You may remember earlier this month when we introduced you to Ramona Creel. Like we mentioned, she’ll be sharing her Airstream experiences and organization tips with us to live the best Live Riveted lives we can! Today she’s sharing about her best tips for cooking a big meal in an Airstream! This comes just in time for Thanksgiving next week!
Do as much prep work as you can beforehand: Tasks like chopping vegetables, mashing taters, thawing/marinating meats, measuring out quantities of dry goods, whipping together sauces/gravies, mixing up (then freezing) soup stock or dough, even baking pies and getting your made-from-scratch stuffing ingredients together -- these don't have to wait until the last flipping minute. If you do a search on the web for "prepare-ahead ___(insert holiday or occasion or genre of food here)___ recipes," you'll find a ton of yummy dishes with steps that can be completed in advance. As long as what you're prepping isn't going to get gross by the time you put it in the oven, you're good to go -- and little tricks like blanching veggies then "shocking" them in iced lemon water will keep everything fresh and tasty. I know you don't have a ton of climate-controlled storage space, but do the best you can (even if it means clearing out most of the regular food from the fridge or setting up a temporary cooler so you have enough room to work). Of course, you can also buy pre-prepared foods -- chopped bagged veggies, seasoned meats, ready-to-go main/side dishes, but you'll spend a lot more. It’s all just a matter of which side you want to win in that age-old battle between time and money.
Choose quicker cooking methods: You can always make things easier by choosing quicker cooking methods like using your Crock-Pot, throwing a few things on the grill, and even nuking dinner in the microwave. Some folks think that not getting up at 3AM to roast your bird the way mom did is committing sacrilege -- but I say don't waste time and energy (mental, physical, or those tanks of LP gas) by overcooking the old-fashioned way when you don't have to.
Be reasonable: Be reasonable about what you can (and can't) offer guests when you're serving dinner in a trailer. While a 23-course meal may have been the norm at brick-and-mortar-house meals, it's less feasible in tighter surroundings. How about a reality check on the old menu, this year? Do you really need two dozen dishes on the table for it to feel like a holiday? Not so much! Especially when there are some really amazing combo recipes floating around out there on the interwebz (like turkey/green-bean/stuffing/gravy casserole and mixed cranberry/yam/potato mash) -- I promise you won't go to hell, even if you opt for a one-dish Thanksgiving-in-a-pan arrangement!