Hearty Dinners & Drinks For Your Group After The Slopes

Hearty Dinners & Drinks For Your Group After The Slopes

The best part about winter is being able to get away for a week or long weekend and enjoy fresh powder on the slopes. Grab your skis or snowboard and head to the mountains for an exhilarating ski vacation in the great outdoors!

Whether or not you are planning on hitting the slopes yourself, a day in the mountain air usually leads to your group being famished at night. These hearty meals and toasty drinks are a great way to refresh and relax in your cozy vacation rental cabin. Delight friends and family with these easy to make recipes that are sure to please your active crowd.

*Disclaimer: Some of these involve the use of a crockpot. If you can’t bring one along, ask your Property Manager to secure one for you.

Dinner Recipes Designed for your Ski Trip

Slow Cooker Beef Tips

These beef tips take minutes to assemble. Just cook on low in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours and return from the slopes to a hearty homecooked meal. Serve over mash potatoes or rice with your favorite salad or vegetable.

Serving Size: 8                     Prep Time: 20 Minutes                    Cook Time: 6-8 hours low

  • 3 lbs Top Sirloin Steak cubed
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 1 10.5 oz can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 cup diced Onion
  • 1 tbsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp dry Thyme
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt -like Lawry’s, divided
  • 2 tbsps Cooking Oil




  • Cut Steak into 1-inch cubes
  • Heat a large skillet with oil and brown meat using half the Lawry’s seasoning
  • Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot
  • Mix in the stew meat
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours

Rigatoni Alla Nonno

The unique and memorable flavors of Italy can be found in Grandpa’s Rigatoni. A base of pork, carrots and onions combined with a (jarred) red sauce makes a sweet palette-satisfying dish. The best part? After preparation, it only needs 35 minutes to simmer. Prepare a quick hot pasta that everyone will love.

Serving Size: 6                     Prep Time: 15 Minutes                    Cook Time: 35-45 mins

  • 16 oz box Rigatoni
  • 2 1/2 lbs boneless Pork Loin Chops
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 medium white or yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 16 oz can/jar of your favorite meatless red sauce (We like Huntz 4 Cheese Sauce)
  • Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Slice the pork loin into thin bite-size strips
  • Heat a large skillet or saucepan with a liberal amount of olive oil
  • Add the pork to the pan and sprinkle with about 1/2 Tbsp of Italian Seasoning
  • Cook until mostly white (about 5 minutes) turning pieces with a fork as you go
  • Remove pork from the pan
  • Add onion, carrots and minced garlic to the pan
  • Cook for 4 minutes until onion starts to get opaque
  • Add pork back to the pan
  • Add the sauce and stir
  • Simmer on low for 35-45 minutes
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions
  • Sprinkle with fresh parmesan right before serving



Don’t Forget Hot Drinks to Help you Warm-up and Celebrate your Ski Vacation With Family and Friends

Hot Toddy

Guaranteed to Warm you Up

  • 1 oz Bourbon
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 cup boiling Water
  • Sip slowly and enjoy

Irish Coffee

A Classic Pick-Me-Up Before or After the Slopes

  • 2 parts Irish Whiskey
  • 4 parts black Coffee
  • Sugar or Cream to taste
  • PRO TIP: Use Bailey’s instead of cream for extra pizazz

Texas-Style Chili

What’s winter without Chili? The original dish most likely emerged in the Mexico/Southwest Texas region. There are so many variations but we like this one because it’s full of flavor and easy to make. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for your crowd.

Serving Size: 4                    Prep Time: 10 Minutes                    Cook Time:40 mins


  • 1 lb ground Beef or Turkey
  • Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 yellow Onion, chopped
  • Diced green Pepper
  • 1 14 oz can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15 oz can Kidney Beans, undrained
  • 1 package Chili Seasoning -like McCormick’s or your choice



Suggested Toppings:

  • Chopped red Onion
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Jalepeno slices
  • Oyster Crackers or other




  • Gently heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot
  • Sauté chopped onions and pepper over media heat until the onions are translucent
  • Add and brown ground beef or turkey and cook through
  • Remove from heat and drain excess fat
  • Add undrained diced tomatoes and kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • Add chili seasoning, stir thoroughly and bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally



One-Dish Ham & Scalloped Potatoes

For the Northerners and Brittish in your crowd, Ham & Scalloped potatoes is a winter staple. Thought to have origins in England, this hearty and one-dish meal sticks to your bones when you need it to the most.

