated.

    Any kind of recipe that calls for roasting or simmering will usually work out well in a crockpot.

    Make good use of the fresh veggies that are coming into season -- you should be able to get locally grown.

    I'm looking forward to having freshly picked Flathead cherries which should be ready just in time. I may even be on the picking crew.

    K.I.S.S. is a good thing to remember.

    And above all, have fun!!


    I hope this comment isn't too disjointed, I kind of hopped around from topic to topic...
    2146 days ago
    try a lot of the recipes from this blog - I've made several of these and they all come out beautifully.

    2146 days ago
    Sounds like you are in for a lot of fun and family time! That is awesome! I really miss that! Happy Birthday in advance!! Since my blood work showed that I could easily become a diabetic and I have had to change some things up, I use a lot of ground turkey breast in place of ground beef. It is very tasty and DH loves it too. I make a baked turkey spaghetti dish that DH loves and it makes a lot. Throw a nice salad with it and it is awesome. I use whole wheat spaghetti and of course ground turkey breast. I good the ground turkey and add some diced onions, onion powder and garlic powder and my choice of spaghetti sauce. I break up the spaghetti noodles usually into three pieces for each handful and cook it. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the meat and mix well. Put it in a baking dish and top with fat free chesses and bake for 30 min at 350. All of my kids and grandkids love it too. Hope you have a very enjoyable, active time with your friends and family.
    2146 days ago
    When we went to Yellowstone we did a lot of slow cooker recipes. Dear daughter loves "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook". Have fun. At least we will be in the same state.
    2146 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/9/2012 11:01:04 PM
    Brisket on the grill, chicken on the grill both with veggies or salads. What about a large ladagne that you just need to warm when you are ready at the end of the day.Then you can do hot dogs or burgers for the kiddos. I also agree with the person that said you should assign meals to each family unit and spread the wealth. That's how we do our reunions.
    2146 days ago
    Wow. This is super fun. Here are my few received that are EASY and feed A LOT.

    Cold Cous Cous
    2 boxes of cous cous - cook and thrown in fridge hours before ready to eat.

    Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, fresh parsley to taste, 2 whole tomatoes diced, feta cheese, 2 lemons squeezed and you are done. Its like taboli.

    A big pot of chilli is always fun if not too hot. You can do fritos and fresh diced onion as a topping.


    I would bbq 2-5 baby chickens with fajita seasoning. Cutt of meet and serve with all the fixing and mexican rice. I always make plain brown rice and cook in the rice cooker with 2 cups of salsa and you have spanish rice. very easy. YUM. Wish I was there.

    2146 days ago
    Some great ideas here. Have fun and have a great birthday!!!

    emoticon emoticon
    2146 days ago
  • SHARON10002

    Sloppy Joes cooked in a slow cooker are always good and can feed an army when necessary. I use 90% lean ground beef. I have a great recipe from my mom. It uses 3 pounds of ground beef and makes enough for many people. Send me a Spark Mail if you're interested.
    I posted a recipe for Orzo with Everything Salad. I love it and so does everyone I serve it too. Orzo is a small Greek pasta.
    Hope you have a WONDERFUL birthday and time with family and friends!
    2146 days ago
    When my big family gets together, we assembly a menu beforehand with each person (or family) planning a meal. Then this person is responsible for that meal. It really helps with the cooking load and doesn't let the host get burned out and everyone can enjoy everyone's company. Then you can shop ahead and get all the items.

    You can also have meatball sandwiches. Put frozen meatballs in a crockpot with Paul Newman's sockaroni sauce (yummy) and then put in hoagies. Not a low cal meal but you burned calories with all your exercise!!

    Have fun and enjoy your family!! Sounds like a wonderful time!!
    2146 days ago
    Happy Birthday .BBQ ,salad,veggies and dip.Frozen yogurt !
    2146 days ago

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2146 days ago
    I think your own advice about putting the menu on the fridge so everyone can help out is brilliant. Definitely use your barbecue - less mess and is always good. You are going to have a wonderful time with all those activities you have planned. Wish you could take me with you!!!
    Enjoy the holiday, and have a great birthday!
    2146 days ago
    Check in The Daily Spark. there was a blog by Chef Meg about cooking on a campfire. My go to is Spark People Recipe search, so that is my advice! Sounds like an awesome trip and so much to do! enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Happy Birthday too!
    2146 days ago
    2146 days ago
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