Not Friday night meatballs
April 16, 2015 11:37 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for an easy, inexpensive, and portable dinner recipe that contains meat to feed eight adults. I don't want to serve pasta, and I want to make the meal at home and bring it on a 30 minute car ride. It can be re-heated there.

Friday night meatballs seems like an obvious choice, sure. But I don't really want to mess around with using my friend's stove, and cooked spaghetti isn't really portable. Plus I'm not really in the mood for spaghetti!

The recipe needs to contain meat. I also don't have much money, so while shortribs seem like an easy option, they're a bit too expensive for my budget. Finally, it's really hot where we are, so something like beef stew won't really be very good. No one wants to nosh on stew when it's 80 degrees and humid outside.

Time and complexity are not a factor.
posted by sockermom to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Carnitas tacos?
posted by vunder at 11:40 AM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]

Hungarian goulash maybe? You don't have to serve it as hot as say soup/stew but it's pretty easy to make in bulk (more so if you have a slow cooker)
posted by Captain_Science at 11:42 AM on April 16, 2015

Mark Bittman's cassoulet. Here's the recipe.

It's infinitely variable (although I discovered that black beans don't work that well: stick with white beans). You can use just about any kind of meat or vegetable in it, it cooks up reasonably fast, and everyone likes it.
posted by suelac at 11:42 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Got a slow cooker? Slow cooker pulled pork is amazing and easy.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:42 AM on April 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

Slow cooker teriyaki chicken wings, served at room temp w/rice
Slow cooker Moroccan chicken tagine
Slow cooker West African peanut chicken

? Good luck - now you've got me hungry. :)
posted by Pearl928 at 11:44 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I do not own a slow cooker; I should have mentioned this in my question.
posted by sockermom at 11:44 AM on April 16, 2015

Cooked spaghetti is totally portable - just cook it very al dente and give it a quick nuke on-site.

But if you're not in the mood for pasta, are you looking for something like a casserole? King Ranch Casserole (video autoplays) is a classic. Or chicken enchiladas, with rice made ahead and beans warmed onsite (tip: I find pintos make a nicer beans-and-rice for that many people, without having to deal with gloppy refried).

Or what about making chicken taco filling and make a taco/bowl bar? That you could even do in a crock pot and transport en crock.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:45 AM on April 16, 2015

I was also going to recommend pulled pork. You can cook it in the oven if you don't have a slow cooker. Bring hamburger buns and coleslaw and you can make sandwiches.
posted by jaguar at 11:46 AM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Enchiladas. You put the meat of your choice in the enchiladas and roll them up, place them in a baking dish, cover them with enchilada sauce and top with cheese, and bake in the oven. It's really easy. You can bring some sort of cooked rice in a baking dish as a side too if you want. Very portable. All of it is every cheap. They sell enchilada sauce in cans or jars you can use. You just need to buy the meat, tortillas and cheese. You can buy a seasoning packet for the meat too -- I'm not sure if meat is seasoned in enchiladas so look at the recipe on the car or jar.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:46 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you end up going with tacos, the recipe below using ground beef is very tasty and inexpensive, too. I used to make Emeril's taco beef recipe but this one gets way more compliments. You could double or triple it to feed your people.
posted by Fairchild at 11:46 AM on April 16, 2015

Chicken wings are delicious hot or cold, and really cheap. Chicken should be fine for 30 minutes in a car, but not a lot longer, so this is probably only ok if you can put it in the fridge or reheat immediately when you arrive.
posted by lollusc at 11:50 AM on April 16, 2015

Best answer: This chopped salad is basically an Italian sub in salad form, so I find it quite filling with all the salami and cheese even though it's a "just" a salad. Serve with a loaf of fresh bread and it really becomes a huge deconstructed sandwich. You could easily assemble the salad at home, transport it in a cooler (or just sitting on a bag of ice), and dress it at your destination. This is easily my favorite summer dinner.
posted by gatorae at 11:55 AM on April 16, 2015 [7 favorites]

Buy a pork shoulder. I got one at Safeway yesterday that was about 4 pounds and the total price (it was on special) was 7 dollah. Score the fat cap on top.

Make a paste of salt, pepper, olive oil, crushed/chopped garlic, and parsley chopped very fine. Coat the pork shoulder in that paste, but make sure to really get it rubbed into the fat. Throw in oven at 300 degrees, in a heavy roasting pan (that can also be used on the stove top) for as many hours as it takes to get the meat to pull apart (but don't pull it apart). Five or six hours should do the trick. Take the shoulder out and set it aside. Drain and rinse as many cans of cannelini beans as you need to stretch the meal. Put the roasting pan with all the fat on the stove on medium high. Throw some more garlic and parsley in (other herbs are fine too). Throw the rinsed beans in and cook until just caramelized. In the meantime, slice the pork shoulder into thick slices. Put meat back in pan. Put lid on and take to potluck.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 11:58 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I was coming in here to say enchiladas, and you can make enchiladas even easier by taking any enchilada recipe and layering the tortillas as you would with lasagna to create a casserole instead of rolling up the filling inside each individual one.

This is my favorite recipe because it requires almost zero prep in advance, which will get even closer to zero if you grab a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken yourself: enchiladas suizas (2 cups is usually a little too much cream; 1 1/2 or so will do and you can also use whole milk)
posted by capricorn at 11:59 AM on April 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Does chicken count?

make a simple marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes, and rosemary. Proportions are not critcal. Marinate 8 bone-in chicken thighs for an hour or so, then put them in one layer in a baking dish for about 45 minutes at 375F.

