Nine of us sat around the table Sunday night, tired and hungry, as the husbands heaped generous portions of chicken parmesan and sausage lasagna onto their plates and thanked cooking with friends. It was two days of fantastic skiing in the Catskills, as we relaxed around the table, filling our bellies with a scrumptious homemade meal before our two and a half hour drive home.
Suzy and I knew that our ski weekend would be action packed and we were fully aware we’d have to take care of some exhausted and hungry children at the end-of-the day. So, we planned our breakfasts and dinners ahead of time, but still allowed for chili dogs, Belgian waffles and French fries on the mountain and a first night of pizza at a local parlor.
For breakfast, we enjoyed an assorted bread basket (in Suzy’s words)– featuring cranberry and banana breads that I had previously made with friends and frozen and sweet cinnamon topped, pumpkin muffins specially made by Suzy. Knowing that our 5 kids (ages 4-12) wouldn’t be able to sit through an aprÃ¨s-ski meal in a restaurant without falling asleep at the table, Suzy and I planned a cooking date the week before our getaway, specifically to make our end-of-day dinners. This turned out to be a real luxury, which saved us aggravation, money and time.
I made my slow simmered tomato sauce and breaded chicken cutlets ahead of time to use for the Chicken Parmesan and Suzy gathered all of the ingredients for the lasagna. In only an hour’s time one afternoon, we assembled a tray of lasagna and two dishes of chicken parmesan and froze them until our weekend away. The only thing we had to do for dinner this past weekend was to remember to bring it with us!
We even had the side dishes covered. The day before we left, I washed and cut romaine lettuce and stored it in a zip loc bag. I also made two loaves of No Knead bread to go with the meals. Suzy was in charge of the salad veggies that we’d toss in later.
I have to say, after a phenomenal day of skiing, it was incredible to return to the condo, with the heat on, fireplace roaring (ok, so it was gas) and only need to pre-heat the oven and pop in our dinners. There’s nothing like the aroma of a minimal effort, home cooked meal to make you feel like you’ve got everything under control!