Serving Size: 8                   Prep Time: 20 Minutes                    Cook Time: 1 hour 15 mins


  • 2 cups diced cured Ham
  • 8 medium Russet Potatoes (about 6 cups)
  • 1/2 pt. Whipping Cream
  • 1 cup grated American or cheddar cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Parsley



  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Grease a 2 1/2 quart baking dish
  • Scrub the potatoes and slice into 1/4 inch rounds
  • Layer half the potatoes in the bottom of the pan
  • Sprinkle with salt & pepper
  • Top with half of the ham
  • Add 1/4 pint whipping cream
  • Add 1/2 cup cheese
  • Repeat with remaining ingredients
  • Bake for 60 minutes covered in foil
  • Remove foil and cook until Potatoes are tender
  • Garnish with parsley

Best Ever Baked Chicken Dinner

This quickly became a household favorite as soon as we tried it. Never worry again about your chicken not staying moist and flavorful while still maintaining perfectly seasoned and crispy skin.

Serving Size: 8                     Prep Time: 20 Minutes                    Cook Time: 1 hr 30-45 mins


  • 1 5-6 lb roasting Chicken
  • 2 Lemons halved, one for garnish
  • 1 bunch fresh Thyme, 10 additional sprigs for garnish
  • 5 whole cloves Garlic, peeled but not cut
  • Kosher Salt
  • Garlic Seasoning Himalyan Pink Salt
  • Freshly ground Pepper
  • 1 large Onion, sliced thick
  • 5 Carrots cut in 1 1/2 inch sticks
  • 2 – 3 cupes Red Potatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp melted Butter
  • Olive Oil




  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  • Rinse the chicken in cold water, remove giblets and pat dry with a paper towel
  • In a small bowl, generously mix 2 parts garlic seasoning salt with 1 part each salt and pepper
  • Liberally apply to the outside skin of the chicken
  • With a brush or a spoon, apply the melted butter to the outside of the chicken, adding additional spice mixture if there is run off
  • Stuff the cavity with one half of the lemon followed by the bunch of thyme and garlic cloves, Plug the other opening with the remaining lemon half, rind out
  • Place the onions, carrots and potatoes in the bottom of a large baking dish
  • Sprinkle the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Place thecChicken on top of the vegetable and cook uncovered for 1/1/2 hours or until the juice runs clear when cut between the thigh and leg
  • Additional Winter Drinks to Serve to a Group

    Hot Apple Cider

    The Taste of Autumn in One Sip

    • Fill a cup 3/4 of the way with heated Apple Cider
    • 1 shot Whiskey or Fireball
    • A few drops of Lemon Juice
    • sliced apples and Cinnamon sticks for garnish
    • Optional: Drizzle with Caramel
    • PRO TIP: For large groups or parties, heat wet ingredients, except for alcohol, in a crockpot or stove
    • Add alcohol to taste

    A+ Martini

     Not a hot drink but still perfect for winter

    • 2.5 oz Hendrick’s or Bombay Gin
    • 2 oz Aperol
    • .5 oz simple syrup
    • 4-5 drops of Lemon Juice
    • 2-3 dashes of Bitters
    • Best shaken over ice and served in a martini glass

    Vacation Meal Planning Made Easy

    Vacation Meal Planning Made Easy

    You’ve found the perfect Airbnb and now it’s time to start vacation planning. Isn’t it true that part of the lure of staying at a vacation rental home is so you can have a kitchen with basic cooking essentials at your fingertips?

    While it’s hard to find recipes with minimal spices, cooking oils and ingredients that you can reuse they’re all keys to successful vacation meal planning. If you’re traveling with a group these meals take in account different taste buds, picky eaters and range from sweet and delectable to chock full of vegetables and healthy.

    Package up leftovers for grab and go meals and snacks throughout the week . Use our printable vacation meal planning guide to help get you organized before you go.

    Day One: A relaxing Vacation Arrival!


    Combat fast food and airport food with veggies and hummus or dip, charcuterie board and your favorite drink. The first night is all about relaxing. With kids in tow easy to make Annie’s Organic Mac-n-Cheese is a hassle-free dependable option. Serve with the fruit or vegetable that you know they will eat. Think comfort foods and don’t get hung up if that means PB&J. After a long day of travel, you want your kids to sleep and this is not the time to introduce new foods after a day of traveling excitement.

    Day Two: Includes the most cooking -relax the rest of the week!


    Egg Strata and/or French Toast casserole. Prepare the night before or that morning. Making this early in your stay means that there will most likely be leftovers to serve throughout the week.

    Cheese, Bacon & Vegetable Strata Recipe

    A tried and true crowd-pleaser, this easy Strata is best prepared the night before.

