In a big pickle...I have a crowd of 13 coming to my house next weekend. We are going to cheer on spouses racing in the Head of the Charles. So I spend a day out and come back to hungry spectators and rowers. Any good ideas for a fall inspired menu that is easy to prepare ahead of time? On my list so far is butternut squash soup, pumpkin pie........

  • Posted by: Geri
  • October 16, 2010


luvcookbooks October 18, 2010
Bone in short ribs for sure. Check out the Bones cookbook for details about the benefits of bones.
bella S. October 17, 2010
Buy a large pork butt/shoulder. Make carnitas, pulled pork, or porchetta. There are so many great recipes that take very little active time.A couple of good choices... There's Nigella Lawson's 24 Hour Roasted Pork. Start it the night before and wake up to an amazing aroma.
Or, make a paste using fresh sage and rosemary, garlic, lemon rind, lemon juice, orange rind, salt, and pepper. Rub into seams in the pork roast and all over its outside. Wrap and refigerate for a day or two.Cut veggies of choice into chunks. (potatoes, onions, fennel, carrots, whole garlic cloves, etc.) and place in a roasting pan, put the roast on a rack over the veggies. Pour some white wine or chicken stock in. Roast low & slow, checking every hour. Add wine or stock as needed. Veggies are amazing, cooking in all of those flavored pork drippings. Pork is pull apart tender. The possibilities with pork butt/shoulder are endless and absolutely delicious.

nutcakes October 17, 2010
I prefer the bone in for flavor in a braise.
Geri October 17, 2010
Ok, new pickle is I don't know what to choose! They all sound wonderful...I will post my chosen menu next week. Thanks so much!

Question..........I've seen quite a few stores that carry boneless short ribs....isn't it better if it's going to braise to have the bone in?
drbabs October 17, 2010
You have a great soup and dessert. How about salads and sandwiches? There are lots of salads on this site that you could make ahead of time, and you could get or make great bread--grilled cheese? Meat loaf sandwiches? All prepped ahead so you could quickly bring the meal together when you get home.
Kayb October 16, 2010
Add some chile and lime to the soup for a Southwestern flair. Make chili, and either buy at the Latino market or make tamales. Have all the makings for nachos, and throw them together when you get home. Margaritas, Tecate or Dos Equiis, chips, salsas, cheese dips, the soup and chili-topped tamales ought to be a great warming meal for everyone. Finish it off with Tres Leches cake!
Dora C. October 16, 2010
Ham. Easily cooked off in the morning, a nice mustard, brown sugar and clove glaze. Swell at room temp and a really easy way to satisfy a large crowd. Not to mention it goes well with butternut soup and pumpkin pie :)
iuzzini October 16, 2010
the short ribs sound great! make them over smashed potatoes or polenta. Mmmm. Roasted brussel sprouts on the side. Love this. :)
tinarina October 16, 2010
How about short ribs? They're actually better prepared ahead. You could do a classic recipe, like short ribs braised in red wine, or something with Asian flavors. Add a starch and a salad and you're done.
mrslarkin October 16, 2010
Ditto on the stew and chili bar ideas. These would work well in a crock pot, if you've got one. Or you can always grab 2 or 3 rotisserie chickens from the market or Costco. They are great when you're in a time crunch. Get fall salad fixings (like arugula, red onion, apple, pecans, gorgonzola, etc.) and throw together at last minute. And lots o beer for celebrating!
healthierkitchen October 16, 2010
I would probably suggest chili that you can make ahead with lots of bowls of toppings - onions, scallions, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, etc, some really good bread or corn bread, and a good fall beer. Not sure that works as a second course to butternut squash soup though.
Sadassa_Ulna October 16, 2010
How long will you be out and how do you feel about leaving your oven on while you're gone? Some kind of stew or roast that can cook on low heat for a few hours might work [I made beef bourguignon for 12 a few weeks ago and let it cook while we were out at a movie; I added some peeled potatoes as soon as we came in and let them cook for 25 minutes while we had drinks.But I would probably not serve soup and then stew . . .] The house smelled incredible when we walked in. Crusty bread and a green salad, some cheese and apple pie. Red wine. It was simple and very yum! I follow Joy of Cooking's Beef Bourg and more than double it (2.5x it) using 5 pounds cubed round roast, 2 large onions, lots of garlic, 2 tsp. ground thyme, 2 bay leaves, 4 pounds potatoes and one 1.5 liter of Gallo burgundy (inexpensive). I sauteed the onion in butter and bacon fat although the recipe calls for salt pork.
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