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I'm wanting to make something special on the river this year. I am considering having everyone kick in $10 into the "best dinner" kitty. Everyone votes the last night and the winner gets the cash.

So, what are your favorite breakfast and dinner ideas?
 

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We always do a ribeye and twice baked potatoe night, a smoked rib night and an elk burger with chopped bacon mixed in and more bacon on top night.

For breakfast, you can’t go wrong with biscuits and gravy or a breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg and cheese.

My father in law loves to cook, so we stand back and watch, drink beer and fire insults back and forth.
 

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I love not doing dishes on the river. I make my mom's Jambalaya at home and then freeze it flat. This is a hearty, flavorful and unique river meal that always gets rave reviews...and I have basically zero clean-up. I usually pair it with some cornbread, salad and some deceptively strong Hurricaines. This recipe serves 6 people, adjust as needed.

Ingredients
3 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning, (adjust to suit your tastes/heat preference)
16 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion diced
1 small green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 stalks/ribs celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounces can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon each dried thyme and dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne powder)
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup thinly sliced okra (or 1 teaspoon file powder)
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice (short grain or long grain)
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1.5 pound raw shrimp peeled and de-veined
Sliced green onions and chopped parsley, to garnish
Instructions
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with half of the Cajun seasoning.

Brown sausage in the hot oil; remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add remaining oil to the pot and sauté chicken until lightly browned. Remove with slotted spoon; set aside.

Sauté the onion, bell pepper and celery until onion is soft and transparent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (30 seconds).

Stir in the tomatoes; season with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes (or Cayenne powder), hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining Cajun seasoning. Stir in the okra slices (or file powder), chicken and sausage. Cook for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Add in the rice and chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low-medium. Cover and let simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked, while stirring occasionally.

Place the shrimp on top of the Jambalaya mixture, stir through gently and cover with lid. Allow to simmer while stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through and pink (about 5-6 minutes, depending on the size/thickness of the shrimp being used).

Season with a little extra salt and pepper if needed and remove from heat. Adjust heat with extra hot sauce, Cayenne pepper or Cajun seasoning.
 

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I'm wanting to make something special on the river this year. I am considering having everyone kick in $10 into the "best dinner" kitty. Everyone votes the last night and the winner gets the cash.

So, what are your favorite breakfast and dinner ideas?
Instead of money give prizes on the last night for:
Breakfast, a spatula (cheap one)
Dinner, fork and spoon
Best costume, glasses with a rubber nose
Late riser, wind up alarm clock
Best story teller, a brown paper bag with a note inside that says wind
And prizes for whatever else you can think of. Keep the prizes hidden until you award them.


Pre make ballots and have crayons ready for voting.
 

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I have done this before. On the last night everyone votes on Trip MVP and Best meal. We tend to run our trips as "Gourmet Dinning Trips" divided by periods of rafting. Lots of good meals.
 

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White Water chicken chili
Feeds 12
Ingredients:
24-36 oz's of canned boneless chicken breasts diced
or precook 3 large boneless breasts and shred
4-15 oz cans white northern beans drained
2 - 7oz cans of diced mild green chilies
30 oz can of mild hatch green chili enchilada sauce
1-24 oz jar of pace picante sauce, mild, medium or hot (I use medium)
48 oz of chicken broth
2 lb shredded monterey jack cheese
Prep:
Toss everything in pot except cheese.
Simmer for one hour, add one cup of the cheese to each bowel.
Put chili in bowl stir, sprinkle with left over cheese and serve with warm flour tortillas or cheese casadias.
I premake freeze and just heat up on river. I make on the river if short on cooler space and/or need a meal on day 18.
 

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12 inch Dutch Oven for 6 people for more add a pork chop per person
For what it is worth, I been cooking this dish for a long time, I think I got this version off Mt Buzz, cause I did not add the cheese originally. So there may well be a buzzard out there who posted this version years ago. Regardless this is a basic version, add or subtract as you wish and enjoy.