    PREP TIME: 15 minutes

    COOK TIME: 1 hr


    • 12 thick slices of White Bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • ¼ cup crumbled cooked Bacon 
    • 2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
    • 1 ½ cups chopped fresh Mushrooms
    • 12 Eggs
    • 2 ½ cups Half-and-Half
    • Optional – 1/4 moderate sautéed chopped Onion and/or chopped Green Peppers


    •  Toss cubed Bread with Bacon, Cheese, Mushrooms (sautéed Onions and Green Pepper if desired), and pour into a 9×13” baking pan
    • Whisk together Eggs, Half-and-Half, and Mustard until smooth, then pour evenly over cubed bread 
    • Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight
    • Preheat oven to 350 
    • Remove plastic wrap from the baking dish, and bake Strata in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and eggs are set, about an hour 
    • Let stand for 10 minutes before serving

    Day Two


    Another breakfast favorite, especially for the kids, this easy French Toast Casserole Recipe only takes minutes to assemble. The pecans and drizzled topping puts it in a league of its own.

    French Toast Casserole Recipe

    Prepare the night before or in the morning and bake right away.

    PREP TIME: 10 minutes

    COOK TIME: 35-45 minutes


    • 1 large loaf good-quality French or Sourdough Bread, leave the crusts on for extra crunch
    • 1/2 cup (45g) Chopped Pecans 
    • 5 large Eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
    • 1/4 cup (50g) Granulated Sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon Salt


    • 4 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted
    • 3 tablespoons (40g) Dark Brown Sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
    • Pinch of Salt


    • Lightly grease a 2 or 3-quart baking dish
    • Slice or tear the Bread into 1-inch cubes
    • Layer Bread and Pecans until the Bread is all in the dish
    • In a separate bowl, whisk together the Eggs, Milk, Sugar and ½ teaspoon of Cinnamon, pour this mixture over the Bread
    • In another bowl mix the topping: melted Butter, Brown Sugar, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon and a pinch of Salt
    • Drizzle the Bread mix with the topping right before it goes in the oven
    • Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven fo 35-45 minutes
    • Serve with Maple Syrup

    Day Two


    A variety of delicious sandwiches will fuel you and your active group during the week. Again making them ahead will free up time for you later, and help you to save money and calories when you opt for one of these over sweets or take out for a late-night snack.

    Chicken Salad on Sweet Hawaiian Buns

    Light but flavorful, we’ve never met one we haven’t liked.

    PREP TIME:5- 10 minutes


    • 1.5 lbs shredded Chicken 
    • 8-10 Hawaiian Buns -or similar
    • Cilantro -chopped, 1 handful
    • 1 cup Mayonnaise
    • ½ cup Shredded Cheese
    • Salt & Pepper -to taste
    • Optional: chopped Red Onion or Jalapeno


    • For a really fast version use an already cooked Rotisserie Chicken from the grocery store


    • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, sprinkle with Salt & Pepper and then spoon onto Buns
    • Package together or in individual portions and store in the fridge until serving
      • *Optional: Spread with Avocado slices just before serving

      Day Two


      A take on the classic Italian hoagie, with fresh ingredients and a little  bit of red pepper zest.

      Sweet & Sassy Italian Hoagies

      Wrap these tight in seran wrap after assembly to lock in the flavor.

      PREP TIME: 10 minutes


      • 6-8 rolls or Sub bread
      • 1 pound each -A mix of Italian lunch meats: choose 2 from Salami, Ham, Capicola, Prosciutto, Mortadella, Pepperoni
      • 1 pound mild Yellow Cheese such as Mozzarella or Provolone 
      • 1 (16 oz) jar of Roasted Red Peppers
      • 2 cups shredded Lettuce
      • 2 Beefsteak Tomatoes
      • Vinaigrette – we like 
        Beano’s Original Submarine Dressing, 8.0 FL OZ


      • Spread the bottom face of the sub bread with Roasted Red Peppers
      • On the top, generously add the Italian Vinegerate
      • On the Pepper side, assemble first meat, then cheese, followed by vegetables
      • Wrap subs tightly in saran wrap and refridgerate until serving

      Day Two


      Prepare in the morning and then leave in the crock pot while you explore fun activities during the day.

      Cheryl’s Southern Pork

      Expect leftovers of this delightfully simple yet delicious pork to carry over for lunch the next day.

      PREP TIME: 10 minutes

      COOK TIME: 6-8 hours on high, 4 on low


      • 8-10 lbs pork shoulder
      • Salt
      • Pepper
      • Cumin
      • Paprika Pepper
      • Smoked Paprika (mostly) 
      • Water


      • Mix a generous portion of spices into a bowl to create the dry rub
      • Lay the raw Pork on a clean surface or parchment paper and massage the dry rub onto the meat evenly
      • Place meat into a large crockpot
      • Add 1 cup water
      • Cook on low for 6-8 hours
      • The meat will be white and easily shreddable when it’s done
      • Serve on Corn or Flour Tortillas with Cheese, leftover Cilantro and diced Onion

      Day Three: Eat what’s already been prepared and explore!