Extra credit: peel a few boiling potatoes (red bliss or yukon gold), cut into slices about 1/2 thick. Put a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the pan before you add the chicken. Add about 10 minutes to the cooking time. I slosh a little of the marinade around the pan so the potatoes don't stick.

Chicken thighs are about the cheapest meat you can buy. Chicken leg quarters are even cheaper, you could buy those & split them into thighs & drumsticks to save a little money, but the drumsticks do cook a little faster so it's hard not to overcook the one without undercooking the other.
posted by mr vino at 12:05 PM on April 16, 2015 [6 favorites]

Bierocks are super portable and reheat well. I sometimes freeze leftover bierocks and then reheat them in the oven. If you want to save some time, you can use frozen dinner rolls instead of making the dough from scratch.
posted by iximox at 12:10 PM on April 16, 2015

Meatpies! I have made a homemade chickenpotpie recipie recently that was ridiculously good and easy (basically just concoct cream of chicken soup plus frozen veggies in a premade pie crust, add corn starch and bake). Keeps for a while, easy to reheat.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:16 PM on April 16, 2015

How about bo ssam (slow-roasted Korean pork shoulder)? Cook it through at home, then do the final brown sugaring/broiling at your destination!
posted by Maecenas at 12:19 PM on April 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Chocolate Chili, it's a good ratio of meat to beans, so it saves money but so strong on flavor no one realises there isn't as much meat in as you think. I like to add some frozen corn kernals to it for a pop of sweetness t. I use semi sweet chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder but either tastes good. Serve with cornchips on the side.
posted by wwax at 12:24 PM on April 16, 2015

Kofta kebabs with tzatziki? You could use a stove-top grill pan if (like me) you don't have a grill.

I really like the chicken tagine idea, myself (can be done without a slow-cooker as well).
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:25 PM on April 16, 2015

Chicken Divan Casserole- again, even easier if you use rotisserie chicken.

I bake chicken thighs in a marinade/sauce in a couple of ways:
Lemon, Garlic, Olive Oil & thyme (or oregano)
Pineapple Juice, Soy Sauce, Ginger and garlic
Chicken thighs, coated with dijon mustard, then rolled in panko bread crumbs or crushed pretzels, then baked.
posted by sarajane at 12:30 PM on April 16, 2015

Mmmmm, meatloaf. I make mine "southwestern" with the addition of chopped green chilies and some cheddar cheese in the middle.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:05 PM on April 16, 2015

This chicken pilau is easier to do than it seems, and is our family's absolute favourite dinner, hands down. It's very flexible and can be expanded however you like (I use more meat, and double the yoghurt and the coriander because I am addicted to coriander). Stays hot in its pan after cooking for ages.
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 5:34 PM on April 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

Late to the game, but maybe for next time: Skillet Tamale Pie. I got my recipe from The America's Test Kitchen New Family Cookbook (signed into amazon, you should be able to 'look inside' for the recipe by searching for tamale. Most sites I pulled up from googling it gave way more complicated instructions).

-Brown 1 lb ground beef in an oven proof skillet (if you don't have one, have a deep pie dish/baking dish you can transfer everything to afterwards). Use some oil or lard if you have super lean beef
-Add 1 onion, diced and 1 jalapeno, minced (I used pickled jalapeno) & cook til soft/translucent
-Add 2 cloves garlic, minced, 2 TBS chili powder, 1 tsp dried oregano, cook ~30 seconds
-Add 1 - 15oz can black beans, drained, 1 -15oz can diced tomatoes, 1 cup fresh/frozen/canned corn and cook ~5 minutes or until most liquid has evaporated
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Stir in 1 cup grated monteray jack cheese
-In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups of water, 1 TBS oil/fat of choice, 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Whisk in 1 cup cornmeal, stirring until thickened.
- Removed from heat and spread over the top of the skillet.
-Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes (they say to cover it with tinfoil, but I didn't and it was fine).
posted by carrioncomfort at 8:42 AM on April 17, 2015

I say quiche. Cheap, quick, easy, light. Delicious when lukewarm. I would make 3 or 4 to feed 8 adults. Buy the ready-to-use pie shells (about $3 for 2 I think). There is no need for a recipe. The simplest good quiche has maybe some white cheese and spinach. A generally good ratio is 1 cup milk to 2 eggs. You said meat is necessary but eggs have a ton of protein, of course. This is cheap enough that you could maybe grab a bagged salad and be good to go.
posted by kitcat at 11:05 AM on April 17, 2015

Response by poster: I'm making the Silver Palette's Big Bread Sandwich. I got a GIANT loaf of bread for $7 (we are talking a 14 inch round) at a local bakery and sausages and ham were both on sale at the local supermarket.

It's a giant loaf sliced horizontally twice so you have a triple deck sandwich. The bottom layer is ricotta cheese, marinated eggplant, grilled sausages, sautéed bell peppers, and black olives. The top layer is arugula dressed with garlic anchovy dressing, tomatoes, thin sliced ham, and provolone. You then wrap it in Saran Wrap and squash it under a cast iron pan overnight.

Thank goodness for my well-stocked pantry, trader joes, and local sales. This rang in just over $35 which to feed 8 is not shabby. I hope it tastes good!
posted by sockermom at 1:00 PM on April 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Can you be more specific on whether or not you'll have a heat source? Microwave at your friend's, slow cooker that you own, toaster oven, something?

Meat + "I don't want to use the stove" narrows possible answers here. :)
posted by talldean at 2:18 PM on April 20, 2015

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