6 pork chops ( maybe a couple extra. note, not the thick cuts, thin is best as they will cook till they fall apart in the DO)
4 - 5 medium baking potatoes sliced medium not too thick tho
½ small bag baby carrots or slice up some carrots
one large red onion sliced kinda thick
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
½ soup can of milk or half and half
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
if available cup or graded cheddar cheese
vegetable oil to brown chops

Brown chops in vegetable oil on both sides in Dutch oven or fry pan. Remove from
oven and drain
on a paper towels. Peel and slice potatoes. Place sliced onions first then potatoes and carrots
in bottom of oven. Then place pork chops on top of the veggies. If I have them I toss in a bunch of button mushrooms as well. I add salt and pepper as I go to taste.

In a mixing bowl; mix soups, milk I heat this in a pan first as it helps break down the cream of mushroom/celery soup. I have had this not heat up right in the DO.

Pour mixture over the DO contents

Place 17 coals on top or just ring the top with briquettes and 8 around bottom. This will be at 375
degrees. Cook for about 1
hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Or until potatoes are done and meat falling apart.

Remove lid and cover contents with cheese. Remove from bottom heat and
place cover on
with coals on top. Cook for about 5 minutes, to let cheese melt.

very filling and tasty as well
 

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California Chicken:

Can be made fresh or pre-made and frozen.

Adjust for number of portions.

Mix fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and Gorgonzola cheese.
Filet chicken breast so it is a uniform 1/2 inch thickness.
Spread mix on chicken breast and roll it (think sushi)
Salt/Pepper/Garlic

Place in DO with butter. As it cooks the Gorgonzola melts in to the butter and the olive oil from the sun dried tomatoes to create a sauce. Basically, when the sauce is boiling it is done.

Let stand for a few minutes to firm up and slice the rolls.

They make gorgeous white meat and green swirls with the tomatoes adding the red. Finish with a couple of spoonfuls of sauce and whatever side dish you want (I like it with asparagus).

It makes for a restaurant quality meal that has a plate presentation matching or exceeding anything else you could get on a river.

IF you pre-make them and freeze, which is worth it for not having to deal with raw chicken, just lower the temperature in the DO and let it cook slower.

This is one of those meals that is deceptively simple given the presentation and flavor.
 

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This is a real favorite of ours, awesome dinner or even better breakfast with each serving topped with a poached egg or two!

City Grocery Shrimp & Grits

Grits:
* 1 cup quick grits (not instant)
* 4 tbsp unsalted butter
* 3/4 cup extra-sharp, white Cheddar cheese
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 tsp cayenne pepper
* 1 1/2 tbsp paprika
* 1 tbsp Tabasco sauce
* 1/2 tsp salt
* Pepper to taste

Shrimp:
* 6 slices chopped, smoked bacon
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 1/2 lbs raw shrimp, 26-30 count, peeled and deveined
* 3 tsp minced garlic
* 3 cups sliced mushrooms
* 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
* 3 tbsp white wine
* 2 cups sliced green onions (optional)

Directions:
For grits, cook grits according to the package instructions (note: add 1/2 tsp salt to boiling water). Whisk in butter, Cheddar, Parmesan, cayenne, paprika and Tabasco. Mix thoroughly.

For shrimp, in a skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until it begins to brown. Remove from heat and reserve bacon and drippings. Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add olive oil and 2 tbsp reserved bacon grease. As oil begins to smoke, toss in shrimp to cover bottom of pan. Before stirring, season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir until shrimp begin to turn pink all over. Let pan return to its original hot temperature. Stir in minced garlic and bacon bits. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Toss in mushrooms and quickly coat with oil. Add lemon juice and wine. Stir until everything is well coated, about 30 seconds. Toss in green onions and stir about 20 seconds. Serve over grits.
 

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What about a Paella, awesome when cooked over a campfire. Doesn't have to be seafood, but will really impress. I did this one in our back yard and sent out a grocery list of ingredients, and had guest pick a item etc. which worked well for cost. FB_IMG_1552963880969.jpeg
 

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post grill marinated steak

Hear me out on this one....