      Leftovers from the day before. Fruit, Bagel and Cereal option. Dry cereal is always easy to bag up for snacks throughout the day to fuel your adventures.


      Combine leftover Pork from the night before with BBQ sauce. Serve on a bun with Chips and Fruit.


      Out for John’s Birthday

      Day Four: Enduldge in some local tastes!


      Out at the local Cafe.


      Grab and go pre-made Chicken Salad and Italian Hoagie Sandwiches.

      Day Four


       Always a crowd-pleaser, these Chipotle-like Burrito Bowls only take 35 minutes to make and everyone can build their own.

      Steak & Chicken Burrito Bowls

      Anticipate happy bellies all around the dinner table. Serves 10. Reduce the amount of meat for smaller crowds.

      PREP TIME: 15 minutes

      COOK TIME: 20 minutes


      • 3-4 bounds cubed Chicken
      • 3-4 pounds cubed Sirloin Steak
      • 2 (8 oz) packages of Frontera Classic Fajita Skillet Sauce
      • 2 (8 oz) packages of Frontera Key Lime Shrimp Taco Skillet Sauce (goes great with Chicken too)
      • 1 large (16 oz) can of Black or Pinto Beans
      • 4 – 6 cups Brown Rice or White Rice
      • Lettuce
      • Shredded Cheese
      • Cilantro
      • Onion
      • Avocado
      • Tomato
      • Sour Cream


      • Heat two large skillets and grease with oil or butter
      • Add Chicken and Steak -don’t mix meat, one in each
      • Cook through turning so all sides are evenly cooked
      • Add the sauces and let simmer for 10 – 15 minutes
      • Meanwhile, cook the Rice and Beans
      • Chop Tomatoes, Onion and Cilantro
      • Arrange all toppings along the counter
      • Layer bowls with Rice, Beans, Meat and individual topping choices

      Serving: Everyone gets a bowl and can go down the line and assemble their own, in true Chipotle-style.

      Day Five: make it easy and reuse ingredients!


      Combine remaining Eggs with Milk, Salt and Pepper. Whisk together and slowly cook scrambled Eggs over medium-low heat. Throw in any leftover Lunch or cooked Meat, Veggies and Cheese for a hearty Scrambler.


      At the Festival


      Day Five


      Pasta with Marinara, a White Sauce option and Meatballs.

      Classic Marinara & White Sauce With Meat Balls

      For a diverse crowd, you can appeal to vegetarians, Italian lovers and those who can’t do the red sauce. Again this is along the lines of build your own so anyone who’s not happy can literally go sit in a snowbank.

      Start with the meatballs and while they are baking make the Pasta and Sauces.

      MEATBALLS – Makes 25 to 30

      PREP TIME: 15 minutes

      COOK TIME: 25 minutes, turning once halfway through

      INGREDIENTS: These are best and most tender if made with a meat mix that includes ground Veal. If that’s against your constitution or hard to find, make your own breadcrumbs or add Ricotta cheese to retain flavor and tenderness in each bite.

        • 1.5 lbs ground Beef 80/20
        • 1 lb ground Mild Italian Sausage (pork)
        • 1 lb ground Veal OR Homemade Breadcrumbs
        • 2 Eggs
        • 1 tbsp Italian Seasoning
        • ¼ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
        • Dry Italian bread crumbs (if using Veal)
        • *Add 1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese to replace the Veal
        • 1/2 – 1 cup Flour to Coat
        • Olive Oil


      • Combine all ingredients with the exception of the Flour and Olive Oil in a large bowl
      • Using your hands, generously mix together ensuring all ingredients are spread throughout
      • Roll into 2 bite-size round balls
      • On a flat surface or plate, sprinkle the Flour
      • Roll each Meatball in the Flour so all sides are coated
      • Generously coat two baking dishes with Olive Oil
      • Place the Meatballs in the dishes, then bake at 350 for 25 minutes, turning halfway through

      PASTA: Cook 2 lbs Pasta of your choice in a large pot on the back burner while you prepare the sauces.

      MARINARA SAUCE – Makes 10 cups

      PREP TIME: 10 minutes

      COOK TIME: 30 minutes


        • 12 tbsp Olive Oil
        • ½ cup Butter
        • 6 large Garlic Cloves, mashed
        • 1 tsp Parsley
        • 1 tsp Salt
        • 1 tsp Pepper
        • 12 cups -6 1 lbs cans Peeled Plum Tomatoes
        • 2 tbsp dried Oregano
        • 4 heaping tbsp Tomato Paste


        • Heat Oil and Butter in a large saucepan
        • Chop Garlic and Parsley together and add to the pan
        • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes
        • Drain the Tomatoes and chop the solids
        • Add Tomatoes and Oregano to the pan
        • Cook slowly over low heat for 30 minutes

