Robin Hood Lunch

So for the past couple of years I’ve gotten groups of family and friends together to go on day trips. We’ll load a bunch of people into my family’s 15 passenger van and head out. I like to keep the adventures fairly simple, coordinating dates with all the adult schedules from multiple families is complicated enough! This is where the Robin Hood lunch comes in.

The Robin Hood Lunch is tradition around here, made up by my older sister years ago. We’ve introduced tons of my friends to the concept and while the idea of ripping chunks of French bread sounds appealing, the lack of mayonnaise was what really got them.

Let me tell you the basics of a Robin Hood Lunch…. French bread (unsliced), deli meat of choice, cheese slices of choice and juice. Simple? Yes. Basically you rip off hunks of bread, tear the bread open like a hot dog bun, slap on some meat, then a piece of cheese. Fold. Eat. No plates. No knives. No condiments. No posh tablecloth…

I was tired of soggy sandwiches, the hours of work before, the trash, cleaning everything up afterwards. Now we use it almost EVERY time we go out on day trips. It is no mess, little effort and not too expensive.

Here’s the “recipe”

Robin Hood Lunch
French Bread (around 4 servings)
Deli Meat (4 oz per person – ish)
Pre-sliced Cheese (cheddar, Provolone and Pepper Jack are favorites around here)
Juice of some kind

For my best friends, who are all Kombucha drinkers, that is our choice

For my family: they usually prefer the Naked Blue Machine Smoothie

For large groups: Capri Sun is the best because no mess.

Fruit and Veg (optional). I like to bring along snap peas, carrots, grapes or strawberries.
Chips, cookies, candy and snacks
Case of water

When we go as a large group, everyone will pitch in to bring enough food. I’ll make sure to bring meat, cheese and bread and people will bring the rest. We haven’t starved yet!

A couple variations?

The Communal Salad. That’s right. We’re not germaphobes here… My best friend and I literally threw together a spinach salad, grabbed some dressing and some plastic forks and ta-da! Salad!

The Costco version. Pictured below…. This one was delicious and equally as easy. It was a one stop meal on our way to the beach.

 

Pierogi

My grandma used to make pierogi all the time and it has always been on my to try list, so when a recipe came up and the desire to make a mess of the kitchen, I decided to give it a try. My anticipation of flavorless, dry pierogi was totally proved wrong! While leaving room for improvement, the flavor and texture were pretty much identical to the Mrs. T’s Pierogies  we’ve eaten for years.  I would try a different dough recipe, this one looked really ugly after it was cooked and was just a touch too chewy, but the flavor of the filling was wonderful. This recipe is originally from mygourmetcollection.com

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Potato and Cheese Pierogi
Ingredients:
Dough:
3 1/2 cups AP flour
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 cup water
Filling:
1 1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
fresh thyme
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Combine flour, eggs, sour cream and 1/2 cup water.  Gradually add more water if needed until mixture is combined. wrap and let rest for 20-30 minutes.

Boil potatoes until soft, about 20 minutes. Sauté onions in butter and oil. Add garlic and thyme and cook until caramelized. Puree onion mixture. Rice potato mixture and combine with onions and cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3 1/2 inch circles. Scoop tablespoon of filling in and pinch edges closed.

Drop pierogi into boiling water 6 at a time until they float, 2-4 minutes. Remove and cool. Can fry before serving.

Turkish Delight

While rereading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, for the millionth time, I was curious: was Turkish Delight really good enough to betray your brothers and sisters? I am rereading this book aloud to a group of kids once a week and this is one of the treats we had together.



Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup orange juice (I used the juice of one lemon plus enough orange juice to reach 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3 (.25 ounce) envelopes unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla, `
confectioner’s sugar

Directions:
Bring 1 1/2 cups water, sugar and corn syrup to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently until temperature reaches 240 degrees. Set aside and keep hot.
Stir together orange juice and zests. Sprinkle with gelatin and set aside. Dissolve cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Stir into hot syrup. Place over medium heat and simmer until very thick.
Remove syrup from heat, stir in orange juice mixture, vanilla and nuts (if using).
Spray and generously sprinkle 9×9″ pan with powdered sugar. Pour mixture into pan. Let cool in a cool, dry place (not the fridge) until set, 3-4 hours (I just left mine overnight on the counter)
Cut and coat with powdered sugar. Smaller pieces the better.

MRE

I experienced my first MRE (meal ready to eat) this summer at a Civil Air Patrol activity. I got beef ravioli as my entree with bread and cheese spread on the side. I ate the ravioli cold (I wanted to do something else with the heater…) and it was delicious! The bread and cheese spread I couldn’t eat after the first bite, the cheese from a packet was just too gross. I also got dried cranberries and some other miscellaneous things like hot sauce, coffee, creamer, corn nuts and some drink mix, but I gave them to my brother and other friends. I was happy to eat one because it meant I didn’t have to cook lunch for 175 people. 😀

Crab Ravioli with Garlic Lemon Sauce

My first attempt at ravioli making. It was pretty tasty and I can’t wait to try different kinds! 

