Leisure Cooking:
Recipes for the Cabin, Cottage or Condo

Story and Recipes by Terese Allen, Food Editor

Ah, vacation. You’ve arrived at the cottage, the bags are unpacked and a hammock beckons from a sun-drenched deck. You’ve got a whole week to watch sunsets, build sand castles, play Scrabble, read novels and just plain relax.

But wait. What about dinner? This is no time for fussy recipes and elaborate presentations. Then again, canned soup and instant cereal just can’t do justice to a glittering lake, the hooting of owls and that pine-fresh scent in the air. So keep it casual and keep it natural.

The recipes below feature the best of organic and seasonal ingredients in easy-to-assemble entrees, the kind that that don’t require exact measurements or fancy kitchen equipment to prepare. There’s a make-ahead buttermilk pancake and biscuit mix for linger-worthy breakfasts—just add basics like milk or eggs for a variety of morning favorites--and a few fun-loving snacks and desserts, too. Here are recipes that can help you make do when the cupboard is full of odds and ends and the grocery store is miles away. Some take advantage of ready-to-eat, shelf-stable edibles like Organic Prairie Beef Jerky and Organic Valley Single-Serve Lowfat Milk.

Whether you’re ensconced in a pool-side condo, a seaside cottage, a log cabin or a tent deep in the forest, you’ve got better things to do than sweat it at mealtime. Save that for the biking, hiking…and that hammock in the sun.


“Grill-Baked” Italian Sausage with Mushrooms, Fennel and Cherry Tomatoes

Zesty Organic Prairie Italian sausage links and organic vegetables are wrapped in foil and cooked on the grill or in the fire pit. How simple is that?

Pepperoni and Mushroom Pasta
Is it pizza or pasta night? Why not both? This casual bake dish features pizza toppings, tube-shaped pasta and Italian cheese in a throw-it-all-together casserole—a filling sure-hit after an active day of vacation.

Calico Baked Beans
Let this happy, nutritious combo (it’s flavored with lean and savory Organic Prairie beef jerky) bubble lazily in the oven while you hike a forest trail or play a few games of croquet.

Herbed Lake Perch
When the fish are jumping, keep the cast-iron skillet handy. Food critic and author Jerry Minnich shares his recipe for pan-fried fillets.

Sat-Upon Sandwich
A make-ahead layering of sliced deli meats, cheese and local veggies fresh from the roadside stand on crusty French bread. Wrap and compress the assembled loaf to blend the flavors and take it on the dingy for a picnic on the lake.

Smoky Beef Jerky and Cream Cheese Spread
Delicious on rye crackers during the cocktail hour. Cribbage, anyone?

Make-Ahead Buttermilk Mix for Pancakes, Waffles and Biscuits
Enjoy a languid morning around the breakfast table with pancakes, waffles or homemade biscuits hot from the oven.

A hearty, organic combo of potatoes and eggs with bacon, ham or the leftover hotdogs from last night’s grill supper.

Chocolate Milk Mingler
Blend wholesome chocolate milk with peanut butter, strawberries or any number of choices for a post-beachtime pick-me-up or a bedtime snack.

Banana Whipped Cream Pie
Too busy having fun to bake a dessert? Fill a pastry crust with sliced ripe bananas and top it with a mountain of real whipped cream. Easy as you-know-what.

On the Road, Fast-Food Free

from Melinda Hemmelgarn
Beyond the Plate

Packing Right

When you're on vacation, shortcuts are allowed—but you don’t have to shortchange your organic eating habits! Whether you’re heading for the cottage or cabin, or into the woods for a camping adventure, keep in mind these easy-to-pack, ready-to-eat edibles from Organic Valley and Organic Prairie.

The Goods

Stringles 1-oz cheese sticks
(Cheddar, Mozzarella, Colby Jack)

8oz Shelf-Stable Mini-Milks
(Lowfat Plain, Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry)

Organic Prairie Beef Jerky

Organic Prairie Deli Slices
•  Hardwood Smoked Ham
•  Roast Chicken Breast
•  Smoked Turkey Breast
•  Roast Turkey Breast
•  Roast Beef

And for Cooking:

•  Buttermilk Blend dry buttermilk
•  Nonfat Dry Milk
•  Pasteurized Egg Whites
•  Feta Crumbles
•  Shredded Parmesan

Happy Travels and bon appétit!

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