      WHITE SAUCE – Serves 6

      PREP TIME: 5 minutes

      COOK TIME: 20 minutes


      • 5 tbsp Butter
      • 3 cloves Fresh Garlic -minced or 2 tsp prepared
      • 3 tbsp Flour
      • 1 cup Chicken Broth
      • 1 cup Milk
      • 1/2 cup shredded Mozarella Cheese
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
      • Salt and Pepper to taste


      • Melt Butter in a saucepan over medium heat
      • Add the Garlic, cook for one minute
      • Add Flour, cook for another minute while stirring occasionally
      • Add the Milk and Broth to make a rue, stirring constantly
      • Cook until sauce thickens
      • Add the Cheeses and Salt and Pepper
      • Serve immediately or set the burner to low, stirring often if waiting for the Meatballs or Marinara to cook

      Day Six: Combine simple, fun & healthy!


      Pastries & donuts from the local bakery.


      Day Six


      Meatball Bombers

      Meatball Bombers

      Using remaining Meatballs from the night before, these are easy to prepare on the fly and throw in the oven.

      PREP TIME: 5 minutes

      COOK TIME: 15-20 minutes, until meat is heated through and cheese melts


      • 1-2 loaves of Italian or French Bread, depending on how many you are feeding
      • Mozarella Cheese -remaining from precious recipes
      • Meatballs & Marinara from the night before


      • Slice the loaves of bread in half and then cut into individual sandwich portions
      • Add 3-4 Meatballs to each
      • Cover with Mozarella Cheese 
      • *For a saltier flavor additionally sprinkle with remaining Parmesan
      • Bake in the oven at 350 until heated up and the cheese is melted

      Day Six:


      Healthy option. If you’re like us, by day six you’re tired of eating out and crave some fresh food and vegetables to get you through vacation bloat.

      Salmon Quinoa Bowls 

      Healthy and flavorful, these easily prepared bowls combine robust flavor with your choice of vegetables. Serves 6

      PREP TIME: 15 minutes

      COOK TIME: 35-45 minutes


      • A generous piece of salmon, 1.5 to 2 lbs, about .25 lbs for each person in your group
      • 2 cups Tri-Colored Quinoa -follow instructions on the package
      • 4 cups Brown Rice -follow instructions on the package
      • Sauce:
        • 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
        • 3 tbsp Rice Vinegar
        • 3 tbsps Honey
        • 3 cloves Garlic -minced
        • 2 tbs fresh Ginger
        • 1/4 tsp crushed Red Pepper flakes
      • 2 tbsps Olive Oil
      • 24 ounces mixed veggies of your choice – we like Kale, Onion, Red Pepper, Mushrooms, Snap Peas and Water Chestnuts
      • 4 Scallions
      • 2 tsp Lemon Juice



      • Cook the Quinoa and Rice according to the package directions
      • Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce
      • Prepare the Salmon by rinsing it in cold water, then pat dry with a paper towel
      • Sprinkle the Salmon with Salt, Pepper and Lemon Juice to taste
      • Add the Salmon to a coated shallow baking pan
      • Pour 2/3 of the sauce mixture over the Salmon
      • Place in oven, preheated to 375 degrees
      • Cook 30-45 minutes until the top is flaky and the middle retains some pink
      • Heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp Olive Oil (add a bit of Peanut Oil if you have it on hand)
      • Add the vegetables, including scallions
      • Saute until crisp and tender, about 8-10 minutes turning often
      • Sprinkle with Soy Sauce to taste
      • Heat the remaining sauce mixture on the stove or microwave and serve alongside Salmon
      • *Remove the skin from the Salmon before serving
      • Layer in bowls and enjoy!

      Day Seven: Enduldge in leftovers all day!

      Leftovers all day long. If this means your five-year-old is eating Pasta for breakfast, let him. You have enough to do with packing and making the checkout time. Conserve on travel snacks by bagging up leftovers and taking them on your journey home.

      Shop Now

      Spend your well-earned vacation with loved ones rather than at the grocery store. We will shope and stock your vacation rental home prior to your arrival.

      Travel Thoughtfully! Order groceries ahead.

      Vacation meal planning is not always easy but it’s a lot less stressful if you plan in advance. Lucky for today’s travelers, the option of staying at a vacation rental home over a hotel, gives you the option of dining in, catering to different taste buds and diets and overall relaxing in a true family or group fashion. Eat in to truly enjoy the ambiance of your ‘home away from home’.

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      Will Coronavirus Change The Way We Travel?

      Will Coronavirus Change The Way We Travel?

