April 03, 2012

Prepping For A Tournament

The season of The Fishermans Widow is in officially upon us and while my husband has been spending countless hours prepping for his upcoming tournaments, I have been doing some prep work myself.  Although his idea of prepping and my idea of prepping are two different beasts.  While he is busy spending all of his time studying maps, getting his tackle together and making sure his boat is ready to rock, I am busy in the kitchen making sure he has the food and supplies he will need while he is away.  Last weekend, Josh was down in Branson, MO on the beautiful Table Rock Lake practicing for the next Bassmaster Central Open.  To prepare for this, I do my best to make sure has as many meals covered as possible.  He is on the road alot, so it becomes very easy to succumb to eating out often.  This is not only unhealthy, but it also becomes quite costly.

There are a few things I need to consider before I start making food for him.  First, where will he be staying?  Will he have a refrigerator/freezer or microwave?  Do they have a grill?  Second, how long will he be away?  I don't want to make food that will go bad by the time he gets around to eating it.  And lastly, is it boat friendly?  Anything that involves a plate/bowl and utensils are usually out of the question.

For breakfast, I like make him breakfast burritos.  They are easy to freeze and he just pops them in the microwave in the morning before he heads out to the boat.  I buy an 18 pack of eggs which can make about 20 burritos.  We are big fans of buying all kinds of meat when they are on sale and keeping them in our downstairs freezer until we are ready to use it, so we typically have a pretty good assortment of sausages to choose from.  For this batch, I went with 1 lb of spicy italian sausage.  In my dutch oven, I sauteed the sausage in a little olive oil and added 1 chopped yellow onion, 1 chopped green pepper and a couple of jalapeno peppers.  While those are cooking away, I cracked open all the eggs in a large bowl and mixed them with some milk and pepper. 

Once the sausage and veggies were cooked I added the eggs to the mix with about 1 cup of cheddar cheese, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula making sure to scrape the sides of the dish. When the eggs are cooked to the desired consistency, I start building the burritos.

I find the soft taco sized shells to be perfect for these.  I also grab my large ice cream scooper (not sure the exact size, maybe 1/4 cup??) to fill the shells. 

Next, I rip about 20 pieces of parchment paper large enough to wrap the finished product in.  Finally, I can get to wrapping.  Take your tortilla, put 1 scoop of eggs in it and wrap it up like a burrito.  Than wrap it up again in the parchment paper.  Continue on in this fashion until you run out of eggs or tortillas.  Which ever comes first.  If I have leftover eggs, I like mix it up with a little dog food and give the pups a snack.  Put all of your burritos in a freezer bag or tupperware and toss 'em in the freezer. 

When you're ready to eat them, microwave them for about 45 seconds - 1 minute while still wrapped in the paper and your good to go!  Josh likes to bring a bottle of the Chipotle Tobasco Sauce to dip it in while I, personally like to go the ketchup route.  These work great for a grab and go breakfast for him and I like to keep some in the freezer for me for when I head to work in the morning.  And, they're cheap too!

For a snack, I watched The Barefoot Contessa make some delicious granola bars a while back so I thought I'd give those a try.  The initial investment was a little costly, but most of the ingredients are enough to last you through a few batches.  All you really need to buy for each batch is some new dried fruit.  The bars were quite easy to make and I was surprised at how delicious they were.  Plus, they lean more on the healthy side so that was an added bonus.  It worked as a great pick-me-up for him while he was on the water.

Now comes lunch.  Like I said before, we buy meat when it's on sale and freeze it.  Like turkeys around Thanksgiving.  About a month ago, I made a 20 lb bird and we took all the meat off of it, put them in individual 1 lb bags and and vacuum sealed those bad boys for later use.  I bought a loaf of bread at the store with some cheese slices and now he's all set for lunch!  He says he doesn't mind not having any condiments on his sandwiches (which I find bizarre) but when I'm in the boat I make sure to grab some mayonnaise and mustard packets from the many gas stations we visit and keep them in a ziploc baggie for future use.  Just make sure you start with new condiments for every season.

And lastly, there's dinner.  This one can get tricky since at this point he is normally so pooped out from his long day, the last thing he wants to deal with is dinner.  We got lucky on this trip because his dad went with him so when they first got down there, they stopped for some barbecue and picked up enough of it that would last them the rest of their trip as left overs.  However, this doesn't always happen so if the place he's staying has a grill, than he will stop at the store when he gets to where he's going and pick up some meat to grill.  Or he'll go out to eat.  You can't win 'em all, I guess!

Between entry fees, tackle, gas and lodging his career as a tournament angler can get pricey quickly.  We've learned over the years that the little things like pre-making as many meals ahead of time can really make a difference on the wallet as well as his overall health.  I realize not everyone is in the same position I am, but hopefully I've been able to help give you some ideas that will save your family time and money too.