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Eating at Festivals

Keeping nourished at festivals can be a challenge when you are camping on site. Many festivals have vendors that offer a variety of food choices from New Orleans style fare to down home barbeque feasts. Usually these vendor choices are reasonably priced and a good value. If you like those types of food choices, it certainly can be the simplest way to go; but, for those of us who prefer a healthier, home cooked meal, bringing food is necessary.

I, for one, do not want to spend my entire time at a festival preparing and cooking food so coming up with nutritional meals that can be reheated easily can be a challenge. I also do not want to spend a lot of time with cleanup, so paper plates, paper cups, plastic flatware, and tin foil pans are important meal essentials. Freezing prepared foods helps to keep the food viable in the cooler for a longer period of time especially over a long hot summer weekend. When you are ready to eat, you can simply reheat the ready made food on the propane grill using aluminum tin pans over the lowest heat setting. Having a heat diffuser can help to further lower the heat under the food so it reheats evenly. With or without a heat diffuser, you do need to watch the food carefully and stir, rotate or flip regularly to avoid the bottom over cooking while the top remains cold. For some of my food items, I will wrap it in tin foil before freezing. Keeping the tin foil wrapped around the food with slight venting at the top will keep moisture in during the reheating process. This method of heating will keep the food from drying out.

Here are some meal plans that have worked for me.

Breakfast:
* Quiche (precooked and frozen) – this is a great way to have a nutritional breakfast. You can put your choice of vegetables, meats and cheese for a complete meal.
* Breakfast Quesadillas – sauté a mix of vegetables (mushrooms, green, red or yellow peppers, onion, and celery), scramble a few eggs, consider ground up ham, cooked crumbled sausage, or bacon (crumble or sliced), a cheese of your choice (swiss, American, Colby, cheddar, or havarti are good choices). Place a tortilla on the quesadilla maker, fill one side with ingredients, fold over and grill. These freeze quite well and make for a great breakfast
* Breakfast Sandwich – put cooked egg, choice of meat, choice of cheese on a toasted English muffin. Wrap in tin foil and freeze.
* Magic breakfast muffins – made with bisquick and filled with veggies and choice of meat

Lunch:
* Antipasto salad mix – dice a variety of crunchy salad vegetables including celery, green, yellow and red peppers, onion. Add artichoke hearts, marinaded mushrooms, chick peas, white beans, olives, cheese cubes, salami cubes and ham cubes. Makes a wonderful side dish or complete lunch meal.
* Selection of cold cuts and cheeses for making sandwiches.
* Potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw are all good choices

Dinners:
* French Meat Pie – freezes wonderfully and is easily heated
* Meatballs and sausages in a tomato sauce is great for putting in rolls or eating alone with a choice of salad
* Precooked Grilled Chicken to be reheated on the grill. Mix up a selection of veggies to steam in tinfoil on the grill while your chicken is reheating. Good selections are zucchini, summer squash, green pepper and onion. Throw a partially cooked (in Microwave) potato on the grill for a baked potato.

These are just a few ideas for you to ponder. I'll bet many of you can come up with ideas for easy meals that will keep you satisfied without taking you from the music for very long. Just use your imagination and think simple.


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