“Hey mom! What’s for dinner?”
Do you ever feel like responding, “I don’t know. What do you think is for dinner?” I do.
For the most part, I enjoy cooking for my family. Just not big, elaborate meals after a ski day or while on a ski vacation.
Today, tips for planning ahead, saving money, eating well and being happy on a ski holiday.
Where You Stay Can Determine Where You Eat
If you’re staying in a hotel, you won’t be cooking.
But you will be happier, and so will your children, if you make dinner reservations before you arrive at the resort. Read restaurant reviews, pick your favorites and book ’em. Eliminate the wait on even the busiest weekends.
If you’re staying in a private home or condo with a kitchen, you will probably eat in for at least some of your meals.
These three tips will help you stay sane and avoid the martyrdom that comes from chopping onions while the rest of the family sips hot chocolate and watches ski movies.
1) Make a List. Before leaving home, gather recipes or save them online (condo cooking is good place to start). Make a shopping list. Pre-measure and bring spices with you.
Since you may not have a fully stocked kitchen, keep it simple. For simple, hearty, delicious meals that will satisfy everyone, we almost always turn to the Ski House Cookbook.
2) First You Shop. Shop the day of your arrival, if possible. Returning to a warm condo with hot chocolate, snacks and dinner ingredients at the ready is much more fun than grocery shopping at the end of a ski day.
Some condos and homes offer a service where you provide a list and someone will shop for you ahead of your arrival. This adds some expense, but is also very convenient.
3) The Indispensable Rice Cooker and Slow Cooker. This tip doesn’t work at all if you’re flying on holiday.
But if you’re driving and you have room, tuck a Crock Pot and/or rice cooker into your car. With these two handy appliances, you can assemble everything you’ll need for amazing dinners before eating breakfast. Turn on the cookers as you head out to ski. Come afternoon, your kitchen will smell divine and you’ll be your own hero.
Tips for Breakfast and Lunch
Breakfast is a meal you actually can prepare and enjoy in a hotel room.
Having ingredients on hand saves time and money and allows everyone to eat when they’re hungry (or to sleep in without missing a meal).
When we’re driving to a resort we bring coffee and oatmeal (and now our rice cooker which also cooks steel-cut oatmeal). Favorite toppings include nuts, chocolate chips and dried fruit, all of which can double as snacks. Milk, cream and yogurt can be purchased upon arrival and breakfast is done.
If you’re flying, pick up these same items, or other family favorites, at the market when you arrive. Borrow bowls, plates, flatware and napkins from the hotel, or bring items from home.
Lunch is trickier. If you’re skiing, you’ll likely eat on the mountain, which means a restaurant or packing your own food.
If you go the bring-your-own-food route, consider sandwiches and quesadillas assembled in the morning and packed in plastic bags from home, apples and the aforementioned nuts, chocolate chips and dried fruit. I’ve actually written quite a bit about “ski snacks,” so for more ideas look here.
Picnic tables can usually be found near lodges and at viewpoints along trails. If it’s a cold day, ask about “brown bag” areas where you can eat your food without making a purchase.
Just remember to drink plenty of water and don’t skip lunch. Hydration and a midday meal are essential for family ski fun.
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