I am an omnivore, and will pretty much eat anything except fennel. That bulb has no place in my heart or on this planet. Steak at home I like rare. Like sunburnt rare. On the river, I get it a little bit hotter. Cooks country was the origin of this recipe, and rarely if ever do I have left overs. The trick is to grill the steak, and pre-heat the marinade (or have it room temp) and then while the steak rests, cover it in marinade, and it sucks the marinade in, and it is ridiculous.
I have used flank steak, ribeye, and the weird meat from costco that is both cheap and awesome.

For the steak

Cook to desired doneness. 125 for me, 145 for the rest, and over 165 well, not on my trip.... then dump in a container with the marinade, cover and wait 10 minutes serve with bread, potatoes, egg noodles, something to absorb the marinade. Trust me on this one.

Marinade ( you can double/triple the recipe, I use the amount below for 4 lbs of meat)
1/4 cup veggie oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup wostchestire sauce
1 TB dijon
1 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB sugar
1/2 tsp finely diced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlice finely diced
the recipe also calls for 2 scallions diced, I always forget, and no-one complains.
 

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Street Tacos are a must on every trip and always a hit.

Premake the Machaca, shredded chicken, carnitas, etc. and then freeze flat prior to trip. Cut up all fixings prior as well. It's a simple meal to put together on the river and everyone loves them including kids because they can add what they want for fixings or just meat and queso. Very minimal cleanup.
 

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DO Lasagna has been one of our go to's for a long time. Garlic bread and salad to compliment. Regular lasagna noodles, not cooked and raw meat. about 5-6 beers cook time (how we measure DO cook time) layer it like a normal lasagna and cottage cheese is cheaper than ricotta and tastes the same. always a crowd favorite. breakfast Quiche is also a good one too.
 

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I have posted this one before. An entire Ahi loin rolled in panko and wasabi and brought to a char on all three sides. Served with coconut milk basmati rice and asparagus.

Still raw in the middle and it disappeared. Pretty fun. Best cooked at Dagger Falls after running Marsh Creek at 7 feet.

 

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No photos, but homemade Mac 'n' Cheese in the dutchie with a panco & butter crust is always winner.
 

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Street Tacos are a must on every trip and always a hit.

Premake the Machaca, shredded chicken, carnitas, etc. and then freeze flat prior to trip. Cut up all fixings prior as well. It's a simple meal to put together on the river and everyone loves them including kids because they can add what they want for fixings or just meat and queso. Very minimal cleanup.
I do tostadas and tacos the same way, but I few hours from camp pull them out of the cooler to heat up in the sun. Makes for no cleanup.
 

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Agree on the DO lasagna, but my favorite is DO mole enchiladas. I posted my recipe on here a few years back on this thread:

https://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f41/river-menus-stepping-up-my-game-55999-3.html

My wife makes this incredible "wow" dessert of key lime pie. We buy the little individual size graham cracker pie crusts already formed in pans, then she makes it using lime juice and sweetened condensed milk. A little time in the cooler and they set up firm, then whipped topping and lime twist on top. Blew people away on day 14 of a Grand Canyon trip, and she gave some extras to some backpackers on the Rogue one time and I thought they were going to orgasm on the spot.
 

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Paella on the river is awesome. Best meal ever...even with a bit of sand.

RavenBC - How do you bring a pan big enough for a real group though?

I may have to make me a square one to fit in a dry box this year. On my bucket list for a big group.

Taco bar is super easy and very popular. Steak taco, chicken lime and a spicy pulled pork. Flour and corn street tacos, Fresh pico, different types of cheese, lettuce, chipotle sour cream, tomatillo sauce, fresh limes and choose your beans. Prep at home and you will have the whole meal fresh and ready in under 30 minutes. Use the left overs for every other meal. Sides are great with breakfast and lunch.

Learn to make fresh DO bread. It's super easy makes any dinner out of this world. (And people think you can really cook too)

On desert trips pies are awesome at the end of a hot day use a graham cracker or Oreo crust and make a bananna cream pie or a chocolate cream pie with instant pudding.
 
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