      One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to go into a new city and walk around alone. I usually pick a hotel or an Airbnb close to museums or other tourist zones. That way, I can walk to where I want and be safe. Having never lived in a metropolitan city, I soak in the feeling of anonymity and picture myself as a member of the bohemian community living there.


      A few summers ago in New York City, I had to climb the steps of a brownstone to make way for a huge group of people passing on the sidewalk. It was dusk in August and the heat and sun shimmering reflections had begun to die down. I felt awkward at first. What if the owner came out? As I began to peer down the road in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice, there was one three to four-story uniquely architected building after another. Yet somehow they all belonged together in harmony. That’s how NY has always felt for me. I breathed in and imagined I was the owner out on my porch on a lovely night.


      In the era of COVID, at least in 2020, those memories of densely populated cities are all that remain. Most people I know opted for driveable remote vacations this year. They rented homes to socially distance in. That’s if they went on vacation at all. Will we rethink the concept of going back to those busy places? 

      It seems that for many Airbnbs and VRBOs of the world, that would be OK.

      According to Tom Canton of AirDNA “In truth, vacation rentals are simply becoming the preferred lodging type in an ongoing era of social distancing, The amenities, the ability to cook, the ability to rent entire-home listings, the supply in remote locations, the availability of larger, 2+ bedroom properties that accommodate entire families — all this points towards vacation rentals rebounding, even given the current state of the world.” 

      .Let’s face it unless you are in the hotel business, that might not be a bad thing. 


      I’ve certainly regained an alignment with nature. We took one trip to the scenic southern Rockies and a few day trips to rivers and lakes in Wisconsin. There’s a sense of stoic calmness when you get off the grid. Many of us overworked, overstressed, always playing catch-up with time, family and kids had a moment to breathe. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an awful pandemic going on right now.  Though I ask, why would you go through life without (sometimes) trying to find the silver lining?


      That brings me to the ultimate joy we’ve found over the years in single-family accommodations. Relatives and friends, I love you but sometimes a family just needs a space to chill out in on their own. I don’t miss the buzzing lobbies or pools of screaming kids. Nope! It’s freeing to walk through the door of my very own short term vacation rental. I can eat when I want, breakfast in my underwear, if I so desire and at night, my husband, children and I can have the hot tub all to ourselves.            

      Now, this makes me sound very antisocial, I realize. I assure you I am not. It’s the excursions and the big meals that I want to host and share with you. Truth be told, most of the time, I volunteer to do the cooking. For me, sharing food and creating memories with friends and family are what vacations are made of. 


      Have you found any silver linings in family travel this year?


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      How to Maximize Your Vacation Travel and Love of Food

      How to Maximize Your Vacation Travel and Love of Food

      I guess you can say that I was born with it. At just four months old, my parents took me to a beachfront vacation rental and my wanderlust gene kicked in. As I ventured out onto my own, that wanderlust expanded to destinations around the globe. Wherever I went, I knew that no matter what, the place I was staying at had to feel like home.

       Hotels are fine for business travel, but for my personal travel, I’ve always preferred a home away from home. To me, that’s always meant a place where I could celebrate the trip with my entourage of friends or family and make our own dining memories.  And because I am passionate about creating that comfortable familiar experience, cooking and vacation meal planning is something that has always enhanced the travel bond experiences with my companions.  Dining out and experiencing the local cuisine is an adventure, but what really excites me is arranged dinner plans ”at home.” Homemade food and sharing experiences are what the best vacation memories are made of.

      Let’s be real, all good parties end up in the kitchen.

      To thoroughly enjoy every moment of your trip, thinking about meal planning in advance will help limit grocery shopping excursions so you can enjoy your much-needed vacation!  

      The following tips will take some of the stress off you and make vacation meal planning easier. 


      Know What Delights Your Fellow Travelers

      • Knowing the habits of your travel companions can help guide grocery planning. For example, some in your group may be early risers and want a hearty breakfast to get their day’s adventure underway.  Others want to sleep in late, have coffee and a quick bite and leisurely decide how their day will unfold.  
      • Also, it helps to know in advance about your companions’ dietary needs and preferences.  I always prefer to make a meal that will accommodate my entire group rather than serving a dish that some cannot eat. We want everyone to enjoy their vacation, right?

      Share the Experience of Vacation Meal Preparation

      • Ask your travel companions to volunteer to make a meal of their choice, shop and prep for an  evening happy hour and dinner experience.  We all know weather conditions, excursions and explorations can adjust the course of any traveler’s vacation day, but there is no reason you have to be responsible for every meal.  While “too many cooks in the kitchen” is true, group gatherings in the kitchen with one or two people at the helm makes it a fun and memorable experience.   Important Note: whoever cooks is relinquished from clean-up duty!

