I love to cook, but when I’m on vacation with seven people the last thing I really want to do is spend hours on end in the kitchen while my family is down at the beach or in the ocean. Not to mention that it can be a challenge to cook the way you want when you are away, because of the amount of seasoning and specific supplies that can be required for each recipe. On the flip side of that conversation, I can’t afford to go out with such a large crew every night.
So, what’s a mom to do? Plan ahead, but still keep it relatively simple.
I took two evenings, prepped our dinners, froze them and brought them along for the ride. It was absolutely WONDERFUL! All of the meals stayed frozen in the cooler packed with ice for our five hour car ride. I popped them in the freezer at the condo where we stayed & we simply thawed a meal one day ahead. I planned on six meals for our seven night stay. What made our menu?
Chicken Fajitas: I sautéed green, yellow and orange bell peppers with vidalia onions in a light olive oil. I pre-grilled pounded seasoned chicken, cut it into strips, added it to the peppers & onions once everything was fully cooked and popped the entire mixture into a freezer bag & froze it up. We kept it simple by packing the wraps and bringing the jalapeño pre-shredded cheese for a little added flavor. Quick cooking brown rice & corn were our side dishes.
Grilled Burgers: I bought 93% lean beef & pre-made the burger patties. We froze them, thawed & grilled at the condo. We bought fresh rolls in Cape Cod and served a fresh cut veggie tray and watermelon slices with dinner.
Sausage and Peppers: I pre-baked sausage most of the way and then finished it up on the grill for some added flavor. I then Cut it up and put it together with sautéed bell peppers, sauce and served them with a choice of sub rolls or pasta. It was a fresh tossed salad for the side the night this was served.
Meatball Subs: I pre-made homemade meatballs and sauce to freeze. We only had to thaw and heat them up in a large sauce pan. I brought along pre-shredded, part-skim mozzarella for the top. We bought sub rolls on the Cape & baked it all together to melt the cheese & crisp the roll. More cut veggies & fresh fruit on the side…
Marinated Chicken: I cut and pounded 5 pounds of chicken breast, made a marinade, put it all into a bag & let it set for an hour before freezing it uncooked. I let it thaw in the marinade & then we grilled it on the island. We had planned to cook potatoes, but in the end we served on top of salad and made fresh corn on the cob. You can link through to my chicken marinade by clicking here. (Note – my husband likes this recipe, but actually enjoyed it more as it froze & thawed in the marinade. He thought it was the best as far as this recipe goes!!!)
It really ended up working out fabulous & most of the time we ate left-overs for lunch, which were delicious. It revolutionized my thinking & I can’t wait to share my fall meal planning tips starting in September.
Disclosure: I am pleased to be working with MVP Health Care and the MVP Generation Go Program, which has sponsored this post. My participation is voluntary and my opinion is always my own, as is any advice offered.