Try these menu ideas on your next cottage vacation.

Terese Allen, food editor for Organic Valley, one of the nation’s premier producers of organic foodTerese Allen of Organic Valley Foods products, is a firm believer in the art of leisure cooking. In this vein, she has developed a collection of recipes for those special occasions when you are on vacation at the beach or in the mountains and would rather be spending your time biking, hiking or just laying on the sand than toiling away in the kitchen.
For her, complicated recipes and elaborate presentations are better left at home. Vacations, for her, are a time when kitchen duty is to be kept casual with meals that revolve around natural foods that are simple to prepare. Instead, her leisure recipes 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.
As might be expected, some employ the use of ready-to-eat shelf-stable Organic Valley products that are good to have on hand when the nearest grocery might be miles away. Others utilize make-ahead buttermilk pancake and biscuit mix that, with the addition of basics like milk or eggs, can be transformed into a variety of morning favorites or tasty snacks and desserts.
Some of these are certain to find a place on your table for your next beach vacation or weekend getaway.


“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.


Terese Allen writes about the pleasures and benefits of local foods, sustainable cooking, and culinary folklore. A former chef and the author of several books about heartland cuisine and culture, she has also been a food columnist for more than 16 years. 


Cookbooks from
Terese Allen

Cookbooks from Terese Allen
Ovens of Brittany
Cookbooks from Terese Allen
From Asparagus to Zuchini
Cookbook from Terese Allen
Bountiful Wisconsin

Click on the photos for information on how to order Terese Allen's cookbooks.

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