8 Qualities of Perfect Kitchen to Field Meals!
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Tis the season for meals shared in the pick-up or on the tailgate of the pick-up at the end of the field! Soon there will be meals shared at brandings and eventually meals shared during harvest!
Around this time of year there are frequent posts in Facebook groups asking for ideas for meals that are easy to make, crockpot friendly, and ideas for making meals more transportable.
Which led me to the thought:
“How do I evaluate a meal to determine whether it'll work well to be eaten at the edge of the field?”
So I started brainstorming and here is what I came up with!
These meals must be:
1. Enjoyable and filling!
Well that's a no-brainer. Right?! It needs to have substance and keep everyone full, but not sit like a rock in their belly while they go back-and-forth bumping across the field.
2. It needs to be easy to eat!
Most of the time, we are not sitting at a table, so it needs to be food easy enough to eat off a plate on your lap! Think foods inside of buns, easy to cut meats, and finger foods (you will need a good option for hand washing though, I'll address that later)!
3. Quick to eat!
If your hubby is like mine, he wants to eat quickly and then get back to seeding, harvesting or whatever activity dinner is interrupting! ?
So, a meal he can quickly get onto his plate and then into his mouth is best! He's not gonna want to wait around for me to perfectly “plate” a meal. Not that that happens on a good day, but you know what I mean! That leads to the next quality!
4. Easily dished up!
If you're bringing the parts of a meal in their own dishes, it needs to be food that is easily utilized in a buffet like manner. Also consider meals that only utilize one type of dish to eat from.
For example, if you are having chili and cornbread, people can make do with just a bowl, But if you decide to add a salad to the chili and cornbread, you might have to offer bowls and plates, which increases the dishes that need to be cleaned or taken care of. If you only offer bowls, then they’d have to choose one thing first, then go back for the second item, which would increase the time it takes folks to get through dinner.
5. Easy to transport!
Hopefully you don't have to transport too far, but you'll likely have to transfer a ways or you wouldn’t be reading this! Lol
Speaking from experience, ensure that whatever dish you choose to transport items in, is deep enough that nothing sloshes, jiggles or tips out! Consider laying out a towel underneath your food containers in your vehicle to make spills easy to clean up.
6. No soggy bread!!
One question that has be asked in Rural Sister’s Community is how to keep bread from getting soggy during the kitchen to plate treck. Ultimately, the general consensus was that choosing the right type of bread and grilling or toasting it will help decrease the likelihood of the bread getting soggy.
In this situation, I prefer to take the meal with the bread separate, then add the filling to the bread at the field. It's an added step, but one that doesn't take a ton of time. Especially if it's something like pulled pork, sloppy joes, etc. If it's a nice cold-cut type sandwich, I'd leave out the pickles and tomatoes and other ingredients that make it more soggy and offer those on the side!
7. Easily put together in a short amount of time!
Timing is everything! In life and with meals! Time management is at the top of my priority list during our busiest seasons. That doesn't necessarily mean it happens, but when I can manage my time more efficiently the whole day goes better.
Many of us, leave off one activity to put together a meal, just to have to go back to the original task after the meal is done. So, the more quickly a meal can be put together, or a meal that can be made ahead of time, and a meal with the least amount of steps necessary, the better! Think, crock pot, oven, one-pot type meals here!
8. Won't leave you with an entire kitchen full of dirty dishes!
The last thing I want to do is come home right before bedtime and deal with all the dishes, from the wonderfully filling meal I prepared. I certainly don't want to then leave them overnight into the morning, because who knows what will come up the next morning and before you know it, there are no forks to be found. Grrr.
Consider using disposable plates and utensils to help decrease dishes, but to me that always feels like throwing money away. So we've decided on a happy medium of using sturdy paper plates, but using our usual forks spoons and knives! When I get back to the house the clean up includes utensils, the cookware the meal was in, and putting away any condiments that I took along. That’s not too bad, especially if you have a dishwasher!
Bonus #9: When all else fails, cook a frozen pizza or 2 or 3!
I tell you what! As long as you have enough pizza to fill everyone’s belly, no one will complain! If they do, just tell them they get to do meal planning, prep and transport tomorrow! Lol
Now, I know not all of these qualities can be met with every meal, but I think we can all agree that these are the qualities of meals that work best when transporting them to the field.
Do you think I missed any qualities? If you have any to add, share them in the comments below!! I’d love to hear them!
The question then becomes……
How the heck am I going to actually transport these dishes to the field?????
I answer those questions here in my Kitchen to Field Meal Guide that offers Strategies For Transporting Meals and Favorite Kitchen to Field Recipes!
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