      Take the Cooking Experience Outdoors


      • If your vacation rental includes a grill, designate the ”grill master” and cook dinner outside.  There are so many foods that grill well – chicken, beef, pork, seafood, veggies and fruits.   It takes the heat outside and lends to conversation, relaxation and minimizes clean up to enjoy a sunset.

      Bring Local Cuisine to Your Vacation Rental Kitchen


      • Take advantage of what is in season and available at your vacation destination. Whether it’s seafood, BBQ, ethnic flavors, or specific vegetables and fruit, it all adds to the experience and memory.  And the beauty of the internet is that you can explore in advance and find out what is in season.

      Dessert Is a Must on Vacation


      • Nothing says a “happy sigh” at the end of a vacation meal like the presence of dessert.  Delightful to all, dessert prep can be delegated as well.  From S’mores on the grill, a homemade specialty, a local pastry or a jaunt to an ice cream shop it adds to the end of a beautiful day. 

      Ensuring your love of Travel and Food should be a shared experience for all.  It’s taken me some time to realize that preparing vacation meals can also be a shared cooking experience with your travel companions.  Bon Appetit, happy travels and making new memories. 

      Should I Still Go On Vacation During Coronavirus?

      Should I Still Go On Vacation During Coronavirus?

      In Life, As In Travel There Are No Guarantees

      There was a time not too long ago when travel was about adventure and not knowing exactly what was around the corner added to the excitement. Since the spread of COVID-19, times have drastically changed. Now, if we plan to travel, we want to know exactly what we can expect, more than ever before. You may be asking,

      Should I Cancel My Summer Travel Plans Due To Coronavirus?


      The CDC updates travel guidelines every Monday at noon. 

      While some states are beginning to ease stay at home restrictions as early as May 1, others are under extended orders and are asking for visitors to suspend travel plans for the foreseeable future. In areas where restrictions are being lifted, you could expect to be able to travel by mid to the end of May. But just because you can travel, should you?


      The CDC cautions to not travel if you have the following conditions:

      • Are sick or plan to travel with someone who is sick
      • If you or your loved ones are at higher risk for severe illness

      They also caution to always check the state or local health department of the destination you wish to travel to for local policies and recommendations.


      Eliminate Risk While Getting There  

      We’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of handwashing and social distancing since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Just because there is talk about opening up the economy, it doesn’t mean we can ease up on these practices. If you do plan to travel, take all the necessary precautions to protect you and your family.

      Air Travel During COVID-19


      If you are traveling by air, wear a mask. Practice hand washing often and run through a routine with your family before-hand of what that will look like. Will you wear gloves through security? That’s great but understand that the improper use of gloves may contribute to the spread 


      How will you sanitize things after they’ve been on the security belt? Where’s the closest bathroom for handwashing:


      • Before and after going through the security line
      • Before and after eating 


      Have plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes on hand. TSA has modified its size restrictions for hand sanitizer during this time. Avoid touching surfaces and then using your cell phone. Wipe down credit cards after each time you use them. Always, when in public, avoid touching your face.


      Be kind to the airline workers. Respect social distancing and remember that they too are on the front-lines.


      Driveable Vacations


      Driveable vacations may become the norm during these times. When stopping for gas, to eat or even stretch, remain socially distanced from those you come into contact with. Wear a disposable glove or cloth when pumping gas. Always wash hands or use sanitizer after touching any kind of keypad or kiosk. Remember to wipe down hard surfaces that are often touched after each stop. These include:


      • Door handles
      • Steering wheels
      • Radio or temperature dials
      • Seat belts
      • Cell phones that have been out of the car


      Occasionally open up the windows or a sun-roof for fresh air. If possible, pack a picnic rather than stopping for food at a commercial space.

      It’s About Two-Way Social Responsibility


      Remember that when you travel you are a guest of a community where residents live year-round. Any time someone from the ‘outside’ comes in, this local population becomes at greater risk of exposure. As a guest, it’s your ultimate responsibility to respect and follow the wishes of the location. Mary Calhoun, Mayor of the tourist town of Red River, New Mexico had this to stay to future travelers to her community.



      Hotels and Vacation Rental Home Management companies are stepping up their game when it comes to enhanced sanitation. Chad Mantz at Red River Real Estate has assured his guests that they are ‘leveraging expanded cleaning measures, including sanitizing high-touch surfaces and introducing bleach-based and hospital-grade cleaning solutions’ and this is being echoed industry-wide.


      Vacation rental homes especially offer extra protection with private entryways, outdoor spaces and no need to interact with other guests. You can further plan ahead and protect yourself by:

      • Ordering touch-free grocery services
      • Bringing your own sanitizers and wipes
      • Finding out ahead of time which restaurants are open for take-out and when
      • Supporting local businesses that rely on tourism
        • Order items for pick-up or buy a gift card for future use


      In short, no matter what you choose to do, we all need to be as socially and hygienically responsible as we can during the outbreak of COVID-19. 

