Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas for Coven Discussion Evenings

Pita fried on an outdoor fire.Image via Wikipedia

Posting this in here, because I suddenly realised folks around here might have good ideas. So, one of the things no one ever talks about with coven work is how you make the practical details work. In my case, I'm looking at doing evening discussion/class sessions two or three times a month on a weeknight. It obviously makes sense to feed people in the process, but there are some limitations.

- Potluck (which we do for rituals) is possible, but people will likely be coming from work with limited resources for keeping something cold all day, etc. I'd rather provide something main-dish like, and ask people to bring more portable options (crackers and cheese, dessert, etc.) that can be a little more flexible.

- I don't want to be fussing about last minute food prep as people are showing up - i.e. taking something out of the oven is fine, but keeping an eye out to make sure the pasta doesn't overcook is more fiddly than I want. (5 minute flexible range, in other words, is ideal.)

- Likewise, I don't want to wait for food to cook more than 5-10 minutes after people get there. (Heating up soup in a pan, fine. Boiling pasta from scratch and heating a sauce, not so great.)

- I don't want to spend tons of money on this - my own food budget is about $150 a month (for one person), and given that I'll be doing this 2-3 nights a month, don't want any given meal to cost much above $6-10 for 3-4 people.

- My own food habits are meat-heavy at lunch (since work feeds me quite well) and simpler at night (pasta, veggies, etc.) Crockpot meals might make sense in other ways, but I don't want to do anything that's "Take half a dozen chicken legs" or "Take a roast and..."

- I live by myself, and have a smallish fridge (it's a bit smaller than most apartment/house fridges, and usually full with my own stuff, since I grocery shop once a week). I also don't own a microwave (and really have nowhere to put one - 400 square foot house, no kitchen flat space that I can reliably reach safely that will also take a microwave.) Leftovers need to be things I can freeze, and reheat on stovetop or oven.

- I've got a strong preference for avoiding heavily processed foods. (Canned cream of mushroom soup is a comfort food, but I try not to have it too often, etc.) I'd also prefer a bunch of seasonal recipes. (And I've got a budget preference for making from scratch, too, or close to it.)

- I do enjoy cooking, bake my own bread most of the time, etc. but have limited time/energy after I get home from work. (I work a 9+ hour day, so usually need to come home and sit down for a bit first, and there's usually a tad of last minute cleaning or setting up for class that needs to happen too.) Advance prep is possible, but day of prep should involve less than 10-15 minutes.

Foods that have worked so far:
- Soup, bread, and cheese
- Chicken wild-rice stew (made ahead and reheated)
- Homemade pizza (assuming I'm home early enough to get the dough out and let it come to room temp first, which happens about half the time.)
- Cold plates in summer - hummus, baba ganoush, pita bread, salads, etc.

Food limits:
- Currently no major allergies, aversions, or things people don't eat, but I'd like to come up with a range of items that could be adapted if/when we do.
- My one major aversion is that peppers and I don't get along terribly well: I prefer not to cook them.

I don't own a crockpot, but do have somewhere one could go, and am seriously considering it, but would love recipes that don't involved processed foods to start, and that are meat-minimal or meat-free for this particular application.

Template by - Abdul Munir | Daya Earth Blogger Template