Recipes for a Ski Weekend and Bootstraps’ Best Chef Competition!

I have a lot of friends who love to ski, and although I tried it for a number of years while my kids were growing up, I’m not one of them… I don’t really like doing things that I’m really bad at. For me, the eating part is really the best part of a ski weekend. Here are some quotes I found on the subject of skiing ( I tried to cover all perspectives) …..

I do not participate in any sport with ambulances at the bottom of the hill.~Erma Bombeck

Skiing combines outdoor fun with knocking down trees with your face.  ~Dave Barry

Turn right, turn left, repeat as necessary.  ~Author Unknown

Snowboarding is an activity that is very popular with people who do not feel that regular skiing is lethal enough…. I now realize that the small hills you see on ski slopes are formed around the bodies of forty-seven-year-olds who tried to learn snowboarding.  ~Dave Barry

The sun is bright and the powder bitchin’.  ~Author Unknown

I love skiing. – Lauren Swayze

Anyway, if you are going skiing or just want something warm to eat,  here are two of Elizabeth’s ideas for portable and delicious winter fare.

Vegetarian Lasagna

Serves 8

10 lasagna noodles                                         1 1/2 t dried oregano

1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce                                    1 c. grated carrots

2 pkg. frozen chopped spinach                            2 c. cream style cottage cheese

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste                                      1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1/2 c. chopped onion                                             1 lb. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1/2 c. chopped black olives                                    1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 T. olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°
Lightly oil a 13x9x2 – inch pan. One hour before preparing lasagna, thaw frozen spinach, drain. Place noodles in a pot of boiling, salted water and cook al dente for approx. 8 min. Drain. You may also use uncooked noodles if you’re going to cook this meal later. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and saute onion until soft.  Add carrots and mushrooms; cook until crisp-tender.

Stir in tomato sauce, paste, olives and oregano. Layer one-half of noodles, cottage cheese, spinach, sauce mixture and 1/3 of the Monterey Jack cheese. Repeat, placing remaining 1/3 of Monterey Jack on top along with parmesan cheese.
Bake approx. 30 -45 minutes. I cover with foil (spray oil on underside of foil) for the first 20 minutes; remove foil the last 20+ minutes. It should be done when it is bubbling on the sides. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: I usually make my own tomato sauce and often add a handful of chopped walnuts to the tomato sauce mixture. Also, I serve extra heated tomato sauce for those who prefer more sauce. I often prepared this in the morning (anything to procrastinate going out in the cold) and baked it after skiing.  It can also be prepared the day before.

Escarole and Orzo Soup with Turkey-Parmesan Meatballs

4+ main course servings

1 large egg                                                                           ¾ t  kosher salt
2 T water                                                                             ¼ t black pepper
¼ C plain dried breadcrumbs (I use Progresso)        8 C (or more) low-salt chicken broth
12 oz lean ground turkey                                                  2 C chopped peeled carrots
¼ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese                             1 C orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
2 T chopped fresh Italian parsley                                   4 C coarsely chopped escarole (1 head)
2 garlic cloves, minced

Whisk egg and 2 T water in a medium bowl to blend. Mix in breadcrumbs; let stand 5 minutes. Add turkey, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper; gently stir to blend. Using wet hands, shape turkey mixture into 1 ¼ -inch diameter meatballs.  Place on baking sheet; cover and chill 30 minutes.
Bring 8 cups chicken broth to boil in large pot. Add carrots and orzo; reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered 8 minutes. Add turkey meatballs and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in chopped escarole and simmer until turkey meatballs, orzo* and escarole are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with s/p. (Can be made 2 hours or so ahead. Rewarm over medium heat, thinning with more broth, if desired).

Notes: This is a great soup to take on a ski weekend and is easily doubled! To make the preparation easy, I chop carrots, parsley, escarole ahead of time and make the meatballs in advance. I freeze the meatballs and put them in containers.  When it’s time to make the soup, I just drop them into the chicken broth as described above. *Also, unless a soup with noodles/orzo/rice is going to be eaten within an hour or so, I recommend adding them to each serving one at a time rather than incorporating them into the pot of soup. Noodles, orzo and rice expand while sitting in broth and lose their al dente bite!  Lastly, I usually serve this as a meal with a salad and crusty bread and/or corn bread.


Many thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her recipes with all of us. We are having a lot of fun cooking together and my family is enjoying some delicious meals!

It’s a gorgeous day in New England- perfect for snow shoeing or cross-country skiing! Hope you get a chance to enjoy it before the rainy weather comes.

Just a reminder that Beverly Bootstraps’ Best Chef Competition is coming up on February 7th! This is a really fun event for a great cause.

In the vein of the Iron Chef Television series, this event will feature four local chefs battling it out for the esteemed title of Bootstraps’ Best Chef. What makes this competition unique is that the chefs must use 75 percent of their ingredients from the Bootstraps food pantry. The chefs will prepare the food live at the event, with the cameras rolling and the winner named on the spot. Prior to the chef competition, six local bartenders will test their skills in the cocktail realm. They will use their creativity to design a new cocktail and the judges will crown the winner.   Judges for the evening will include Andre Robert of Maison Robert, Bridget Lancaster of America’s Test Kitchen/Cook’s Illustrated, as well as the winning chef from 2010; Brenden Crocker of Brenden Crocker’s Wild Horse Cafe.

Last year’s competition was a huge success for Beverly Bootstraps Community Services,  raising more than $28,000 that directly benefited families in need. Fundraisers like this one allow Bootstraps to stock the shelves of the food pantry, provide heating and rental assistance to families in transition, and offer education and counseling to adults and teens seeking greater self-sufficiency.

The event will be held at Bass River Tennis Club with TV Diner’s Billy Costa serving as the Master of Ceremonies. Entertainment will be provided and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served by an array of local restaurants and caterers. Cash bar.

Let me know if you would like a ticket. General admission is $40 to $6o. “Food Critic” tickets are $100 each and there is an opportunity to sit at the judges table for $300. Hope you can join us!

Bon Appetit!


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Filed under Bootstaps Community Services, Boston non-profit hunger relief, Elizabeth's Recipes, Soup

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