      What to Cook During Covid-19 Isolation

      What to Cook During Covid-19 Isolation

      Running out of ideas of what to cook during coronavirus isolation? With one-third of the world under a mandated quarantine, you’re not alone. These healthy recipes include minimal fresh ingredients. Easily prepare healthy one-pot dishes designed to feed your family for more than one meal at a time.

      One Dish Healthy Mexican Casserole

      Prep Time: 10 minutes

      Cook Time: 30 minutes

      *Vegetarian or non-vegetarian option


      • 1 TBSP OLIVE OIL
      • 1 MEDIUM ONION
      • 1 JALAPENO or HATCH CHILES *optional
      • 1 14 OZ CAN BLACK BEANS
      • 1 14 OZ CAN DICED TOMATOES -we like fire-roasted
      •  1 1/2 TSPS GROUND CUMIN
      •  1/2 TSP SALT, 1/2 TSP PEPPER
      • CILANTRO *optional
      • LIME OR LIME JUICE *optional
      • AVACODO *optional
      • SOUR CREAM *optional


      Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

      Cook the rice according to package directions. Meanwhile, dice the onion, peppers and jalapeno or chiles. Heat a large skillet to medium and add the olive oil. Saute the onion and pepper mix for about 4 minutes until they begin to turn translucent. Add the chicken breasts* (skip if vegetarian) lime juice* and spice mix. Cook the chicken thoroughly and remove from the pan. Add the beans, rice, tomatoes, corn and cheese to the pan. Shred the chicken and return to the mixture in the pan. Transfer the ingredients into a greased casserole or baking dish. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese begins to bubble. It can be finished under the broiler if needed to get the bubbly cheese effect.

      Add toppings of your choice such as cilantro, avocado and sour cream.

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      Pesto Tortellini Salad

      We can get creative with this one as the only ingredients required are the tortellini and pesto. Other than that, what’s lurking in your fridge that can be added?

      Prep Time: 5 minutes

      Cook Time: 10-15 minutes


      *Double to stretch out for several meals or for a large family



      Add tortellini and enough water to cover them to a saucepan. Cook on high heat. Let the pan come to a rolling boil until the pasta is cooked. Drain. PRO TIP: the tortellini will float to the top when they are done. Rinse and add to a large bowl. Add pesto to taste and stir.

      Now for the fun part. Here are some things we’ve tried.

      Suggested add-ons:

      • BROCCOLI
      • ARUGULA
      • SHRIMP
      • TOMATOES


      Janie’s Soothing One-Pot Chicken Soup

      Just like Grandma used to make, this soothing chicken soup is perfect for a time like this. They don’t call it ‘chicken soup for the soul’ without reason.

      Prep Time: 15 minutes

      Cook Time: 3 hours


      • 1 CUP DICED CELERY PRO TIP: Use the inside leaves for additional nutrients & flavor.
      • 1 2-5 LB WHOLE CHICKEN
      • 3 BAY LEAVES
      • SALT & PEPPER
      • PARMESAN CHEESE *To add at the table, optional but highly recommended



      Thoroughly wash the inside and outside of the chicken. Cover it in salt & pepper. Fill a large pot with water and place the chicken in the pot. Dice the celery, onion and carrots and add them to the pot. Add seasoning, bay leaves and bullion cubes. Heat on high until boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove the chicken and let cool enough so you can shred it. Re-add shredded chicken and egg noodles. Turn heat to high and boil again until the noodles are cooked through. Serve with crusty bread and parmesan cheese.


      Mandarine Chicken Thighs

      I don’t know about you but we’ve seen a shortage of white meat at stores as of late. Don’t let that turn you off from chicken. There is a lot you can do with the flavor of chicken thighs.

      And just to be clear. You have two options here.

      1. Buy premade mango sauce

      2. Make your own

      We won’t judge. We promise!

      Prep Time: 20 minutes

      Cook Time: 20 minutes



      • 4-6 CHICKEN THIGHS
      • 1 MANGO
      • 2 TBSP SIRACHA
      • SALT -to taste


      Rinse the chicken thighs and pat down with a paper towel. Place them to the side. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend well. Put the thighs and marinade in an air-tight container or plastic bag. Let the items marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

      When you are ready to cook, fire up the barbie! Enjoy fresh air in a socially distanced well-ventilated space.

      Grill the chicken until a bit crispy on the outside and a safe internal temperature of over 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Enjoy!

      *Optional: Serve with Cilantro and we suggest it on top of your favorite rice.

      Pro Tip: Double the recipe for multiple meals. They are delicious the next day cold.


      Stay home and Stay Safe! Get your groceries delivered when you can.

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