Ingredients:
Ravioli
4 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons chives, sliced
salt and pepper , to taste
1 can lump crab meat (6 oz)
32 won-ton wrappers
Garlic Lemon Sauce
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
lemon zest

Directions:
Mix ravioli filling ingredients together.  Scoop 2 teaspoons mixture into the center of each won-ton wrapper (I did double thick won-ton wrappers) brush edges with water, fold and press. Seal with a fork.
To boil: drop into boiling water for a few minutes till cooked. To fry: heat oil in a pan and fry till brown and slightly crispy. 
For the sauce, saute garlic in butter for 1 minute. Stir in cream and increase heat till boiling. Boil cream until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Stir in lemon juice and seasoning. 

Highland Falls Market

This little market has a huge deli to order from. Part of their menu was ‘Market Outlaws’, a whole section of sandwiches that were disgustingly high in calories and greasy fried food. My older brother Allen introduced us to the Butch Cassidy, a huge hoagie roll piled high with chicken tenders, bacon, mozzarella sticks, lettuce, tomato and mayo. AND then, the entire thing is drenched with nacho cheese sauce.

Another is the Al Capone, a huge hoagie roll topped with chicken cutlet, prosciutto, mozzarella, sausage, Jalapeno poppers, fries and marina sauce. Both are incredibly delicious for the first two or three bites.

Dessert in New York City

Since we ate dinner at a Bakery Cafe, we just had to try some of their desserts. They had a fantastic array of cookies, cakes and pastries. More than any other bakery I’ve been to!

The remains of the Elephant Ear. We had a bite of each dessert we bought so everyone could taste the different types. It was the best way to share and taste food! 

 The New York Style Cheesecake. A must if you’re in New York City! 🙂

 Cannoli, which I’ve never had. It was delicious! I must learn how to make it soon.

Raspberry Rugalach. These were surprisingly delicious and moist. 

 Tiramisu. One of the family’s favorite desserts.

 Peach Tart. Not my favorite, but still delicious.

 Baklava. Compared to our friend’s delicious recipe, this was pretty gross.

Dinner in New York City

 We had dinner at the Hot & Crusty Bakery Cafe in New York City located 1276 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 1002.

This restaurant serves soups, salads, wraps, paninis, sandwiches, stone oven pizza, hand rolled bagels and a full line of cakes, pastries and cookies. 

Everything we ordered tasted fantastic (I’m sure the miles we walked and the lack of lunch helped)

Jane had pizza, of course. It’s her favorite food in the entire world.

One of the paninis we tried was the ‘Russian’. It was filled with roast beef, Muenster cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and Russian dressing (whatever that means). 

This is the B.L.T. three of the kids ordered this because they’re no very adventuresome when it comes to food. The proportions were perfect and the lettuce didn’t fall out because it was shredded. 
My mom ordered stromboly which was tasty.
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My older sister ordered a Chicken Parmigiana. Breaded chicken cutlet, fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. 

I ordered a Hot Corned Beef on Rye. I really enjoyed it and tasting little bits of the rest of the family’s food.

S’mores!

I love s’mores, but I always seem to burn my marshmallows. 🙂 We made a fire and s’mores at our campsite at Round Point, West Point during our one night there. 

Ingredients:
Marshmallows (who knew they made square marshmallows?!)
Chocolate bars
Graham crackers

Directions:
Toast marshmallows over a fire (or if you’re lazy, over the stove). Squash between graham crackers and chocolate. Eat and try not to get everything sticky!

My favorite is raspberries in with the s’more ingredients. We also did Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but they should have been melted a little more. I’d like to try Rolos cause I’ve heard they’re amazing!

On the Road!

During our month long road trip, I wanted to eat and serve tasty food. I wanted to avoid eating fast food and excessive amounts of junk food. 🙂

The Styrofoam containers and little sauce holders made making the food so much easier. I put the cheese and cucumbers in two different sandwich bags to keep them from making the entire dish soggy. This is our favorite pasta salad recipe!

Chicken salad sandwiches were a favorite. With grapes and green onions and served with pickles and chips. The foil wraps were awesome to have, saving me time in wrapping sandwiches. 

Tortilla roll ups were delicious, but more time consuming to make. 

Bologna sandwiches. I would never have served these, but my sister said they were delicious and they were! 

After so many days of sandwiches, I was so eager for a salad and made a spinach salad. It tasted wonderful! 

A makeshift gyro. Roast beef, tzatziki, spinach and other veggies in a tortilla, it was actually really tasty. 

This was so delicious! Mexican salad with cilantro, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes beans and chicken over lettuce (though I had spinach). 

The breakfast that we had some of the days. Bagels and cream cheese, yogurt and fruit. We also had granola and yogurt for some of the days.