Last weekend we escaped the dirty snow of New York and spent several days at my parent’s new house in Vermont. It is the perfect vacation house because it has plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, and a huge living room with two giant couches. It begs for groups. Funny enough, since I am an only child, there have only been a few nights where more than five of us have stayed there. But this weekend we packed the house – there were the five of us, two of my best friends, one of their boyfriends, and one of their daughters. Besides a lot of sledding, downhill skiing, and snowshoeing, we drank a bit too much wine and bourbon, and ate a ton of Vermont cheese.

Patrick in the snow fort he built out of 3 feet of snow.

Patrick in the snow fort he built out of 3 feet of snow.

Leading up to the weekend, my Mom and I planned the weekend’s menus. Knowing we had a lot of people to feed we tried to design meals that would be easy to prepare for a big group, be universally loved, and accommodate a variety of tastes and dietary needs. A couple of our weekend’s feasts made it to this week’s meal plan, along with two others that would also work for a large group. All of these meals can also be adjusted for as few as two people.

(Meals should feed four adults and take about 30-40 minutes to prepare, or the time it takes Patrick to give Eliza a bottle and put her to bed.)

Meal # 1: Cauliflower and Sausage Casserole + Green Salad
Meal # 2: Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes + Green Beans
Meal # 3: Shrimp “Scampi” with Linguine + Green Salad
Meal # 4: Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry + Rice

Your Grocery List, excluding the usual pantry items:

cauliflower – 1 medium (about 2 lb.)
onion – 2
scallions – 1 bunch
snap peas – 1 cup, or handful
lettuce – 1 head or bag
lemon – 1
red or yukon gold potatoes – 1 lb.
red, yellow or orange pepper – 2
zucchini and/or summer squash – 2
green beans – 1 ½ lb.
ginger – 1 small piece
whole peeled tomatoes – 1, 28-ounce can
breadcrumbs
fresh or dried thyme (if you don’t already have it)
dried basil (if you don’t already have it)
dried oregano (if you don’t already have it)
garlic powder (if you don’t already have it)
Worcestershire sauce (if you don’t already have it) – optional
Parmesan cheese (if you don’t already have it)
ketchup (if you don’t already have it)
soy sauce  (if you don’t already have it)
oyster sauce (if you don’t already have it)
rice wine vinegar (if you don’t already have it)
sesame oil  (if you don’t already have it)
eggs – 2
linguine – 2-3 oz. per person
sausage – ½ lb.
ground beef – 2 lb.
chicken breast – 1 lb.
bacon – 3 strips
cheddar cheese – ¼ lb.
shrimp – 1 ½ lb.
dry white wine