Simple Beach Vacation Menus

Going on a beach vacation for the cook in the family can be a juggling act. You want to feed your family healthy meals, you don’t want to eat out every meal and you want your prep time to be fast so you can enjoy the beach with everyone else.  My simple beach menus along with my super packing tricks will have you back on the beach splashing around with your family in no time. If you are like me, you don’t want to blow all of your vacation money on going out to eat either but you don’t want to be a slave to the kitchen either. Who cares how fancy your condo kitchen is, you’d rather be at the beach with your family.  Buying expensive pre-made frozen meals at expensive beach grocery store prices isn’t the solution either. So what is the solution?

Click here for my YouTube video on more packing tips.

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Planning and Low Expectations

Knowing what to pack and planning a few meals can make a huge difference. Much like my Simple Beach Packing post, less is more!  I don’t plan meals for the whole week, keeping in mind that we will be going out a couple of times and then there is the occasional, “hey let’s order a pizza tonight” I don’t cook every night. This means planning 3-4 days of menus for our family is all I need to do. However, if you are like my friend Betsy who vacations with several families, you might want to plan more meals.

THE TUB

Strategically packing a small cooler and an 18 gal plastic tub is all you need to make your cooking time at the beach fly and save you from eating out every meal. In my small cooler I pack several quart size bags of pre-cooked meats, frozen flat, that I have prepare at home before our trip. Cooking, packaging and freezing just three entrees such as grilled fajita chicken, sliced seasoned pork loin, and taco meat will launch a number of dishes for your week at the beach. Quesadillas with fajita chicken, pork loin sandwiches, nachos with taco meat are just a few dishes you can prepare in a jiffy.

We like certain items that we cannot find in our beach town, so we make sure to pack these items. Also, the place where we stay for the week does not provide certain things like oil, salt, pepper, laundry detergent, extra paper towels, dish detergent & Old Bay Seasoning just to name a few, so we pack those things as well. I have gotten very good at packing it all in a plastic tub.

It’s amazing what you can fit into an 18 gal tub if you get creative and think outside the box (literally). Carefully re-packing mac & cheese into small baggies, snacks into smaller containers or consolidating can save you from several trips to the beach market. This will not only work with food items but works well for a weeks worth of laundry detergent or any item not supplied at your vacation rental.

In the tub I pack non-perishables:

Pasta, oil, dried fruit, favorite cereal, paper goods,  spices, peanut butter, syrup, nuts, condiments, muffin mix, and so much more. Like I said, our condo doesn’t provide us with a week’s worth of supplies, so we pack as much of those items as well.

THE COOLER

In a small cooler I pack frozen items that have been pre-made(by me) the week before and frozen flat in quart size bags. 

I also bring alone other items that will keep me out of the grocery stores until mid week.

I pack grilled Chicken, taco meat, sliced and seasoned pork loin, soups, and sauces. If you have more room add these frozen items as well, deli meats, butter, dips, cookie dough and burgers (such as Bubba burgers) repackaged out of BOX! Most of these items can all fit in quart size baggies and frozen flat.

Here is this year’s vacation menu:

Pasta with chicken and Alfredo sauce (pre-made sauce)

Burgers with sliced homegrown tomatoes

Annie’s Mac and cheese with a side of steamed broccoli (a family favorite)

Soup & Garlic Bread

Chicken Quesadillas (I like mine with a bit of Texas Caviar too)

Sub sandwiches with deli meats and cheese

For a more ideas check out my 2014 beach menu list here.

THE OTHER NIGHTS

We buy fresh seafood one night to steam or bake and serve it with roadside produce red potatoes and/or corn on cob.
This might happen more than one night for lunch or supper. 🙂

Chips and Texas caviar or home-made salsa is our “take to the beach for a quick snack” while we catch the last bit of our sunsets.

YO YO nights (you are on your own) & eat everything in sight night- usually the night before we leave we clear everything out of the pantry or refrigerator and have it for dinner/snack

We like to make a pit stop along the way for fruit and fresh veggies to go with our meals for the week.  

You can’t help but go to the store to pick up a few things like eggs, milk, or fresh breads. But with the items packed from home, I am not in a desperate state. And I don’t have to spend vacation time fighting the crowds when I really want to be sticking my toes in the sand.

I hope this makes you think before your next vacation and plan some meals to make your life easier at the beach or cabin. What are some staples that you like take to the beach?

Update:

I will be writing a post on making a list for this year’s vacation tub, so make sure to hit the follow button at the top, so you don’t miss the post. If you are interested in connecting with Corine check out her new PODCAST called RISING STORIES. Subscribe here.

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17 thoughts on “Simple Beach Vacation Menus

  1. heather s says:

    Thank you! I try to cook as much as possible as well, and love the new ideas. I always take my crockpot to the beach and use it at least three days.

    • Hi Karen, thanks so much for pinning. I just did a couple of videos on this blog post on youtube. Just search for Simple Beach Packing and I am in a turquoise shirt! lol Have a great vacation this year.

  2. Oh, I really like the idea of packing in a tub! I always use the reuseable grocery bags, but something larger, solid, and with a lid would be much better.

  3. graceyves says:

    Oh I love the idea to use a tub for packing. I always use the reusable grocery bags, but something larger, solid, and with a lid would work much better.

  4. Nice holiday menu! I like to keep the cooking simple when we go away too. I do tend to frequent the shops and am getting better at buying only what we need for the few days we’re away. I have had to bring quite a bit of excess home in the past, which is a bit of a pain.

  5. caitlinshappyheart says:

    I like to cook simple things when away also. Thanks for the great ideas. I tend to do simple things and do a grocery shop as soon as I arrive. We tend to have so much luggage with a family of five I find that a shop is easy to do and a space saver.

    • Caitlin, I am right there with you. Keeping all my items to just the tub helps the simple packing. I hate buying so much and then feeling like I have to bring things home from our trip. This year we did a lot better and left an empty refrigerator in our beach condo. Don’t forget to pin this on Pinterest and check out my youtube video on packing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBLJJ__8ioE We also pack light when we visit the beach. It helps that we have a washer/dryer in the condo. Have a great vacation this year.

  6. Love these ideas. We’re going away glamping in a couple of weeks and so am definitely going to borrow some of them. Particularly loving the pre-marinated meats in a baggy idea 🙂 Thanks again – hope you have a super holiday

  7. Ah-ha, now it’s working! Thanks for letting me know. My family and I tend to eat out for all our meals. We don’t have kids so it’s a little easy for us to grab and go. Coming to you from Blogelina!

    • Thank you Julie. I love your twitter name btw. I appreciate you stopping by, please find me on Pinterest and watch the video on packing for the beach for more tips. Have a great vacation this year!

  8. We’ve done something similar to this once as a family. As all the “children” were adults, we were also responsible for one meal during the week so that mom wasn’t in the kitchen the whole vacation either. It was fun to be creative and come up with different options.

  9. Mihaela Echols says:

    My husband and I are like this! We don’t eat out much and when we do road trips we pack sandwhiches. This Is a way healthier way of living both financially and physically.

    • I agree. We keep our eating out to a min. and enjoy the times we do get to eat out. I wish my kids liked sandwiches. It makes it harder to pack and throw in the back seat. I have made lunchables with my own ingredients and that helps when taking long trips. Thanks for stopping by and have a great vacation this year. Don’t forget to visit the youtube link in this blog for more tips on packing for a trip.

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